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Johnny Gill balances solo work, New Edition

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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Johnny Gill has been in the spotlight since joining New Edition in 1987. But all these years and albums on, he's found it's never too late to have a "Game Changer."

That would be Gill's latest solo album, "Game Changer," which came out at the end of 2014 and is still going strong thanks to a string of singles -- the latest of which, "This One's For Me and You," features the rest of New Edition for the first time ever on one of Gill's solo sets.

"We were midway through finishing up and mixing, and I was laying the guys some of the songs from the album," Gill, 49, recalls by phone. "I just happened to play them this song and the guys looked at me and it was real quiet and the guys looked at me and it was like, 'Come on, man.' I was like, 'What?' They're like, 'This is a New Edition song that we need to be part of.' And I'm like, 'Are y'all serious?' And they were like, 'Man, let us get up on this song' and I was like, 'Absolutely!.'

"So I went in and recorded them and it became a New Edition songs, and I was so happy and grateful and blessed because I've never had New Edition on one of my albums. So this was special to me and such a blessing and such a pleasant surprise that they wanted to be here and wanted to be part of it and support this project."

Gill is still actively promoting "Game Changer;" he's planning to release another single but hasn't decided what song that will be yet. Meanwhile he's getting ready for a spate of New Edition activity in the coming year. The group plans to hit the road this summer, though dates have not yet been announced, and it's also actively working with BET on a biopic for 2017 that he hopes will be accompanied by the group's first ne album since 2004's "One Love."

"I was just disappointed that Denzel (Washington) wasn't available to play me," Gill says with a laugh. "Actually I just want somebody who can capture the essence of me, and I think that's important for all of us in the movie. That's going to be the most important thing in telling this story is that these actor capture the essence of who we are. We're hands-on involved a well. We have to spend time with them. They're going to spend time with us for a week or two and kinda just get to know us and our personalities and get insight and stuff like that.

"It's going to be interesting when it all comes together but everybody's gonna get a chance to tell and see what our story's like. We can't wait."

Johnny Gill and Christopher Williams

8 p.m. Thursday, April 14.

SoundBoard in the Motor City Casino Hotel, 2901 Grand River Ave., Detroit.

Tickets are $35-$45.

Call (866) 782-0622 or visit soundboarddetroit.com.

Web Site: www.soundboarddetroit.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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