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Thu, 09.15.1938

Sylvia Moy, Lyricist and Singer born

Sylvia Moy

*Sylvia Moy was born on this date in 1938. She was a Black songwriter, singer, and record producer.

Born and raised on the northeast side of Detroit, Sylvia Rose Moy studied and performed jazz and classical music at Northern High School. In 1963, she was seen performing in a club by Marvin Gaye and Mickey Stevenson.  Motown Records gave her a recording and songwriting contract. They prioritized her songwriting because the company lacked material for its artists.

According to Berry Gordy's autobiography To Be Loved, Moy was directly responsible for the label keeping Stevie Wonder. Gordy wrote that he would drop him from the label after Stevie's voice began to change because of puberty. Then, Moy went to Gordy and asked, "if she could come up with a hit for Stevie would he reconsider"; he agreed.

Her first writing success came with "Uptight (Everything's Alright)," which she co-wrote with Henry "Hank" Cosby after hearing Wonder improvising on the piano. Moy wrote lyrics to the song, which she conveyed to Wonder by singing into his headphones one line ahead as he recorded. Among the subsequent hit singles Moy wrote or produced while at Motown were Stevie Wonder's "My Cherie Amour," "I Was Made to Love Her," "Never Had a Dream Come True,"; and "Honey Chile," and "Love Bug Leave My Heart Alone" by Martha and the Vandellas.

She also co-wrote "This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak for You)" with Holland-Dozier-Holland for the Isley Brothers; and "It Takes Two" with William "Mickey" Stevenson for Marvin Gaye and Kim Weston. In 1969, Moy won three BMI Awards for the songs "Honey Chile," "I Was Made to Love Her," and "Shoo-Be-Doo-Be-Doo-Da-Day." She later wrote theme songs for several television shows and was involved in writing film music.

She was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame alongside fellow Motown songwriter and producer Hank Cosby in 2006. She also set up a non-profit group, the Center for Creative Communications, working with underprivileged children in Detroit. Sylvia Moy died of complications from pneumonia in Dearborn, Michigan, on April 15, 2017, at the age of 78.

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