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Johnny Gill is an American R&B musician, songwriter and singer best known as a successful solo recording artist and as lead singer of platinum-selling boy band New Edition.
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Born in Washington, D.C., on May 22, 1966, Johnny Gill began his career singing gospel in his father's church, as part of the family gospel group, Wings of Faith. When a family friend helped him get a record deal at age 16, he began sharing his mature, distinctive voice with fans of R&B and pop music. He went on to become lead singer of the popular boy band New Edition, and eventually released a hit solo album, Johnny Gill,
in 1990. He has continued making hits, at one point joining superstar singers Keith Sweat and the late Gerald Levert to form the R&B supergroup LSG.
Born in Washington, D.C., on May 22, 1966, Johnny Gill Jr. was part of a musical family. His father was a minister, and beginning at the age of 5, Gill sang in his family's gospel group, Wings of Faith, composed of him and his brothers Bobby, Jeff and Randy. Even at a young age, Gill stood out because of his mature voice, sounding wise beyond his years.
A childhood friend, singer Stacy Lattisaw, helped Gill to record a demo, which got him a record deal in 1983, at age 16. His first self-titled album garnered some attention, but he really began to get national attention when he next made a duo album with Lattisaw. Their hit single, "Perfect Combination," brought a new level of awareness to the young singers.
Johnny Gill's fame took another leap when, in 1987, he became lead singer for New Edition, a popular 1980s boy band that already had a string of hits. Gill's deep, distinctive voice helped the group forge a more mature sound, which proved timely as the group members were nearing their twenties and were no longer boys. The group's 1987 album, Heart Break, featured a more adult sound and included the hit singles "Can You Stand the Rain" (which went to No. 1 on the R&B charts), "N.E. Heartbreak" and "Boys to Men."
Signing with Motown Records as a solo artist, Gill reached his full potential when his second self-titled album was released in 1990. The album was the first to be produced by the top two R&B producing duos of that time: L.A. Reid and Babyface, and Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. The album blasted onto the music scene, reaching No. 1 on Billboard's Top 100 R&B Albums (and the Top 10 on the Pop Albums chart). Johnny Gill also contained four singles that powered onto the R&B and Pop Singles charts: "My, My, My," a signature Gill ballad that reached No. 1 on the R&B chart and the Top 10 on the Pop chart; "Wrap My Body Tight"; "Fairweather Friend" and "Rub You the Right Way."
Gill has never been married, but is the father of a son, Isiah Gill, who was born in 2006. Isiah's mother is a Washington, D.C., journalist. Gill's sexuality has often been a source of speculation; he has often been linked to superstar comedic actor Eddie Murphy.
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Learn more about the five lead singers of the platinum-selling boy band New Edition, including Bobby Brown, Johnny Gill and Ralph Tresvant. The group formed in 1978 and went on to have several successful singles during the 1980s, including "Candy Girl," "Cool It Now," "Can You Stand the Rain," "N.E. Heartbreak," "Boys to Men" and "Mr. Telephone Man," and they became teen pop idols in the process.
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They make music with instruments they were born with - their voices. Gifted vocalists have entertained audiences across musical genres from the tour de force arias of Luciano Pavarotti to the classic crooning of Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett to the soulful vocals of artists like Aretha Franklin and Mahalia Jackson. With their powerful lyricism, singers like Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson and Bruce Springsteen became poet laureates of American music while artists including Joan Baez and Joe Strummer used their voices to prompt social change while they entertained. Rockers from Elvis Presley to The Beatles to Kurt Cobain helped define their generations through their songs while icons like Michael Jackson, Cher and Whitney Houston shaped pop culture with their larger-than-life voices and personas. See these and more famous singers who have struck a chord in musical history.
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