Songs In The Key Of Stevie Wonder’s Life

1906 words - 8 pages

At the young age of twenty two, Stevie Wonder sang, “When you believe in the things you don’t understand / Then you suffer / Superstition ain’t the way”. He started his career in the early 1960s, but in 1972, Superstition established Stevie Wonder as one of the most recognizable musicians of his time in American and African-American culture and music. Although music was Wonder’s main priority, he also dedicated his time to a fight against racism throughout national and international borders. Musically, socially, and politically, Stevie Wonder was able to bring people together with his music and words. From the time of his birth to the present day, Stevie wonder sang his way into our hearts ...view middle of the document...

Retrolental fibroplasia is caused by the disruption of the growth of blood vessels in back of the eye which leads to the person’s retinas to detached (Pub Med Health). For some people, retrolental fibroplasia has been temporary but this was not the case for Wonder. Even though he was blind from birth, it was not an obstacle for him to overcome. While growing up, Wonder was optimistic and refused to let his disability get in the way of “seeing”; according to Stevie Wonder himself, he states, “In my mind, I can see all of these things in my own way, in the manner that blind people can see them” (Brown 7). If anything, his blindness opened up his world to a different type of judgment and vision in which everything is left to Wonder’s magical interpretation.
Moreover his blindness later transferred over was epitomized within his music which Wonder calls “blindism”. Visibly seen whiling he is performing, any spectator will notice Stevie’s movements as he plays the piano in which he bobs his head to right and left throughout any song. Wonder explains his “blindism” as the idea of “building a lot of excess energy that [others] get rid of through his eyes” (Goldberg). Seeing singers can look into the eyes of their spectators and lure them into the music. Moreover, Stevie Wonder’s “blindism” is the same type of tactic, the movements of his body exuding such liveliness and passion becomes alluring to watch and gives movement and playfulness to the song and music.
With the help and encouragement from Lula, Stevie’s world opened up and Lula became central towards Stevie’s development as a musician and person from a young age. Although she struggled with Stevie’s blindness, Lula gave Stevie a normal childhood when she finally accepted his condition. Stevie’s eagerness and optimism of his blindness was rooted in Lula because she gave him independence and freedom to be physical with his brothers and “feel the breeze of riding a bike” (Werner). But more importantly, Lula fueled Wonder’s love for music since the age of 2 in which she gave him his first musical instrument, the spoon, also known as the “drumstick” (Werner). Lula continuously stimulated his musical growth through gospel choir at their local church (Brown 15). Because of his lack of sight, sound dominated his youth and he became a child protégée, excelling at every instrument that he touched, especially the piano. It is safe to say that without Lula Hardaway, there would not be a Stevie Wonder that we know of today.
Stevie Wonder’s music career is separated into four musical divisions: his early period, classics, commercial, and his later period. Stevie’s early career started with his discovery during 1960 and and later singing onto Tamla, otherwise known as Motown, records with Berry Gordy. Being excommunicated from his gospel choir became the best career move for young Stevie Wonder where he was banished from his church for singing outside the church while attracting spectators. This caused...

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