After more than 30 years in the music business, churning out hits like “My, My, My” and “Rub You the Right Way,” Johnny Gill said he wants to be remembered along with other great R&B artists like Luther Vandross, Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder. However, he said he’s not exactly getting that recognition yet.
“I want to make sure that there’s a form of respect that will always be given as an artist and being able to say that I never compromised that I’ve always been true to my art,” he told All Access Music. “I’ve done so much in my career that I still don’t get the level of respect that I feel that I deserve. … In the industry I feel like I’m still not, never been…respected.”
The music veteran has achieved what some artists could only dream, maintaining a years long solo career while also being a member of one of the most celebrated R&B groups of the ’80s and ’90s, New Edition.
His most recent album, Game Changer, released a little more than a year ago, ranked on Billboard’s list of Top 10 R&B albums of 2015. Despite the accolades from the respected music industry publication, Gill seemingly expected more.
“I was very disappointed in Soul Train that I wasn’t even nominated,” he said, referring to the awards show that aired on Viacom’s Centric and BET networks. “To have such a great solid album and great music when you listen to this album from the beginning to the end, to not be acknowledged, it just lets me now there’s still so much work to do.”
Though the award distributors might not be showing Gill much love, he said that’s not why he does what he does, and he prefers the love he gets from fans more than he would an awards show win.
“It ain’t about the trophy,” he clarified. “The fans give that and show their appreciation every time I go out to play a place. … There’s so many artists who’ve come out who have won a lot of awards and wish they could turn their awards in for what we have: a great career. I don’t take it for granted.”
Rather than become discouraged by the industry’s apparent apathy toward his extensive body of work, Gill said he uses that as motivation: “Yes, I want my work to be acknowledged and I want the respect of my peers, but I’ll keep working hard until it happens.”
He added online,
Can’t thank ‘The bible of the music industry’ enough for acknowledging what I feel is my best work to date. pic.twitter.com/iOkn7eMXgG
— Johnny Gill (@RealJohnnyGill) December 31, 2015