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Success Stories Within the IDD Community: Stevie Wonder

If you are a fan of the classics or 1970s Music, you will know who Stevie Wonder is. Born with blindness, he did not let this stop him from taking the music industry by storm!

Early Life

Stevland Hardway Morris is an American singer, songwriter, musician, and record producer. His claim to fame came in the second half of the 20th century, as he is known to be one of the most successful songwriters and musicians. Stevie was born in Saginaw, Michigan, on May 13th, 1950, with five children. Stevie was born six weeks premature, which caused him to have retinopathy of prematurity, which is a condition that affects the growth of the eyes to be aborted and makes the retinas detach, in essence causing his blindness. His singing career began at a young age, where he sang in a choir at the Whitestone Baptist Church. He then started to play instruments such as the piano, harmonica, and drums throughout his early years. Eventually, he formed a singing partnership with his friend John, going by the street performing name, Stevie and John.

Professional Career

In the year 1961, he launched his professional career, where at age 11, he sang his composition, ‘Lonely Boy,’ to a record producer. This producer loved his Music so much, he moved Stevie to Motown and was given Little Stevie Wonder. From there is career took off with completely several records by the age of 12 and breaking into the Billboard 100. In the 1970s, Wonder’s career was at its peak, where he won three Grammy Awards for his works and became the only artist to have won the award with three consecutive album releases. Along with his individual works achievements, Wonder’s 1970s albums have had a vast influence on popular music in the following decade of the 1980s. Since Stevie’s entrance into the music world, he has sold over 100 million records worldwide, making him the best-selling music artist of all time, with 22 grammy awards. Aside from his career in Music, he is quite the political activist, for which, in the 1980s, he campaigned to MLK day a reality for this nation. Eventually, in 2009, he was named a United Nations Messenger of Peace, as while in 2014, he was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Path to Wisdom

Stevie Wonder’s story is one of significant commonality and bound with hardships; a child born blind from the middle of Michigan grows up to become one of the most successful musicians of all time. It goes to show that dreams are achievable no matter who you are or what holds you back. Go out there and chase the moon!

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