IN THE SPOTLIGHT | JOHNN GILL

Gill was born in Washington, D.C. He is the son of a minister, Johnny Gill, Sr and brothers to Shaneka Chinn. He started singing at age five in a family gospel group called "Wings of Faith," which included his brothers Bobby, Jeff, and Randy Gill (himself a solo recording artist and member of the group II D Extreme). His recording career began in 1983 when his childhood friend, singer Stacy Lattisaw, convinced him to record a demo. This demo fell into the hands of the president of Atlantic Records, and his self-titled debut album was released shortly thereafter, featuring the minor hit, "Super Love". Gill then teamed up with Stacy for a duet album, which featured their first hit together, "Perfect Combination." A second album on Atlantic Records, yielded the song "Half Crazy," which is still a fan favorite.

Gill began a new chapter in his career in 1987, when he was recruited by Michael Bivins to be the new fifth member of New Edition, a 1980s R&B group. The previous fifth member, Bobby Brown had been voted out of the group and enjoyed a successful solo career before reuniting with the group as a sixth member. With Gill as one of the lead singers, the group developed a more mature, adult sound, hitting the charts with songs such as "Can You Stand The Rain," "N.E. Heartbreak," and the Gill-led "Boys To Men." He is the oldest member of New Edition.

Continuing his role as a romantic balladeer while emerging as a New Jack Swing star, he released a second self-titled album in 1990 which included the hits "My, My, My," "Rub You the Right Way," "Fairweather Friend" and "Wrap My Body Tight". On this album, Gill played guitar, bass, bongos, and drums in addition to performing lead and background vocals. In 1991, he was featured in Perri "Pebbles" Reid's hit single "Always" from the album of the same name, along with Pebbles' cousin, R&B singer, Cherrelle. The single made the R&B Top 20 shortly after its release.


In 1993, Gill released anothers solo project, Provocative, which included the songs "Quiet Time to Play," "A Cute, Sweet, Love Addiction," and a moving gospel, "I Know Where I Stand." In 1996, Gill was reunited with New Edition, including Brown, as they recorded Home Again, an album noted for the singles "Hit Me Off" and "Still In Love". The title song, "Home Again," although not released as a single is one of the most impressive vocal performances recorded by the group to date.


           In 1996, Gill also released Let's Get the Mood Right, which included the title song, "Love In an Elevator," and "Maybe" which, although not released as a single, is considered by many to be one of his greatest vocal performances ever. The following year, he collaborated with Gerald Levert and Keith Sweat to form the supergroup LSG (Levert/Sweat/Gill) which resulted in the multi platinum debut album, Levert-Sweat-Gill, and a follow-up album in 2003 entitled LSG2.

Gill, the only member of New Edition who is not from Boston, was raised in Washington DC where he attended Kimball Elementary, Sousa Junior High, and Duke Ellington School of the Arts. His career dictated that he complete his high school education through the services of a tutor. Gill had planned to attend college and pursue a degree in electrical engineering, but his career came first.

 

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