In 1963, while in her mid-20s, Sylvia Moy signed a contract with Motown Records, after she was discovered by Marvin Gaye and one of the label’s behind-the-scenes’ musicians, William Stevenson.  She signed to Motown as both a recording artist and songwriter, but Berry Gordy and co. decided to utilize her in the latter capacity.  And she went on to become “the first woman… to write and produce for Motown acts”.


Motown had put “Little Stevie Wonder” on in 1961, the year he turned 11, i.e. when he was still prepubescent.  So, as is the norm, when Stevie went through puberty, his voice changed.  Around that time, circa mid-1963 to mid-1965, after dropping his first number one hit, Fingertips – Part 2  in 1963, Wonder’s singles flopped.   He also appeared in a couple of Frankie Avalon movies in 1964, Bikini Beach and Muscle Beach Party, which failed to impress.  After all of that transpired, Motown was on the verge of dropping him from the label.  But according to Berry’s autobiography, it was Sylvia Moy who convinced him otherwise.  Afterwards, she was instrumental in composing Uptight (Everything’s Alright) (1965), the song that put Stevie back on map.  And it was also during this time that Stevie Wonder dropped the “Little” from his stage name.

Moy co-wrote innumerable songs for Motown, doing so for a range of artists including Marvin Gaye, Gladys Knight & The Pips, Martha Reeves & The Vandellas, The Temptations and The Jackson 5 (as well as Michael individually).  But she is primarily remembered for being a collaborator of Stevie Wonder.  For instance, about half of the most-notable hits in her discography are Stevie Wonder songs, including:

  • Uptight (Everything’s Alright) (1965)
  • I Was Made to Love Her (1967), which chart-wise appears to be the biggest hit in her discography
  • I’m Wondering (1967)
  • Shoo-Be-Doo-Be-Doo-Da-Day (1968)
  • My Cherie Amour (1969), and
  • Never Had a Dream Come True (1970)

Also, of the three BMI Awards she took home in 1969, two of them were for Stevie tracks, Shoo-Be-Doo-Be-Doo-Da-Day (1968) and I Was Made to Love Her (1967), with the other being for Martha & the Vandellas’ Honey Chile (1967).


Moy was enshrined in the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2006, as was Henry Cosby, who likewise was a regular collaborator of Stevie Wonder during the 1960s.  Stevie “made a surprise appearance at the ceremony”, where he and Moy sang Uptight.  But to note, Sylvia also made a name for herself writing music for television shows and movies.


Ultimately, Moy passed away in 2017, via “complications from pneumonia”, when she was 78 years old.


  • Originally, Sylvia Moy developed an interest in jazz and classical music.
  • When, in 1972, Motown relocated from Detroit to Los Angeles, Moy opted to remain in her native Detroit, where she grew up alongside eight siblings.  Therein she founded her own label, Michigan Satellite Records as well as an NGO, the Center for Creative Communications, which is also known as Masterpiece Sound Studio.
  • Other music companies Moy founded are Sylvia Moy Productions and Muziki Publishing Company.
  • Stevie Wonder did not attend Sylvia Moy’s funeral, which was held at Greater Grace Temple in Detroit.  However, he did send both a written and video message, the latter of which he closed out by singing My Cherie Amour, the song co-written by Moy which established him as a music superstar.  And to note, the aforementioned Martha Reeves did attend the funeral.
  • Sylvia Moy is actually buried in Elwood Cemetery, which is also found in Detroit.
  • Moy was the recipient of “six Grammy and 20 BMI awards” throughout her career.


Herb Boyd.  Sylvia Moy, a Breakthrough Songwriter and Producer at Motown RecordsNew York Amsterdam News.  18 May 2017.

Sylvia MoyWikipedia.  Last edited on 12 January 2024.

Sylvia MoySongwriters Hall of Fame.  Accessed on 21 March 2024.

Stevie WonderWikipedia.  Last edited on 22 March 2024.

Sylvia Moy, Founder & SongwriterMasterpiece Sound Studios.  Accessed on 21 March 2024.

Sylvia Moy SongsGenius.  Accessed on 21 March 2024.