12. Isn't She Wonderful
this time Stevie had fallen in love with a young woman named Yolanda
Simmons. She had joined Stevie's entourage as his
secretary-bookkeeper, and in a short time they had fallen in love.
Stevie was convinced that he would never fall in love with someone
who was not, inside, a beautiful person.
can usually tell about a woman by her conversation,
her voice and the way she carries
herself. Some women can have a very beautiful outer face and a very
ugly inner face.
Yolanda was proud of his talent and pleased with his fame, but she
loved Stevie as a person, not as a personality. She radiated the
sort of inner beauty that he, perhaps better than sighted people,
could identify. In April 1975 their daughter was born. They named
her Aisha Zakia, combining African words meaning strength and
I want to be young with my kids,
Stevie has said.
WOW, I really want 'em, boy or girl,
doesn't matter, that's part of you, the sunshine of your life.
In March 1975 he added five more Grammies to his collection, including
Best Album for Fulfillingness', Best Producer and Best Male
By now Stevie had won awards in various music genres, Soul, Pop and
Rock. He does not like labeling.
like it when one is put into a category of music,
so that when he ventures into some
other kind of music the press or the public has a hard time relating
to it. It seems that every person is put into a certain bag. Being
an artist is not being limited to one kind of music. For instance,
soul music was derived from gospel and early rhythm and blues. In my
mind, soul means feeling. When a person is categorized as a soul
artist because of his colour, I don't like it. True artistry is
about variety, the real spice of an artist's life.
I have never been labelled in my own mind,
In August of 1975 his contract with Motown was up for renewal again.
The new contract a seven year thirteen-million-dollar deal was the
largest ever made with a recording star. But Motown expected to get
more than that back, beginning with its share of the profits from
Stevie's first double album, which was to be released in 1976.
Few musical products were as eagerly awaited as Stevie Wonder's new
album, but he was in no hurry to release it. A perfectionist who
will spend hours on a single musical phrase, Stevie was not yet
satisfied with the album. By the fall of 1975 he still felt it
needed much more work. He had not even decided on a definite title.
The year ended, and it had been a rather unique one: in all of 1975,
Stevie Wonder had not released a single record.
Each year Grammy awards are given only to those artists who have
released records during the previous year, so Stevie was not
nominated for any of the 1975 Grammies presented in February 1976. On
the night of the awards ceremony, Paul Simon won the Grammy for Best
Album. In his acceptance speech, he thanked Stevie Wonder for not
making an album in 1975.