Genre : Pop Music
About This Act :
|American singer, songwriter, musician, and producer, Stevie Wonder, is one of the most celebrated and prominent figures in popular music. To date he has amassed an astounding 49 Top 40 singles, 32 #1 singles, and worldwide album sales totaling more than 100 million units.
At the age of 13, Stevie was the youngest recording artist to have achieved a #1 single with "Fingertips, Part 2" from his 1963 album, Recorded Live: The 12 Year Old Genius, which also reached #1 status. Subsequent Top 10 singles included "I Was Made to Love Her;" "For Once in My Life;" and "Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I'm Yours." Released in the fall of 1972, the album, Talking Book, featured the #1 hits "You Are the Sunshine of My Life" and "Superstition" -- one of the most famous examples of the sound of the clavinet. The groundbreaking double album, Songs in the Key of Life, was released in 1976, and remains one of the most recognizable and accomplished albums in pop music history. It debuted at #1 on the Billboard charts, and among the #1 singles, was "Sir Duke," a song dedicated to jazz great, Duke Ellington. The album stayed at #1 for 14 weeks. With soaring album sales, high-profile collaborations, charity participation, political impact, and television appearances, Wonder has reached an unparalleled level of fame. His Platinum album, Hotter than July, released in 1980, included "Happy Birthday" which became the rallying song of Stevie's efforts, that helped make Martin Luther King's birthday a national holiday. He has won an incredible 25 Grammy Awards, the prestigious Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, and received a Golden Globe and an Academy Award in 1984, for the song, "I just Called To Say I Love You" from the movie, The Woman In Red. In 1999, Stevie became the youngest recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors. He is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Songwriters Hall of Fame, the NAACP Hall of Fame, and the Apollo theater Hall of Fame. Wonder has received Lifetime Achievement Awards from BET, the Thelonious Monk Institute and the National Civil Rights Museum, just to name a few. In 2010, Stevie was named into France's prestigious National Order of Arts and Letters--an impressive addition to his list of other high profile honors.
A multi-instrumentalist, Stevie plays the piano, keyboards, various synthesizers, harmonica, drums, percussion, and had a significant role in bringing synthesizers to the forefront of popular music. He used new texture and sounds, and encouraged Ray Kurzweil to create a synthesizer that would allow one to play orchestral sounds polyphonically. Wonder has consistently performed at major events over the years including the Closing Ceremonies at the 1996 Summer Olympics, Halftime at Super Bowl XXXII, and the Lincoln Memorial Celebration in honor of the Inauguration of President Barack Obama. In February, 2009, Stevie was named the recipient of the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, and he performed his Library of Congress musical commission, "Sketches Of A Life;" he joins a very select group of eminent composers who have received Library commissions, ranging from Aaron Copeland and Leonard Bernstein to Paquito D'Rivera.
As a live performance tour de force, Stevie continues to astound audiences around the world. In 2007 he embarked on his first U.S. concert tour in over ten years, dedicated to his mother, which garnered rave reviews. In testament to the unimpeachable legacy of this international music icon, in 2010, a special release CD, Love Harmony & Eternity debuted at #1 on Japan's International chart and Stevie shattered all records for the Olympic Park Arena in Seoul, Korea, selling out in under 30 minutes.
While Stevie Wonder's songs are unequivocally classic and his influence timeless, equally laudable are his humanitarian efforts, philanthropic leadership, and generosity of spirit. His participation in the original, all-star charity single for African famine relief, "We Are the World" became a music industry milestone, and his involvement to put an end to apartheid in South Africa is legendary. Wonder's philanthropic contributions have been recognized with awards including the President's Committee on Employment of Handicapped People, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the Children's Diabetes Foundation and the American Association of People With Disabilities. For over 15 years Stevie has provided toys and gifts to young and old with his annual House Full of Toys Benefit Concert. In recognition of his support for civil and human rights issues, Wonder was designated as a United Nations Messenger of Peace, with a special focus on people with disabilities in 2009. President Barack Obama, when asked in a Rolling Stone interview to name his musical heroes, responded with: "If I had one, it would have to be Stevie Wonder. When I was just at that point where you start getting involved in music, Stevie Wonder had that run with Music of My Mind, Talking Book, Fulfillingness' First Finale and Innervisions, and then Songs in the Key of Life. Those are as brilliant a set of five albums as we've ever seen."