Johnny Gill: The rise of an R&B legend
Soulful crooner Johnny Gill joined New Edition in 1987 after Bobby Brown departed the Boston-based boy band. He blended flawlessly with members, Ricky Bell, Ronnie DeVoe, Michael Bivins, and Ralph Tresvant.
Prior to joining the group, Gill had recorded solo albums that received lukewarm responses. But, after the commercial dominance of New Edition’s multiplatinum Heart Break album, Gill relaunched his solo career with back-to-back hits. Spotify notes that Gill’s self-titled album, which was released in 1990, achieved platinum status, and two subsequent ‘90s albums were certified gold. Three additional releases in the 2010s sparked moderate interest.
In between solo albums, Gill made time to reconnect with New Edition for the 1996 Home Again album, which was certified double platinum. Gill has also popped up over the years for various reunion performances.
Aside from his work as a soloist and as a member of New Edition, Gill formed another supergroup with R&B idols Gerald Levert and Keith Sweat. Billed as LSG, the trio achieved platinum status with their 1997 debut album, Levert.Sweat.Gill. Next up for the group was LSG2 in 2003, which delivered decent tunes but failed to attain the success of their prior outing.
Johnny Gill: From New Edition to music label exec
In 2019, Gill released Game Changer II, a fusion of classic R&B style with a modern twist. The singer welcomed several vocal collaborators on the project, including Kevon Edmonds, Santana, and Sheila E. Most notably, Tresvant joined Gill on the slow jam, Perfect. Then, the crooner returned the favor and appeared on his New Edition bandmate’s single, All Mine.
Gill opened up to ABC Audio about a new venture as the head of his own label. The startup is called J Skillz, and Gill says Tresvant was the first artist to sign. “My goal is just having a team and us all working together as a team to get the championships and to win championships,” Gill told ABC Audio.
What’s next for the singer?
Gill fans may recall that the vocalist has dabbled in acting, both on screen and on stage. He appeared in Madea’s Family Reunion and Girls Trip, among other titles.
Next up for the star is the feature film, Spinning Gold. The movie is a biopic that revolves around Neil Bogart, a record producer and the co-founder of Casablanca Records. Bogart was a major player in ‘70s music across numerous genres.
In the film, Gill portrays Clarence Burke Jr., the lead singer of the R&B group, the Five Stairsteps. He will share the screen with A-listers, including Michelle Monaghan, D.L. Hughley, Kenan Thompson, and Richard Dreyfuss. The film is currently in the post-production phase and pending release. But until its premiere, fans can still enjoy content from Gill presently streaming on Spotify.
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