Stevie Wonder was considered a child prodigy when he was young. The artist has managed to get 22 Grammy awards to his name. He is considered one of the most influential musicians of all time. His legacy is also something that a lot of people want to emulate. He is credited as a musical pioneer who has a big influence on the genre of R&B.
But Is Stevie wonder really Blind? Well, yes. He has been blind since a child. So, how did he lose his sight? And what is his life story? Let us find out!
Stevie Wonder’s Life Story: How did Stevie Wonder lose his eyesight?
Stevie Wonder was born Stevland Hardaway Judkins. He was born in the year 1950. His birthdate was May 13. Stevie was born in the year Saginaw, Michigan.
Wonder was born six weeks before he was supposed to be born. The doctors kept him in an incubator. Since he had high oxygen levels, Wonder ended up with a condition known as Retinopathy of Prematurity. It is a condition when the growth of the eye, as well as the retina, is stopped and this causes blindness in people. When there are abnormal blood vessels spread through the retina, this condition occurs. The vessels are fragile and they can leak. This can then put the retina out of position.
Stevie’s word on his Blindness
In an interview that he did with Oprah, Stevie spoke about his condition. Stevie said that it was because of his premature birth. He also said that his doctor did not really know what to do about it. He was given the wrong amount of oxygen as a result his eyes got destroyed.
Oprah asked him if Stevie felt any resentment towards the doctor for that mistake. To this, Wonder said that his intent was not to harm him. When asked if he was bitter about it, he said that he wasn’t that much bothered about it.
He was also very happy being blind actually. Wonder said that it did break his mom as she was crying all the time but he was okay being blind. Stevie is also very much glad for his mother’s goodness and kindness. He said that he missed his mother very much.
How does Stevie Wonder play music?
Despite being blind, Wonder is quite passionate about music. This passion came at an early age. He was just 5 years old when he taught himself to play the Harmonica. At just eight years old, he was playing the drums and he did this by just listening to the music and trying to replicate all the rhythms and musical notes that he could hear.
People who are blind have a high sense of spatial awareness and hearing. They are gifted in that regard. So, by the time he was 10 Stevie was already quite adept at playing certain instruments. He found his love for three main instruments: piano, drums, and the harmonica.
Stevie was very young when he did his first performance. He performed for Ronnie White. White liked the kid and gave him an audition for Motown Records. The label signed the 11-year-old kid to Motown’s Tamla label. The producer at the time was Clarence Paul who gave him the name ‘Little Stevie Wonder.’
Under the guidance of Paul, Wonder recorded two albums titled ‘Tribute to Uncle Ray’ and ‘The Jazz Soul of Little Stevie.’ These were instrumental albums and covers (for Ray Charles). All of these made him quite a famous little man back then!
Rumors about Wonder’s eye condition
There have been a lot of rumors about Wonder’s eye condition. A lot of people even think that it is a marketing gimmick and that Wonder is not actually blind. This is of course subject to speculation. One time though, wonder caught the stand as it was about to fall in a concert. But this was probably a result of his spatial awareness more than anything else.
There have been many celebrity accounts about his eye condition as well. Shaquille O’Neal once said that Stevie recognized him even though he did not give him any awareness about himself. Lionel Richie also believes that the singer can actually see. He joked about it in the Kelly Clarkson Show.
Artists like Anthony Anderson also admits that Stevie can see and P. Diddy once said that Stevie Wonder could describe the outfit he had worn that day. Wonder himself has joked about it and said that he can see. But all of this still doesn’t prove anything.
As we mentioned, blind people have more spatial awareness and Wonder is just that. He is blind. When he took off his glasses once in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (when he was inducted), his eyes were damaged. This proves that the guy is blind through and through.