Growing up as a preacher’s kid in Washington, DC, I have so many fond memories of my father, the late Rev. Johnny Gill, Sr. He taught me so much and set so many examples for me that I am instilling some of those same principles with my nine year old son, Isaiah. I innately carry those values and I am grateful that my father led his life by example.
As a Baptist minister, my father was also a professional singer in several quartet groups throughout the years. Looking back, there were several qualities and characteristics that my father had that were imparted in my young mind and heart. I am thankful that I was raised in a home with both parents and that my father had a profound presence in my life.
I developed my great work ethic from my father. He worked hard and was a born leader. Every day I watched him prepare for work. He would assemble his weekday Bible lessons, Sunday school lessons, and regularly travelled with his quartet group.
He always demonstrated kindness and was a very thoughtful man. He treated everyone the same and always made time for people. He made himself accessible to the people in his congregation, setting an example that has served me well in my personal and professional life.
As the youngest of four sons, my dad would take me and my brothers Bobby, Jeff, and Randy out on Saturdays in his Volkswagen convertible. We would all pile in and go for long rides in the country. He taught us how to play football, and then we would teach the dog how to play. Those early memories with my father and brothers were priceless.
I’ve had a successful career because of those examples and lessons my father instilled in me. I am a perfectionist because of my father. My brothers and I had a gospel group named Wings of Faith and my dad would make us rehearse every day and we couldn’t go to bed until we got it right. And as the young lead singer of the group, he stayed on top of me constantly. And I understand now why I take my craft and musicianship so seriously today.