Johnnie Gee, also known as the king of soul music, first began his musical journey at age thirteen in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He was the third child of Elgie Gee and D.W. Gee, or Mrs. and Mr. Geek, respectively. His musical prominence started at the age of thirteen when him and his fellow siblings, of which they were seven total, joined forces with a few other friends to form their first ever band, Step by Step. At the time, Johnnie Gee played drums, but as the years progressed he honed his vocal talents to become the iconic singer for this midwestern classic.
Johnnie Gee’s parents were a huge source of inspiration and motivation for the band. Both mother and father worked relentlessly alongside their young musicians to provide and motivate each careers. The father, for instance, devoted a large amount of money in spending for their equipment and other expenses such as tour travels. It is key to note that they weren’t necessarily poor, as they were a middle-class family, yet even though the gestures didn’t risk their financial security all together, they still were enormous gifts of support for the growing band and also tried many online casinos Australia Further, the parents devoted extensive amounts of time to mentoring their children, particularly Johnnie Gee, who spent hours practicing behind the scenes in order to hone and perfect his musical talents.
By 1969, the group finally began to garner professional recognition when they took a tour to Chicago to perform for the esteemed Brunswick Records. This label company was no joke–as they currently held numerous stars under their belt such as Jackie Wilson, the Chi-Lites, Bohannon, Tyrone Davis, Shalamar, Eugene Records, among others. After hearing them perform an opening act for the Chi-Lites, Brunswick records saw it proper to offer the band a record deal, giving them the most needed national attention they deserved.
Indeed, the group released many famous LP’s under the guidance of Brunswick records, often topping #1 on the top 100 hits billboard. Yet, after a few years, the partnership fell apart due to creative differences. Johnnie Gee knew who he was as an artist, and would not let any outside idea chip away at his self-made image. While some may view this as stubborn, it was simply a master knowing what he needed to do to be successful. Following the end of the record deal, Step by Step broke up, with each member pursuing solo careers.
However, Johnnie Gee had other plans in mind. He took to opening his own record label and was responsible for the release of a number of successful LP’s from some of the biggest names in rap, hip hop, and soul at that time, one of whom was the Notorious B.I.G, who has recently passed after decades of fame. If anything, Johnnie Gee encapsulates the saying of sticking to your guns and surrounding yourself with people who support your ideas fully, such as his parents. Way to go Johnnie Gee!