Sylvia Moy’s name might be familiar to those outside the music industry, but her creations have certainly lasted the test of time. Ms. Moy was part of the Motown creative team responsible for making Stevie Wonder a star and wrote songs for some of the legendary label’s most celebrated acts.
Moy, born in 1939, was raised in northeastern Detroit with eight brothers and sisters. The siblings amused themselves with pots and pans in the home, setting the early tone for Moy’s musical career. At school, Moy became adept at classical and jazz ahead of her stint at Motown Records.
While at Motown, Moy was the first woman at the label to be named a record producer and she held sway in other ways as well. According to Berry Gordy’s autobiography To Be Loved, the mogul wanted to drop Wonder from the label as his voice began changing due to puberty. Moy convinced Gordy to keep Wonder on the label but only if she could craft a hit song for him.
One of the early hits Moy wrote was 1965’s “Uptight (Everything’s Alright),” which did well for Wonder. But it was the 1969 hit “My Cherie Amour” that took off and one of the earliest works he received writing credit on. Moy also helped write “I Was Made To Love Her” and “Never Had A Dream Come True” as well.
Moy wrote for the Isley Brothers and co-wrote Marvin Gaye and Kim Weston’s classic duet “It Takes Two” alongside Mickey Stevenson.