As New Edition’s #1 fan; I have a lot to say about the powerhouse of Johnny Gill. Keep reading to find out how I really felt when he joined New Edition and how I saw a lot of similarities in both of our career paths.
Spinderella on Johnny Gill’s Talent
Johnny Gill got a record deal at 15!!!! Do you understand that!? That is clearly genius vocal ability at an early age!!!! At 15, his appearance looked very different than his voice and he was clearly way beyond his own years. Johnny had more soul in his 15 year-old body than a lot of singers twice his age. God definitely blessed him with THAT voice.
When Johnny Joined New Edition
I remember when New Edition made the announcement that Johnny Gill was joining the group and it was a BIG deal. Keeping it 100, I also remember that I wasn’t too pleased at the news! Not that I didn’t like Gill’s voice because he was super talented and an awesome singer but that was MY group and I liked them just the way they were!!!! I couldn’t see the two together.
I was only about 18 myself at the time and I was traveling on the road with Salt-N-Pepa but I would make sure to fly out at the drop of a dime to see a New Edition concert!!!!! I LOVED ME SOME NEW EDITION and STILL DO!!!
Being a fan of New Edition, I would have on New Edition paraphernalia including a hat, t-shirt, buttons, etc. and they always took care of me making sure I had a front row seat. I couldn’t imagine Johnny in the group until I saw him actually performing as New Edition; especially when he sang “Boys II Men,” the last song on the Heartbreak album. That was the song they would always sing at the end of the show. It was then that I understood why his joining New Edition was a good thing. He definitely brought that something special to the group.
Spin on Being the Newbie of a Group
Being the newbie of the group can be a hard thing. Like Johnny, when I joined Salt-N-Pepa, they were already established and I was definitely tested. I’m sure Johnny was tested too. New Edition was definitely hazing him up a little, especially Bobby. LOL! When you’re the newbie of the group, you will be treated as such and you just have to figure it out!!!!
As time went on, Johnny proved himself to be one of the most consistent members of the group; always being on time and always doing what was asked of him. He definitely showed his loyalty and this made me a fan of his even more. His actions said to New Edition that we are a team and that says a lot.
Spinderella on Is He or Isn’t He????
I personally think that people mistake a “sensitive” man as being feminine. In this industry, they can really beat artists up with gay rumors and Johnny was no exception. Imagine what he went thru and continues to go thru when he hears those rumors. But whatever his preference is; it’s no one’s business and it shouldn’t take away from his talent.
I am so glad he did an Unsung. It’s going to shut up SOME of those naysayers and gossipers!!!!
Spin Dishes on the Music Industry
Johnny addressed how he felt when Andre Harrell replaced Jheryl Busby as CEO of Motown, his record label at that time. I could so relate to that! That’s exactly what happened with Salt-N-Pepa and that was definitely a curve in our career. When there is change at the top, the whole flavor of the record label is different. This always concerns the artist. A major change like that will make your head spin. It will have you questioning your talent, your purpose, who you are and where you belong. This is exactly what Johnny went thru.
Artist should learn from Johnny’s Unsung episode to always have a strategy. A strong strategy can catapult an artist to out-of-this-world mega success. Without it, your best hit might not ever be heard. What song is released and when is critical! Sometimes it’s for the better if you don’t put your best song out first. Johnny did just that on his 1990 album entitled, Johnny Gill. He flipped the script and came out with “Rub You the Right Way” first, an up-tempo song by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. While that was in heavy rotation on radios across the country he followed it up with what would be his signature ballad, “My, My, My” – definitely his best!
Johnny’s “Hate” Song and Mine
Funny how Johnny Gill said he hated the one song he sang lead on, “Boys II Men” but it turned out to be a great hit and one of his signature tunes with New Edition. Ironically, my “hate” song was “Push-It.” When it was released, I just wasn’t feeling it!!!! I couldn’t understand why that song was so huge but I get it now! LOL!!! And I’m not mad at it at all! It’s a straight Salt-N-Pepa classic!
I was a fan of Johnny Gill’s music but this Unsung definitely made me a fan of his spirit. A man of such talent, Johnny Gill is humble and not flashy and those qualities are very rare in the music biz. A constant chameleon, Johnny Gill has learned to succeed as a solo artist, a duo performer (with Stacy Lattisaw), within a group (New Edition) and a trio (LSG, Heads of State). With a track record like that in an ever-changing music biz, it’s safe to say Johnny Gill is a “quiet giant.”
I have had SO much fun blogging for this season of Unsung! Keep the conversation going and follow me on twitter @Spindeezy!
Spinderella AKA Spindeezy
TELL US: Tell Spinderella Your Favorite Johnny Gill or New Edition Song.