Johnny Gill Talks Black Music Honors, New Edition Las Vegas Residency and His Hot New Projects

It’s turning out to be a very good year for Johnny Gill. The 9th annual Black Music Honors celebrated the singer-songwriter for his 40-plus years in the industry. “It’s a great feeling to be acknowledged by your peers, acknowledging the fact that what you’re doing is not going unnoticed,” Gill declared to EBONY in our one-on-one interview. 

He’s also excited for his musical colleagues—fellow icons Patrice Rushen, Bootsy Collins and Hezekiah Walker—who were also recognized by Black Music Honors. “I’m so happy for them because we all talk about how often we’re celebrated; we’ve been around for a long time,” he shared. “It’s just the little things that encourage us and let us know that we’re still heading in the right direction and on the right path.”

As for the secret to his longevity, Gill stated, I hear it so many times from people, the stories about what we’ve done, songs that have touched their lives, created babies…I can’t put it into words other than we’re all just messengers on the vessel and I understand that. It’s much bigger than me, but I’m grateful that I was one of the chosen to do it. I don’t take it for granted.”

Being a good messenger has guided Gill’s life, which includes living a clean one. “I’ve never done drugs, I’ve never done a number of things, simply because I understand and know the responsibilities that come with being and delivering that message.”

His beliefs started early in life. The son of a minister, Gill grew up in the church. “My brothers told me how my mom would be praying three, four, five o’clock in the morning: praying and crying. Truly, honestly, I believe it was those things that kept me through all that madness that we’ve gone through in the business that we’re in, and I’ve been able to come out without a scar and unscathed.”

Getting the Black Music Honors recognition is always welcomed, but Gil stresses that honors are just a finishing touch on his illustrious and still-going strong career. “When I see every night that we are sold out and butts are in seats, it speaks volumes for 40 years later that my work is not in vain.”

He’s referring to New Edition’s reunion in a legendary residency at the Encore Theater at Wynn Las Vegas. He was recruited by Michael Bivins to join the group in 1987.

I’m back out on the road, and I’m also out with the guys,” he declared. “I’ve been just doing what I’ve been doing, staying busy and enjoying it, it’s so crazy.”

Giving younger artists a run for their money, the “My, My, My” singer has got solo dates planned throughout the year and is working on a new album. He’s also performing at Harlem’s historic Apollo Theater’s annual Spring Benefit celebrating 90 years on June 11, 2024. “When you’re younger, you’re moving so fast. And you’re like what’s next, what’s next, what’s next,” he exclaimed.

“As you get older, the strange thing is you start looking at the trees, and they start looking better. You really start to have a great appreciation just for the smallest things, and it’s a blessing.”

The 9th Annual Black Music Honors airs June 19, 2024, at 9 pm ET on Bounce TV. 

Updated: June 11, 2024 — 9:02 am