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Why Stevie Wonder Stayed Off Drugs

The music legend says that after trying marijuana once as a young man, "I felt like I'd lost part of my brain."


Wonder says he's made it this far by staying
clean. Photo via

By Bryan Le


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Soul legend Stevie Wonder, reflecting upon his career in an interview with The Guardian, says he owes his health and success to the fact that he stayed off drugs—after trying marijuana once and hating it. Asked how he's managed to stay on top while his “revolutionary soul peers” fell out of the spotlight, Wonder denies he's anything special. "First of all," he says, "I'm no better than the next person. But I've never had a desire to do drugs. When I was 21 I smoked marijuana, and I didn't like the way it made me feel. When I woke up the next morning I felt like I'd lost part of my brain." The revelation may disappoint fans of the Stevie Wonder medical marijuana strain, who likely wouldn't list “sensation of partial brain-loss” as a side effect.

Still, his lack of any kind drug habit spared him a fate like those of many younger performers, such as Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston and Amy Winehouse. Wonder says he's sad for what was lost and what could have been: "It's been a heartbreak—obviously I knew Michael. I knew Whitney, too. And I understand Amy came to my concert in England a couple of years ago. I was thinking about us doing a duet—an old Marvin and Mary Wells song called 'Once Upon A Time.' It would have been amazing." Wonder also provoked a bit of outrage with his answer to a question about rising soul star Frank Ocean's sexuality, saying, "I think honestly, some people who think they're gay, they're confused. People can misconstrue closeness for love. People can feel connected, they bond. I'm not saying all [gay people are confused]. Some people have a desire to be with the same sex. But that's them."

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