5. The Girl My Heart Beats For
Although he stood six feet and towered over
most disc jockeys and fans, people found it hard to drop the word
Little from Little Stevie Wonder. A major factor in helping people
to drop Little from his name was his marriage to Syreeta Wright in
September of 1970.
I met Syreeta when Don Hunter and I were working
together. After hearing her voice, I thought she could do a
particular song. She was working in the arranging department of
Motown. Brian Holland had discovered her also. We became very good
friends, a love at first sight. She was older than I, but I was
determined to get her.
As his adolescence came to an end, Wonder took
charge of his career. By the time of
Signed, Sealed & Delivered, he
was virtually self-sufficient in the studio, serving as his own
producer and arranger, playing most of the instruments himself, and
writing material with his wife, Syreeta Wright. In this phase, he
scored three more hit singles:
Delivered I'm Yours,
Heaven Help Us
Never Had A Dream Come
His next album
Where I'm Comin' From, was the
last album he would make under his original two five-year contracts
with Motown. Where I'm Comin' From may have been Stevie's indirect
way of telling executives at Motown what they did not want to hear.
Stevie later spoke to Rolling Stone magazine about the album:
was kinda premature to some extent, but I wanted to express myself .
A lot of it now I'd probably remix.
You 'd Leave In Summer
came from that album, and If You Really Love Me . . . but
it's nothin' like the things I write now. I love gettin' into just
as much weird shit as possible.
But weird music was not acceptable at Motown then.
Where I'm Comin'
From, Steve did
not cut any more records until he turned twenty-one and was eligible
for the money that had been held in trust for him. More importantly,
his contract with Motown ran out and he said he was through with
They were upset at first,
he says, speaking cautiously in deliberate understatement,
began to understand--later. Whatever peak I had reached doing that
kind of music, I had reached. It was important for them to
understand we were going nowhere.
When he reached his 21st birthday in 1971
Motown threw a party for him. However the next morning Berry Gordy
was surprised to receive a letter from Stevie's lawyer cutting ties
with Motown. At this time he was eligible to received the money due
to him that accumulated while a minor; despite earning over $30
million, he received only $1 million.
now his life became affected by different realizations.
that there are things that do happen within the business. You must
deal with originality to a certain degree, commercialism to a
certain degree, but again, all of it has a proper balance.