Johnny Gill began singing at a young age beside his brothers in the gospel group Wings of Faith. His professional music career started in 1983 when he signed to Cotillion label and scored an R&B hit with his first single. Alongside childhood friend and fellow Cotillion artist Stacy Lattisaw, he scored an R&B Top Ten hit with "Perfect Combination," the title track to the vocalists' 1984 album of duets.
Gill's career was given new life in 1987 when he joined New Edition effectively replacing Bobby Brown for the recording of Heart Break. In 1989, the singer featured two other charting singles outside his group: "Where Do We Go from Here," a number one R&B hit from Lattisaw's What You Need, and "One Love," by saxophonist George Howard. The Motown-issued Johnny Gill followed the next year and went Top Ten pop and platinum on the strength of four significant singles. "Rub You the Right Way," "My My My," and Wrap My Body Tight" all topped the R&B chart, and the fourth, "Fairweather Friend," made it to number two. While the album was undoubtedly a success, it was also nominated for a Grammy in the Best R&B Vocal Performance category the singer's second and third LPs for Motown, 1993's Provocative, and 1996's Let's Get the Mood Right, became gold-level sellers.