December 4, 1953 ~ May 30, 2021
Born in: Indianapolis, IN
Resided in: Indianapolis, IN
Robert Wayne Stevenson was born with a musical gift to share with the world. He became aware of his musical talents when he began to sing in the children’s choir of his church at the age of 5. His family had a singing group, The Stevenson Family, with whom he also began to sing. His father was the pastor of several churches throughout the years, but it was William Stevenson, “Uncle Bill”, who taught Robert music production and recording. He discovered his gift for writing music at the age of 14 with his first song, One More Hill to Cross, which was also recorded 4 years later.
After high school Robert joined the Navy and found that his love for music followed him to the Island of Hawaii. While stationed there, he joined a group called “Future Shock” with dear friends Ron Mack and Douglas Taylor. “Future Shock” performed at local military clubs throughout the island and at other events including, “The Jerry Lewis Telethon”. When the group had lost its lead singer, Ron Mack, Robert simultaneously took military leave. While on leave, Robert had called his music teacher from high school, Anderson Dailey, who recommended his former student, Richard O. Jackson as a vocalist. Robert and Richard created an audition recording which Robert took back to Hawaii for the remaining members Future Shock to hear. The members offered a position to Richard, and from this re-creation, the members, Robert, Lee Kentle, Douglas Taylor, and Richard O. Jackson became known as Paramour, “By Way of Love”. Robert was the leader and baritone/bass singer. The group was well known on the islands of Hawaii, and additionally touring extensively throughout countries such as Japan, the Philippines, Guam, Korea, and Taiwan. Robert was also one of the songwriters for Paramour, with original songs on their album entitled, Highly Recommended.
Paramour heard that Marvin Gaye was staying in Hawaii, so they arranged to meet him and auditioned for the background vocals for his upcoming tour. Paramour brought Marvin Gaye to their studio and rehearsal hall where Gaye was extremely impressed. From Paramour, he took Robert and Lee on to tour. Stops included the famous European tour where they performed for Queen Elizabeth and Princess Margaret at the Dockland Charities in 1980. Robert travelled and performed with Marvin Gaye in European countries such as England, Belgium, Germany, France, and at the famous Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. Although having performed extensively in the world of secular music, Robert began to feel the tugging of the Holy Spirit in his heart.
In 1987, Robert created his company, “A Song for You”, which he owned and operated for 2 years. He wrote and recorded personalized songs upon request for clients who were seeking an exclusive song for any occasion. Two memorable clients were anchorwoman Barbara Boyd of Channel 6 WRTV in Indianapolis, IN, and assistant coach of the New York Knicks, Herb Williams. This company led to appearances on the televised program AM Indiana and interviews on radio stations WIBC and WPZZ stationed in Indianapolis and with Orlando-based companies. Stevenson relocated to San Francisco, California and started a similar company, “Say It with a Song”. This company had great success as did his Indianapolis and Orlando based companies.
In 1987 and 1988, Robert wrote two songs for the Indianapolis Colts Team entitled How About Them Colts and Colts Go for Broke. These songs were played frequently on the local radio stations and sold in the local music stations.
Once again, in spite of a reasonable degree of secular success, Robert felt the tugging of the Holy Spirit. In 2001 after 9/11, Robert moved to Los Angeles, California to work with Amen/Messiah’s Vision Recording Ministry. In the summer of 2007, Robert returned to Indianapolis where he began to write and co-produce songs for his brother/friend’s (Richard O. Jackson’s) He Who’s Invisible project. In 2008, Robert along with Richard founded Damascus Road Recording and 2 Indy Guys Publishing Co. It was also during this time that Robert visited Ephesus Seventh-day Adventist Church of Marion, Indiana with Richard. In that same year (2007) Robert made a decision to be baptized under Pastor John McFarland. During this same period, Robert met the love of his life, Debra Larkins. Declaring themselves each other’s soul mates, they were united in Holy Matrimony at Debra’s home church, Trinity Temple of Newark, New Jersey on July 5, 2009.
By 2011, Robert had written and produced the album, Knocking on Your Heart for his newly created group, “Zion’s Joy!”. Robert continued with ownership of Zion’s Joy! and an additional album and five single releases including Testimony, Continuous Praise, ‘Tis So Sweet, What Would Heaven Look Like?, and Mary Did you Know? to continue promoting Zion’s Joy! and their diversified and multi-talented artists. In 2020 the group rebranded themselves as “In Unity”. Many of the songs written by Robert are currently playing on Pandora radio and many other radio stations.
Robert’s final “In Unity” musical production, The Challenge, will be released mid-June 2021.
In 2013, all while creating and producing for Zion’s Joy! at the urging of his wife Debbie and others, Robert founded Uniquely Your Song which was similar to his past companies “A Song for You” and “Say It with a Song”.
It has been said that “Music is enough for lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music.” The world lost an exceptional singer, writer, producer, friend, family member, but most importantly a Child of God; and although Robert is no longer physically with us, he leaves his mark on this earth through changing lives and his music touching our hearts. Music is the universal language and love is universal. In acknowledging the mark that Robert Wayne Stevenson leaves on this side of Heaven, please continue to celebrate his life through his music and through the love that he shared for all of God’s children.
Robert Wayne Stevenson passed away peacefully in his home on May 30, 2021. He was born to John Robert Stevenson and Sarah (Frances) Stevenson on December 4, 1953, in Indianapolis, Indiana.
He is survived by his mother, Sarah Stevenson, and his other mother, Theresa Stevenson. His sisters: Patricia Lambert (Tony), Loretta Rush, Linda Metzger (Dino), and Leah Montez (Antonio); brothers Ronald Stevenson and Clinton Stevenson. He leaves behind his wife of twelve years, Dr. Debra Larkins Stevenson, and children Robert, Garrett, Rian (Ashley), Andrea, Alicia, and Brandi. He was also blessed with seven grandchildren: Taylore, Katia, Mercuetio, Donovan, Zarayah, Boston, and Jaden. He was preceded in death by his father, John Robert Stevenson and his sister, Patty Martin.
Robert spent his childhood in Indianapolis, attending IPS #75 and graduating from George Washington High School in 1976. Soon after graduation, Robert joined the U.S. Navy and was eventually stationed in Oahu, Hawaii where he honorably served four years. He began as a computer technician and completed his tour as drug and rehab counselor. There is when he began to share his musical talents on a national and international stage, singing with the group, “Future Shock” and later with “Paradise” which evolved into “Paramour”. Shortly after his days with Paramour, Robert began singing background vocals for Marvin Gaye from 1979 to 1981.
Robert returned home to Indianapolis in 2007 to produce his friend, Richard O. Jackson’s first recording project. Around this same time, he began the ministry of what became to be known as Zion’s Joy! Prior to his death, the group rebranded themselves as InUnity.
All who knew Robert found him to be the truest of friends, a devoted son and brother, and a lifelong music minister for God. There was never a time that a friend could throw Robert a parting shot for which Robert did not have a good comeback. Robert will surely be missed by all who were blessed to know him.
The family will be receiving friends at (this time TBD) with services to be held at (place and time). Service will be made available for streaming for those who would like to attend in that manner. Interment will be the following day with close friends and family in attendance, with his pastor, Pastor Kent Nichols officiating.
In lieu of flowers, the family would like for you to consider donating on the GoFundMe platform to his musical group, “InUnity”, for the promotion of his last produced song, “The Challenge”. The campaign is entitled “Help Robert’s Dying Wish Come True”.