JOHNNY GILL was born to Annie and Johnny Gill, Sr., on the 22nd day of May in 1966. Born and raised in Washington, DC, "J.G." is the youngest of four brothers; Bobby, Jeffrey, and Randy. At age five Johnny became the lead singer of his family's gospel group, The Wings of Faith" and later "The Gill Special", proving that his talent spanned far beyond his tender years.
Despite his religious rearing which forbid secular music, Johnny gravitated to R&B. He secretly began listening to artists such as Marvin Gaye, Al Green, and Teddy Pendergrass. By the time he was a preteen, Johnny was known for his deep baritone vocals which sounded very much like a grown man. Infact, one day when a neighborhood parent overheard a singing voice coming from the basement of her home, she was surprise to learn it was not coming from the radio. It was indeed Johnny serenading his neighborhood friends which included the already budding preteen sensation, Stacy Lattisaw.
Lattisaw brought Johnny's talent to the attention of Atlantic Records, her recording label at that time. As a result, in the early 1980's Johnny and Stacy, barely out of their teens, had several hit duets including "Where Do We Go From Here" and "Perfect Combination". Later Johnny enjoyed moderate solo success on the label with the releases "Johnny Gill, and "Chemistry". The latter project produced his early hit "Half Crazy".
In the late 1980's, an industry displaced Johnny became a member of the R&B quintet New Edition, after lead singer Bobby Brown opted for a solo career. His membership introduced the once teen icons to a broader, more mature, fan base. Additionally their release "NE Heartbreak" scored phenomenal success. Even today it is hard to forget Johnny's lead vocals on the group's classic "Can You Stand The Rain".
When New Edition went on hiatus in 1990, Johnny resumed his solo career. His effort was the self titled release produced by Terry Lewis and Jimmy Jam. This release garnered several top ten hits, including "Rub You The Right Way", "Wrap Your Body Tight" and the Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds composition, "My, My, My,". Johnny's second solo project "Provocative", was released in 1993. Although, its chart performance was lackluster, the release offered some of Johnny's most sensous ballads.
A master of perfection, Johnny came back in 1996, with "Let's Get The Mood Right", containing the seductive title track, and the singles "It's Your Body", and "Love In The Elevator." The same year New Edition released "Home Again", their reunion project and embarked on a tour of the same name. In 1997, Johnny became one third of the mega musical union LSG with fellow balladeers Gerald Levert and Keith Sweat. In 2006, Johnny teamed with New Edition members Ralph Tresvant and Bobby Brown and toured under the moniker "Heads of State".
Showcasing his talents as an actor, Johnny has appeared in several stage plays including "Listen To Your Woman", "A Fool For Love" , "A Mother's Love", and the JD Lawrence play "I'll Always Love My Momma". He also had a singing role in the Tyler Perry film "Madea's Family Reunion."In the fall of 2011, Johnny released "Still Winning" on Notifi Records. The project marked his first solo release in over sixteen years. In the fall of 2014, Johnny releases "Game Changer" which has spawned the rapidly rising first single "Behind Closed Doors". Johnny Gill personifies the passage "the race is not won by the swift, but rather those who endure to the end".
. - written by Robin A. Jones