Pioneering songwriter and producer Sylvia Moy has died in her home state of Michigan. Moy was the first woman to work as a producer for the legendary Motown Records and has been recognized for her talents behind the scene countless times.
Her name might not 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.
Born in 1939, Moy was raised in northeastern Detroit with eight brothers and sisters. The siblings amused themselves with pots and pans in the home, inspiring 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. 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).” But it was the 1969 hit “My Cherie Amour” that took off, 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.
Aside from his work with Motown, Moy also wrote the themes to hit television shows Blossom, The Wonder Years, and Growing Pains. and created music for films like Mr. Holland’s Opus, Dead Presidents, and It Takes Two. Moy has been nominated for six Grammy Awards and has 20 BMI awards.
In 1974, Moy co-founded the Center for Creative Communications, also known as Masterworks, which trains young people in telecommunications and media arts.
Moy was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2006.
She was 78.
(Photo: YouTube Screenshot)