Classic R&B music better known as Old School R&B is music that feeds the soul. R&B singer and songwriter Randy Gill is bringing back true R&B music with his solo album “Gillology”. Randy who is a founding member of the famous R&B group II D Extreme uses his smooth soulful voice and songwriting talents to give Classic R&B fans music that touches your heart and emotions. SayWhatNews had the pleasure of speaking with Randy Gill about his family; II D Extreme updates and the new chapter in his music career as a solo artist. Keep a look out for Randy’s new album “Gillology” because it is sure to be an album that you always have on hand to listen to.
SayWhatNews: Good morning, Randy. Let me first take the time and scream out loud. I am a huge fan of II D Extreme and it is an honor speaking with you who is a founding member of the famous R&B group. Tell us who is Randy Gill.
Randy: Wow, thank you so very much. I appreciate all the love that you and all the fans of II D Extreme have shown us over the years. Wow I’m so grateful to all of you. It is a pleasure to be able to speak to you. I can speak for the guys as well and say thank you so very much you can never get enough love and we love you back.
Who is Randy Gill? Ok I will make this as short as possible. I’m hard working, easy to talk to, realistic, and a jokester. I’m down to earth. I’m a Lover, a fighter when necessary. I can bring the pain. But all in all I am God fearing; love my family (especially my MOM) and I enjoy making good music. NOW……..Hold me!!!!!!(ha, ha, ha, ha)
SayWhatNews: At a young age you and your brothers sang all over the gospel scene. At what age did you realize you had the gift of song?
Randy: Oh man! I have been singing all my life. I can’t honestly put an age it to. My brothers and I come from a musical family. At a young age all you realize is that music makes you feel good and as a child you do what you love. In my teens, I realized that many people wanted this and I was like WOW! I felt like this was a gift from heaven, and counted it as a blessing. So I feel like I was called to do this.
SayWhatNews: Who were your musical influences growing up?
Randy: My parents kept us around music 24/7, so I would have to say that it starts there. We grew up listening to singers likes of Aretha Franklin, Sam Cooke, Stevie Wonder and so many others. So I would have to say that those people were influential to me when I was growing up.
SayWhatNews: Do you play any instruments?
Randy: Yes I do. My choice of instruments is the bass, but I do dabble with keyboards, lead bass and the drum, although I have never taken professional lessons.
SayWhatNews: Since music was part of your life at a young age; did you always want to be an entertainer?
Randy: No! I was more into sports. You know, like football, boxing and then as I got older, because of my size I wanted to do security. Who would have thought that I would get into a profession where I would need security? (ha, ha, ha, ha)
SayWhatNews: The famous solo artist and member of New Edition, Johnny Gill is your brother and one of your best friends. What type of advice have you given each other musically?
Randy: Well, Johnny has often told me that when you sing…sing from the heart. No matter if its one person or one thousand people in the audience. It doesn’t matter how many people come out to see you. You should always do your best and give your audience the show they came to see.
I have often told Johnny that he is my idol and that no matter what “I gotcha back!” I will always be there for whatever you need. From time to time he asks that I sing backup for him and when he asks I am there.
SayWhatNews: Randy you are one of the founding members of the R&B group II D Extreme. Tell us how the group came to be and was discovered?
Randy: I was singing in local clubs around the Washington, DC area and the word was out that Johnny Gill had a brother that could SANG! I got a call from a radio station (WPGC) for an interview. At that time I was putting together a group of my own. The group started as a 7 piece R&B band called NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH. I wanted to put together a group but instead ended up putting together a band. II D Extreme evolved from there. I went to the radio station, they loved what they heard and wanted more. At that time I didn’t have a CD for them to play with me. They invited me back for another interview.
At this second interview, I brought II D Extreme with me. At that time the group consisted of D’Extra Wiley, Jermaine Mickey and I. We were on Ms. Denise Morgan’s radio show called “the 411”. They asked us to sing acapella LIVE on the radio and we ROCKED IT!!
They asked us for a copy of that song (CRY NO MORE) and Paco Lopez, the music director for WPGC at that time played it on the radio while we were there. People were calling into the station saying that they loved it. One hour later it was being played again on that same station, and became the most requested song there. From that record labels were calling the radio station to find out what label we were on. WPGC sent copies of our CD to their sister stations as well as the record labels. We were discovered from there.
SayWhatNews: II D Extreme’s single “Cry No More” was top 5 on the Billboard chart and the debut album went Gold. What an accomplishment; how surreal was that?
Randy: Oh yeah!! It was surreal to say the least. It was like living in a dream that you never wanted to wake up from. It’s like one of those special dreams, but ten times better. Ain't GOD good!
SayWhatNews: God is good. So, is it true that II D Extreme never broke up and we can expect a new project in the future?
Randy: I would place my right hand up and my left hand on the bible and swear that II D Extreme is still together, so help me Roynette (smile). Now let the church say AMEN! In fact, along with working on my solo project, D’Extra, Jermaine and I are working hard in the studio to put together a brand new II D Extreme CD. That is a guarantee. You can hold me to that.
SayWhatNews: As a singer and songwriter you have performed and written songs for Teddy Pendergrass, Usher, Shai and Johnny Gill. How amazing is it that you have been able to work with some of most talented artists in the business?
Randy: I have been blessed to work with all of the above and then some. Being able to sing on Teddy Pendergrass’ song “SLOW RIDE TO HEAVEN “was amazing; I wish I would have had the opportunity to perform it live with him on stage. It was a great experience to perform with Usher as well as other artists at the City Of Hope in LA. That experience was awesome. I wrote a song that is on Shai’s last album called “If he’s treating you wrong”. They were a great bunch of guys that are truly talented. As far as Johnny (JG as I call him), what can I possibly say. Writing for or singing with him is always a blessing.
SayWhatNews: Randy you are the radio host for BBRBR- Bring Back R&B Radio. Tell us how did this come to be?
Randy: I was talking to a young lady one day and we were talking about how we’ve got to bring back R&B radio. You know the good stuff... good music, great music, music that we love. A woman named Krystal called and asked about us joining forces. We put our heads together on how to get it started and from that came BBRBR (bringing back R&B radio). We thought it was a great idea to introduce our music to today’s kids and their generation. Our purpose was to play great music from back in the day such as Marvin Gaye and Luther to Johnny and Usher and so on. We believed that good music can continue and does not have to stop.
SayWhatNews: Ok, Randy let’s get the good stuff. You are currently in the studio working on your solo project “Gillology”. Your music has been described as music which expresses emotions of romance, desire and love. It sounds to me like you are bringing old school R&B back; what do you have to say about that?
Randy: OL’SKOOL! I can’t call it ol’ school. I call it great music, because great music never gets old or dies. All I’m doing is remembering were we came from and putting that into my songs and trying to remind and inspire our kids to make music that lasts. I write songs about love and feelings. Songs that express all kinds of emotions and then I sing them from the heart with passion. I want to be as leader and help good music stay and shine the way it should.
SayWhatNews: What was your inspiration for your song “Marry Me”?
Randy: Oh wow! You know Roynette; I believed that it was time for the brothers to step up. It was to let them know that it’s ok to show your feelings and to let your woman know that you love her. It’s time to stop all the games and be truthful to yourself and the one you love. It’s a proposal song but it’s a song to make a brother stop and think. Look around you and at your life and realize what you have and who you have in your life that makes you a better man. Let go of the egos because if you don’t someone else is gonna get a good thing and then it’s too late.
SayWhatNews: Are there any duets on the album?
Randy: Yes there is one called Radio. The song is with Jermaine Mickey, Remedy and I. It’s a song about a woman that calls a radio station looking for love. In the song, Jermaine tells her that he is the man for her and I tell her the same. Ok I want to do something different, I want you and your readers to go to my Myspace page and listen to the song, it is available now on my Myspace page (www.myspace.com/gilltime) for a limited time; then tell me who you think is the better man for her. I’ll be waiting for your answer (ha, ha, ha, ha).
SayWhatNews: When can we expect “Gillology” to be released?
Randy: At the moment the release date is not available. Because I am a perfectionist, I want to make sure that everything is right. Most of the songs for the CD are complete. I am making some last minute changes. I am sure that all of you are going to love the GILLOLOGY CD.
SayWhatNews: Tell us about your experience being part of the USO Tour performing for the troops in Bosnia, Kosovo and Macedonia?
Randy: It was an eye opening humbling experience. To be able to go over there and converse with the soldiers, to see the love and pain in their eyes was heartfelt. It was a real reality check. I appreciated them for having us. They enjoyed themselves and we enjoyed being there to perform for them.
SayWhatNews: Randy you are mentoring new artist in Washington DC. Any up and coming artist we may have heard of?
Randy: You may not have heard of them, but trust me when I tell you that when you hear them you will never forget them (smile).
SayWhatNews: Tell us what does Randy Gill do in his spare time to have fun and relax?
Randy: I’m the typical brother. Whenever I’m not in the studio, I watch TV, play basketball, talk on the phone and try to stay out of trouble. I stay away from the gossip and nonsense.
SayWhatNews: Whose CD you just can’t get enough of?
Randy: I still love Brandi and Monica and on the Gospel side I love Kim Burrnell.
SayWhatNews: What’s in the future for Randy Gill?
Randy: I want to continue to sing and write, not just for myself but for others as well. I don’t ever want to stop writing.
Randy Gill Myspace