You can call him ‘mister’ Johnny Gill. Not because of any fancy aristocratic title, but because of the skill he has honed almost all his life that some fans simply refer to as ‘The Voice’.
And a voice he has, ever since he made a debut on the RnB scene about 25 years, after humble beginnings with gospel group Wings of Faith, which was based in the US capital Washington DC.
It was while singing with the group, with his set of skills clearly standing out, that he was discovered by musician Stacy Lattisaw.
Soon his studio dexterity and wide vocal range was found to be just as superb on stage and he slowly started performing alongside A-list stars like Janet Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Boyz II Men, Babyface and even the late Rick James.
It is Gill who is credited with elevating New Edition to greatness, teaming up with Bobby Brown, Ralph Tresvant, Bell, Biv and Devoe. BBD have since pulled out and Johnny, Ralph and Brown now go by the name Heads of State – and they have been touring recently.
He was also no small contribution to the grouping of romantic crooners LSG; which stood for Gerald Levert, Keith Sweat and the Gill man himself. This group thrived until Levert’s untimely demise, and as a tribute, Eddie Levert has taken up a slot on Gill’s new album.
Over his career, hit songs like “The Floor”, “Fair Weather Friend”, “My, My, My”, and “Rub You the Right Way” were sung by millions across the world, earning him recognition by former US President George Bush Sr. This came in the form of an appointment as the National Spokesman for the Points of Life movement, which honours everyday men and women who are making a difference in their communities.
The current buzz in the US is about his latest album, Still Winning, which incorporates the talents of Wyclef Jean, Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis, Keith Sweat and Trey Songz.
Johnny Gill will perform some of his latest songs when he arrives in Nairobi, Kenya for a concert on September 8 at the Carnivore Grounds, courtesy of Tusker Lite.
Fans and music lovers can buy regular tickets at Sh3,000, and VIP passes at Sh5,000 to watch him Still Winning!