Leon Bridges, a young soul singer who draws much of his inspiration from Stevie Wonder, wrote: “they told me I was born to lose, but I made a good, good thing out of bad, bad news.” That song, released in 2018, is a perfect description of Bridges’ icon, Stevie Wonder’s life.
Born Stevland Hardaway Judkins, Stevie did not get dealt a winning hand. Prematurely birthed, the oxygen treatment keeping him alive took his eyesight away, and at the age of four, his parents divorced and he moved in with his now-single mother and his five siblings. A blind black man from a broken home in Detroit, it is easy to see how things might have turned different for Wonder.
But they didn’t. Driven by a powerful force of will and a natural talent for music, the young Judkins got signed to Motown Records at the age of 11 and has been with them ever since. He has amassed a whopping 25 Grammy awards, and there are only three people in the world who have won more. Wonder was also one of the driving forces for recognizing MLK’s birthday as a national holiday, with his hit single “Happy Birthday” promoting the commemoration of the civil rights hero.