Stevie Wonder: R&B Greatness
It’s 2021, and it’s about to become 2022. People listen to artists like BTS, Olivia Rodrigo and even content creators such as Dream. I like these artists too, but there is one artist that I always have in my playlists. He is one of— if not, my favorite R&B singers. His name is Stevie Wonder. If you don’t know who he is, or you do know him and want to know a bit more about him, then you’ve come to the right place! With that, let me introduce you to the talent that is Stevie Wonder.
Who is Stevie Wonder?
Stevie Wonder was born Steveland Judkins on May 13, 1950 in Michigan, U.S. He lost his sight when he was just 6 weeks old, making Wonder’s achievements all the more impressive. He was signed to Motown Records when he was just 11. Wonder has been nominated 74 times for a Grammy Award, and of those 74 times, he has won 25 of them. He was also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989. Wonder is also well known for being able to play many instruments such as the piano, organ, and my personal favorite— the harmonica. (Which is how I got introduced to him in the first place.) Today, he is 71 years old.
Songs in the Key of Life
To better understand Stevie Wonder’s musical abilities, we can look at his 1976 seminal masterpiece— Songs in the Key of Life, which by the way, was a double album. Specifically, we can look at three of his songs. The first being Love’s in Need of Love Today.
This is the first song on the album, and when I heard it for the first time, I got emotional. This song is so true today. With all the division in this world, love truly needs to be given to each other— not hate. Not just the meaning of the song is amazing though, I love Wonder’s singing, plus the backup singers, in my opinion, just make the song fuller. The melody is just so catchy too! This song actually gave me my favorite cover of a song, with Love’s in Need of Love Today by Scary Pockets. There are still a lot more reasons why I love this song, but let’s move onto the next one.
This next song is called Knocks Me Off My Feet. Whenever I hear it, it puts a smile on my face! The song starts off like most ballads— piano, then soft drums, then the actual lyrics of the song. Then we get to the chorus, and I just go crazy especially at the last chorus. I can’t describe it. The song feels so funky while the singing and the adlibs, perfection. It just makes me smile like when I first saw the Spider-Man: No Way Home trailer. That’s why I really encourage you to give this song a listen.
Lastly my favorite song of his, which is also my favorite song of all time, is Isn’t She Lovely. I am not talking about the 3 minute version, oh not at all; I am talking about the 6:3o minute version with the 3:50 minute long harmonica solo. This song was dedicated to his daughter, Aisha. In the intro of the song, we can hear her crying, and throughout the harmonica solo, we can hear Wonder playing with her in the bath. Again, I can’t really describe it! It just makes me smile. The song is just amazing and so funky. The melody is also just amazing and so distinct that from the first note, you know that you are listening to the song. Also, Wonder makes the harmonica feel so easy, when it really takes talent to play a song like this. I have nothing else to say but listen to the song! I guarantee you won’t regret it.
Another reason I am so passionate about Stevie Wonder is because whenever I look up R&B, most of the songs I see have this: 🅴. This indicates the song is explicit. Meaning there are curse words or something inappropriate in the song. I personally don’t listen to this type of music because of my own conviction. Having this type of lyrics in a song isn't pleasing to our God. I play the ukulele myself and playing songs like these do not spread love and kindness. Wonder’s songs show these traits unlike most of R&B songs nowadays. That is why I love him.
I am personally inspired by Stevie Wonder because his handicap didn’t stop him from making great music. I love how he puts so much imagination and love in his songs. Wonder once said in an interview, “Just because a man lacks the use of his eyes doesn't mean he lacks vision.” If a blind man can do these things, why can’t we?
To end, let me say this— listen to whatever you want to listen to. Although remember this, try to listen to songs that spread love and kindness, not hate and disrespect for others. The world has enough of that, so let’s show love.
Stevie Wonder | Motown Museum | Home of Hitsville U.S.A. (2021, January 29). Motown Museum. https://www.motownmuseum.org/artist/stevie-wonder/
Williams, R. (2021, May 9). Stevie Wonder. Encyclopedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Stevie-Wonder
Stevie Wonder. (2020, November 23). GRAMMY.Com. Retrieved October 15, 2021, from https://www.grammy.com/grammys/artists/stevie-wonder/8257
Stevie Wonder – Love’s in Need of Love Today. (1976, September 28). Genius. Retrieved October 15, 2021, from https://genius.com/Stevie-wonder-loves-in-need-of-love-today-lyrics
Goronja, A. (2020, April 20). How Did Stevie Wonder Become Blind? Heavy.Com. Retrieved October 15, 2021, from https://heavy.com/entertainment/2020/04/stevie-wonder-blind-how-born/
Runtagh, J. (2016, September 28). Inside Stevie Wonder’s Epic Magnum Opus ‘Songs in the Key of Life.’ Rolling Stone. Retrieved October 16, 2021, from https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-features/inside-stevie-wonders-epic-magnum-opus-songs-in-the-key-of-life-124478/