Johnny Gill after being crowned 'King of Romance' by the SkillzFanz fan club, is congratulated by Ralph Tresvant and Bobby Brown

*Johnny Gill has announced that he’s planning to release his 6th studio album on February 14th.  I’ve been bouncing in my seat with excitement since learning my favorite singer signed with Notifi Records.

When I heard talk of a Diane Warren song and working with Bryan-Michael Cox plus James Harris and Terry Lewis, I danced a happy dance at the thought of being serenaded on Valentine’s Day by the man the other SkillzFanz and I crowned our “King of Romance!”

If I seem a bit over excited, let me explain.  The first time I was aware of J Skillz was when he sang “Perfect Combination” with Stacy Lattisaw.  Upon hearing his voice my initial thought was “ooooooh, that voice feels goooooood!”  

But my second thought was “Stacy’s momma ought to be ashamed letting her baby sing a duet with a 40 year old man!”  When I learned that grown voice was coming from a teenage boy my next thought was “KiKi, shame on you for getting womannish over a teenager!”

After vowing not to lust after Johnny, my fourth thought (aka my prediction) was “when that man is as grown as his 40 year old voice he is going to record the most romantic, best singing R&B album of all time!”

Despite being my favorite vocalist, I had not seen Johnny live until March 20, 2005.  When he came on stage looking chocolaty super fine and singing like a dream I realized that my prediction was soon going to come true.  My favorite singer was still as relevant as ever, as gorgeous as ever, and as talented as ever!

Johnny holds baby Isiah at his first public appearance ... and he slept right through it! 🙂 Also pictured is Johnny's brother, Randy Gill

But late that summer, the Devil started working overtime.  When Eddie and Nicole Murphy decided to end their marriage, some bonehead circulated a rumor associating the divorce with Eddie’s 20+ year friendship with Johnny. Clearly, Nicole doesn’t share this insane sentiment since just this past Friday @nicole_murphy tweeted to @RealJohnnyGill “Hey u!!!! I miss you ;-).”

Still the way the rumor spread made me fear that we would forever be deprived of new music by J Skillz!

Fortunately I know when I see the Devil working overtime that just means God is working here, so I became even more convinced my prediction would come true!  

I realized that even though Johnny was now as grown as his voice, maybe he still had some growing to do in other areas of his life because I personally don’t believe you learn how to love unconditionally until you love your child…and he had no children.

The next summer the happiness I showed in learning that Johnny and a friend had “accidentally” been blessed with a son made a few people wonder if I was Isiah Gill’s Auntie KiKi or something!  But I was just glad to know that such a loving spirit was finally going to experience the joy of parenthood.

Even with an unplanned offspring resulting from an obviously heterosexual encounter, those pesky rumors persisted.  When it started to seem like we weren’t ever going to get to hear any more of Johnny’s soulful crooning, something happened that made me realize I needed to just be patient because maybe God wanted to grow him a little more before we could get that best-of-all-time romantic album.  

In response to the rumors he had given a number of interviews.  I was shocked that the first interview was with Patty Jackson of WDAS in Philadelphia because she was one of the first radio personalities that I had seen contributing to the nonsense. Still JG was consistent with his brand of class during his interview with Patty and in the other interviews that followed.

When the rumors still persisted Johnny, now concerned about the potential impact on his son, got a little angry and went a little off in an interview with Claudia Jordan.  The cursing and reference to banging headboards was over the top.  But the reference to his stable of women, blacks and whites and everything in between, was so inconsistent with his image I realized he might have too much playboy in him to come off as believable singing that once-in-a-lifetime romantic song that I’m expecting to hear on this album. So I figured we were going to have to wait until he moved away from the bachelor lifestyle before that album would come to light.

But then I saw her, or better yet I saw him with her…Johnny Gill with his longtime girlfriend (or should I say fiancée?) Carissa Rosario.  The talk of stables turned into talk of a stable relationship!  When I saw how happy they were together I knew the moment had arrived for that album I predicted over 25 years ago!

So to all the haters, naysayers, doubters and jokers who participated in working overtime, all you did was delay this moment until the moment was perfect! As his recently recorded song “Still Standing” confirms, after over 25 years in this industry from recording duets with Stacy Lattisaw to New Edition to LSG, through triumphs and disappointments Johnny Gill is still here!

The only thing that could make this moment even more perfect would be if the album’s promotional tour had this lineup: Johnny’s brother Randy Gill, a singer whose voice is as beautiful and romantic as his soul; followed by the tender loving harmony of Randy’s group II D Extreme, which also features D’Extra Wiley and Jermaine Mickey; and topped off with the beautiful baritone of the SkillzFanz “King of Romance,” Johnny Gill. Now that would be the most Gill-iciously Gill-orious Valentine ever!

Kristal “KiKi” Miller, a St. Louis native, is a songwriter and R&B music advocate who previously hosted the online radio programs “The BBRBR Listening Party” with co-host Randy Gill and “The KiKi Miller Report” on World Vibe Radio.  Currently she has joined the staff of J2F International, LLC and is preparing to launch juicy2fresh.com on 1-11-11 with the premier bricks and clicks performance of hip-hop artist Juicy with an online streaming party and club party in Atlanta. Contact her via: [email protected]

Watch Johnny sing his classic “My My My”: