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sylvia moy

Sylvia Moy

b. Sylvia Rose Moy, 15th September 1938, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.

d. 15th April 2017, Beaumont (Oakwood) Hospital, Dearborn, Michigan, U.S.A.

Sylvia Moy was Motown’s first female producer and songwriter.

Born in Detroit, Sylvia studied and performed jazz and classical music at school.

Sylvia was one of nine children born into her Detroit family.

Attending the Northern High School, Sylvia was encouraged by teachers to travel to New York for singing auditions.

Later, at Detroit's Caucus Club in 1963, Sylvia was spotted by Motown's Marvin Gaye and Mickey Stevenson, and was invited to head down to the label's West Grand Boulevard complex.

Originally signed as a singer, Sylvia began attending production meetings alongside Smokey Robinson, Holland-Dozier-Holland and other producers at Motown.

Stevie Wonder

Her big break came with Stevie Wonder and ‘Uptight’, which Sylvia co-wrote with Hank Cosby after hearing Stevie practising on the piano.

Sylvia was said to have been responsible for the label keeping Stevie Wonder, after Stevie’s voice had broken, and Berry Gordy had planned to drop Stevie from the label.

Sylvia Moy Hank Cosby

sylvia moy and hank cosby

Sylvia (along with fellow songwriter, Henry Cosby) were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2006, where Stevie Wonder performed their song ‘Uptight’.


Sylvia penned (or co-penned) many of Motown’s most memorable songs, including ‘Uptight (Everything's Alright)’, ‘My Cherie Amour’, ‘I Was Made to Love Her’, ‘Never Had a Dream Come True’, ‘Angie Girl’, ‘Shoo-Be-Doo-Be-Doo-Da-Day’, ’Forget Me Not’, ‘My Baby Loves Me’ and ‘It Takes Two’, for the artists Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Kim Weston, and Martha Reeves and the Vandellas.

Early labels of the single 'This Old Heart Of Mine (Is Weak For You)' indicate the song penned by Holland/Dozier/Holland, however Sylvia was later credited with writing the song for the Isley Brothers amongst others.

Sylvia MoySylvia Moy

and this is love b/w time is running out - 20th century (1973) / major investment b/w dub mix - nightmare (1989)

In the Seventies and Eighties, Sylvia released two singles, entitled 'And This Is Love' (in 1973 for 20th Century Records) and 'Major Investment' (in 1989 for Nightmare Records).

Sylvia went on to write the theme songs for many television shows, including Blossom, The Wonder Years, and Growing Pains.

Later, Sylvia launched a Detroit non-profit group called Center for Creative Communications, also known as Masterworks.

She began working with underprivileged Detroit children.

Sylvia was awarded six Grammy nominations, 20 BMI awards, and a place in the National Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Henry (Hank) Cosby's widow stated of Sylvia:

'Sylvia with her imaginative mind was just (groundbreaking). If she were a man instead of a woman, there would have been a lot more you’d have heard from her. But once her work became known, the resistance waned away, and the producers started looking at her differently and could see the value of what she was trying to do'.

Sylvia died in 2017 at the age of 78 from pneumonia.

Sylvia Moy


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