Johnny Gill was born in Washington D.C. to Annie and Johnny Gill, Sr. He also has three brothers named Randy, Bobby, and Jeff.
Johnny started out singing in a family music group called Wings of Faith at the age of five. Together, the group sang in his father's church. Wings of Faith mostly sang Gospel songs because, as Johnny once said, "My dad was a minister, so R&B wasn't allowed. But we soaked in the sounds anyway. The sounds were in the air..."
Johnny's solo career began in 1983 when his childhood friend, Stacy Lattisaw, convinced him to record a demo. The demo he recorded fell into the hands of the president of Stacy's record label, and his self-titled debut album was released on Atlantic Records...
Johnny had known New Edition since they released "Candy Girl" in 1983, and New Edition would joke that if he could hit a dance step right, he could be in the group. When Bobby left the group to pursue a successful solo career, they asked Johnny to join the group. Johnny had already signed a contract with Motown Records, but he joined New Edition on MCA records with the understanding that he would be a solo artist on Motown.
New Edition released the "Heart Break" album in 1988. Johnny gave the group the more mature and complete sound they were looking for. On the album, he sang solos on songs such as "Can You Stand The Rain," "N.E. Heart Break," and "Boys To Men."
During that year, Johnny played bass guitar on the Eddie Murphy song "Bubble Hill." The year after, he provided the finger snaps on Janet Jackson's hit "Escapade" and sang "Give Love On Christmas Day," a song which was once sung by New Edition on their 1985 Christmas album, on a Motown Records compilation album titled "Christmas Cheers From Motown."
In 1990, Johnny released a version of the "Johnny Gill" album that was a milestone in R&B history marking the first album to have been produced by the top two R&B producing teams of that time, L.A. Reid and Babyface and Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.
"Rub You The Right Way" was the first single from that album. Other hits from the album included "My, My, My," "Wrap My Body Tight," and "Fairweather Friend."
In 1991, Johnny was featured on the "New Jack City" soundtrack singing "I'm Still Waiting" and the Shanice singles "Silent Prayer" and "You Ain't All That."
Johnny has also made appearances on songs such as "Brains Goin' Cra-ze" by MC Brains and "Yeah" by Eddie Murphy (which also featured Luther Vandross, Janet Jackson, Babyface, etc.). He also made guest appearances on the "Mo' Money" and "Boomerang" soundtracks and the En Vouge video "Giving Him Something He Can Feel." Johnny also made a little-known guest appearance on the show "Out All Night," which starred Patti LaBelle, Vivica A. Fox, Duane Martin and others, singing "There U Go" from the "Boomerang" soundtrack.
In 1993, Johnny released the album "Provocative." The album featured songs like "I Got You," which included a guest appearance by Boyz II Men, and "The Floor." Background vocalists on the album included Mint Condition, Babyface, and Karyn White.
After New Edition released their reunion album, "Home Again," in 1996, Johnny released another solo album titled "Let's Get The Mood Right." The album featured songs like "Love In An Elevator," "Maybe," and "It's Your Body."