Stevie Wonder needs no introduction. With a career that spans more than six decades, countless hits and awards to his name, no one questions whether the gifted music artist has earned his flowers. His musical genius has touched pop, R&B, progressive soul, jazz and gospel music. He is not only a master of performance, he is also a prolific songwriter and producer.
Award winning albums like “Songs in the Key of Life”, “Innervisions”, and “Fulfillingness’ First Finale” have solidified him as an icon in the industry. He even performed at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, further enshrining him as a pop cultural superstar around the world.
With all of his accolades, you might wonder exactly how much Stevie Wonder is worth in 2023.
Stevie Wonder’s Early Life
Stevie Wonder was born Stevland Hardaway Morris in 1950 in Saginaw, Michigan. Because he was born six weeks premature and was kept in an oxygen-rich incubator, he suffered from retinopathy of prematurity. This means that his eyes failed to continue growing, causing the retinas to detach.
By age four, he moved with his mother and his other three siblings to Detroit where he ultimately began singing in the choir and even became a soloist. Along with singing, he excelled at the piano, harmonica and even drums. He also formed singing groups with friends and they would perform on street corners.
Stevie Wonder Signs With Motown
His rich musical capabilities caught the attention of music industry insiders and by 1961 he was signed to the iconic Motown Records under the subsidiary Tamla label. Since he was only 11 years old, the contract had to be renewed every five years and the label agreed to keep his royalties in a trust until he turned 21.
Wonder credits Motown’s leader, Berry Gordy, for giving him his stage name, which was initially “Little Stevie Wonder.” At first, Stevie was mostly a studio artist who performed covers or released songs directly for airplay. But by 1962, he started touring on the famed “Chitlin Circuit” with a few of those performances recorded and released as stand alone albums. This included “Recorded Live: The 12 Year Old Genius” which featured the hit track “Fingertips.” This single charted to number one on the Billboard Hot 100.
The mid-1960s saw Wonder drop the “Little” from his stage name. He released several top hits including “Uptight (Everything’s Alright)”, “With a Child’s Heart” and the Bob Dylan cover “Blowin’ in the Wind.” During this time, he was also a prolific songwriter for other artists, with credits on memorable songs like “The Tears of a Clown” from Smokey Robinson and the Miracles.
By the 1970s — often referred to as the classic albums era of his career — Stevie Wonder was coming into his own as a music artist and began to put the focus fully back into his own music catalog. During this period, he released several hits including “My Cherie Amour,” “For Once in My Life,” “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours,” “Superstition” and “You Are the Sunshine of My Life.” Most notably, “Songs in the Key of Life” was released in 1976 and debuted at number one on the Billboard charts. Two songs in particular, “Isn’t She Lovely” and “Sir Duke,” snagged the number one Pop/R&B hits placement.
Commercial Albums Period, Soundtracks and the Olympics
The 1980s saw Stevie Wonder shift into more commercial work including soundtrack development. In 1980 he released the album “Hotter than July,” which includes the beloved song “Happy Birthday.” This song was used as part of the campaign to make the late Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday a national holiday. This album also included the song “Lately,” which was later covered by Jodeci in the 1990s.
During this time he enjoyed multiple features including a harmonica solo on Chaka Khan’s “I Feel For You” and the Eurythmics’ “There Must Be an Angel (Playing with My Heart).” Meanwhile, he was also featured on Elton John’s “I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues” and Michael Jackson’s “Bad.” Additionally, he performed for many charitable causes including a duet with Bruce Springsteen for the African Famine Relief, “We Are the World” for another charity in 1986, and “That’s What Friends Are For” to bring attention to the AIDS Epidemic.
By the 1990s, Stevie Wonder expanded into soundtracks as he recorded the album for Spike Lee’s “Jungle Fever” including the titular track. He performed at the 1996 Summer Olympics closing ceremony. But ever the activist, he collaborated with Babyface in 1997 to create the song “How Come, How Long” which shone a spotlight on domestic violence.
Later Career to Now
The 21st century is where Stevie Wonder racked up many of his accolades outside of the music industry along with memorable appearances. During this time he performed at several high profile events including the Live 8 concert in Philadelphia in 2005, the 2006 Super Bowl XL pre-game show, President Barack Obama’s Inaugural Celebration in 2009, and the opening ceremony of the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens, Greece — his second Special Olympics performance.
He has also been featured on countless artists’ songs including Mark Ronson’s 2015 album “Uptown Special” and the track “Stop Trying to Be Good” from Travis Scott’s 2018 album, “Astroworld.”
Awards and Accolades
Stevie Wonder is a prolific artist with the awards to match. He has 25 Grammy Awards along with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award that he earned in 1996. He is just one of four artists or groups that won the Album of the Year Grammy three times as a main credited artist. He also has a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Civil Rights Museum, is a United Nations Messenger of Peace, and earned the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2014.
In 2016, the City of Detroit renamed his childhood home’s street to “Stevie Wonder Avenue” and he received an honorary key to the city from Mayor Mike Duggan. Stevie Wonder also holds honorary degrees from Howard University, Brown University, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Rutgers University, Oberlin College, Tulane University, Yale University and Wayne State University.
Stevie Wonder’s Current Net Worth
Stevie Wonder’s current net worth is estimated at $200 million as of the time of publication for this article. While much of this is linked to his musical endeavors such as producing, songwriting and touring, Wonder is also a businessman. Along with his music, Stevie Wonder owns several properties across Los Angeles and Hawaii, is an investor, and also owns a significant stake in EMI, a major music publishing company.