By Cameo Brown
As I sit here on Saturday, May 13, 2006, celebrating the birth of Steveland Hardaway Judkins, a.k.a. Stevie Wonder, I am also listening to my mother singing background on “Love Light in Flight” from the Woman in Red soundtrack, and patiently awaiting my birthday, which is tomorrow, Sunday, May 14, 2006 – Mother’s Day! Yes, I was born on Mother’s Day (Sunday, May 14, 1978) to Antoinette Dimple Brown, a woman whose voice is as angelic as her spirit.
I have always relished in the fact that I was born on such a special day, a gift to my mother who had lost her own only a couple of years before to breast cancer. It is so eerie how the universe has a way of aligning the stars just right and placing just the right people in your life. If I remember correctly, Stevie contributed the beautiful red blanket that covered my grandmother’s casket, and he is also the one who later sent my mother to Seth Riggs (an amazing vocal coach). I have heard stories my whole life about “Stevie” - the recording sessions and his humorous disposition. In fact, I have met him a few times and even tutored his daughter once!
Music, lyric and song have been central to my development as a young woman. My mother’s gift – her voice – and her undying love for music have made a huge impact on my life. She has always encouraged me to think critically about artistic expression and its relationship to others. The combination of instruments (drums, voice, horns, etc.) with lyrics that speak of the human condition in all of its complexity is magical! I give thanks to my mother for being an example of how a human being can use one’s voice to inspire and enlighten, to bring joy to the hearts of others.
Growing up, much of what I heard in my household (if it wasn’t in fact my mother) was Stevie Wonder. Of course, “Love Light in Flight” will always remind me of my mother because her voice rings through the background! In terms of lyrics, “As” most closely resembles the way that I feel about her – unconditional, almost indescribable love! Stevie couldn’t have said it better. BUT, the song that really reminds me of my mom is “Creepin,” mostly because Minnie Ripperton is singing background with Stevie and my mother absolutely loves her – sounds a lot like her in fact.
This time of year is always special, a reminder of what is truly important – Love and Creativity.