THE JON GIBSON STORY (short)
Tough to describe and tougher to classify, Gibson's a white guy who sounds like Stevie Wonder, and a songwriter who seems to effortlessly pour out songs bursting with a mission of justice and ministry and a singer who’s freestyle vocals skills have been compared to Stevie Wonder and Ella Fitzgerald. Jon, who pioneered Christian rap, racked up 22 Top 5 Hits, 9 of which rose to number 1 on the C.C.M. Billboard charts. Jon’s album Forever Friends was voted the 1992 C.C.M. "Album of The Year" and his album Jesus loves Ya was featured in TIME/LIFE's "100 Greatest Albums In Christian Music". His song Jesus Loves Ya still holds the record for the longest playing single at number 1 in Christian Music history. Jon has recorded with artists such as Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Bill Wolfer, M.C. Hammer, John P. Kee and collaborated with great musicians such as Bill Wolfer, Bernard Wright, Greg Philingains, Nathan East, Nate Watts, Joe Satriani, James Jamerson Jr. and the list goes on.
Growing up wasn't easy for the Jon as he bounced back and forth several times between divorced parents from the mean streets of San Francisco to Eastside San Jose. Jon won 1st place at Robert Saunders Elementary for the school talent show when he was just in the 3rd grade siging Michael Jackson's "Ben" over a 45 record. It was a significant sign of where his life could go with the right guidance. But that guidance didn't come and after several run-ins with the law, at just 13 years of age, Jon found himself in and out of the San Francisco Youth Guidance Center later to become a ward of the state and sent to a group home. There was a piano in the group home and Jon would sit and create any chance he could get. Even with no prior instruction, Jon was beginning to show a natural sense of how to create original music. But moving back with his mother in San Francisco meant that he would once again be drawn to the street life. His fate would change however after a beating and stabbing by gang members became just the wake up call he needed to re-think the direction that his choices in life were taking him. Jon joined the ARMY at age 18 were he served in the 3rd Brigade 3rd Infantry Division in Ashaffenburg, Germany. But Jon had suffered severe reactions from a dose of the bad mandatory vaccines that the ARMY was administering in 1979 for troops assigned for over seas duty and he was honorably discharged from service early.
He returned to the US to live with his mother and stepfather once again in San Francisco. But that would prove to be short lived as he ended up in a brawl with his step father over some inappropriate behavior. Jon's father Stan Gibson showed up very upset that he was never informed that his son Jon had returned home from the ARMY and that Jon should come and live with him. Jon agreed and moved with his father and step-mother Geraldine, who had both become born-again Christians. Stan Gibson, who was a minister at Saint Paul Missionary Baptist Church in San Jose under Rev. J.D. Houston, knew that Jon would need some significant healing from choices he and Jon's mother had made in the past so Stan and Geraldine began to counsel Jon. It would prove to be a year-long struggle for Jon's soul, especially when Jon's obvious musical talents at the time were beginning to attract the attention of the local Bay Area music scene. But over time Jon began to believe that his father's transformation had to be either a miracle or at least an act of God. Jon became a born-again Christian soon after this revelation and was baptized by his Father and step-mother and for the first time in Jon's life, he had found peace with a purpose and a sense of direction and better than that, a new best friend, his father.
Jon's father encouraged him to go after his dream and Jon, a young soul singer, began frequenting local Bay Area night clubs such as The Casa Blanca in San Jose, The Second Movement in Oakland and the legendary Ivery's club in Jack London Square where his 1st big break come. He was first discovered at Ivery's by Oakland Raider Henry Lawrence and W.E.A. (Warner/Electra/Asylum) Rep. Alan Carol. But Jon, who had been through much drama as far as managers and promoters already, threw away Alan Carol's card thinking that he was just another hustler out to get 'em. But it was a musician that Jon had met at The Second Movement nightclub that would take Jon under his wing and become his musical mentor, a locally respected multi-instrumentalist and singer/drummer named Cubby (Leslie) Ingram. Jon asked to sit in with the band that Cubby was drumming and singing for and when asked what he wanted to sing, "Superstition" by Stevie Wonder, the entire band laughed. But Cubby, who had a few laughs himself, convinced the band to give Jon a break and when Jon began to sing, the laughter turned to joy. Cubby led Jon to Columbia recording artist Clifford Coulter (a gifted instrumentalist and former guitarist for Bill Withers) who produced Jon's 1st professional demo and sent it out to many companies. After several 6 months went by with no response, Jon became frustrated and went to Tower Records on Columbus St. in San Francisco to ask a manager where he could find some music industry people. The manger took a liking to Jon and sent him to the W.E.A. office where walked into the C.E.O.'s office Robert Krasnow, after the secretary said that he couldn't and introduced himself. Krasnow said to Jon, "Look son, I'm sure you've got as much talent as you say you do but I'm the C.E.O. of Warner/Electra/Asylum and I don't deal directly with artist but there is a guy down the hall named Alan Carol that you can talk to and he may be able to help you. Jon came back with his best friend Ramiz later and knocked on Alan Carol's door and It didn't even register that Alan Carol was the same guy he met at Ivery's, who's card he had tore up and threw away six months earlier. Alan, who was on the phone at the time said "come in". When Alan turned around in his seat, he could not believe what he was seeing. He said "It's you! Where have you been?!" Then he looked at Jon's friend Ramiz and said, "Are you his friend, good, don't let him leave, I have a call to make." Jon sat down as Alan made a call to Dick Griffy the C.E.O. of Solar Records. Alan said, "Dick, remeber that white kid that I told you I had found that sounded like Stevie Wonder? Well, he just walked into my office out-of-no-where!". Jon was soon signed to Dick Griffey's new Constellation label. Constellation was a subsidiary to Griffy's mighty SOLAR label known in the music industry as "Motown's second coming". with artist like Jodie Wately, The Whispers, Shalamar and Baby Face. Jon's debut as a singer/songwriter came as a guest vocalist and songwriter on 3 songs for The Jackson's keyboardist, Bill Wolfer's solo project entitled "Wolf" on the Constellation label. The album was a Smooth Jazz hit. The album included a host of great musicians, including Michael Jackson who sang background vocals for Jon's Wolfer collaboration "So Shy". SOLAR or "Sound of Los Angeles Records" was Jon's 1st label and home to Artists like Shalamar, Lakeside, Midnight Star and Baby Face. Jon's 1st appearnce was as a guest vocalist and co-writer on Bill Wolfer's debut album. The album featured both Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder.
Wolfer returned the favor the next year by producing Gibson's debut album, Standing on the One. It was a fine debut, showing that Gibson was more than just a Wonder-clone, and that he had songwriting skills to go with that great voice. The album was released in 1983 along with and MTV 2 World premier video single "She Told Me So".
During the recording sessions of Standing On The One, Jon met his musical idol, Stevie Wonder who dropped by the studio to meet Jon. Jon says good night to Steve Wonder after Stevie visits Jon at Allen Zentz Studios during the making of Jon's first solo project "Standing On The One"
During this time, Christian labels were courting and Jon soon became torn between his desire for pop stardom and the need to give testimony to his faith, so he signed with the Frontline Christian label for On the Run, a partial re-release of Standing with a few new cuts, including the #1 smash hit "God Loves A Broken Heart." Four more Frontline albums would follow along with a string of hits that seemingly wouldn’t stop; Change of Heart (featuring M.C. Hammer), Body & Soul (featuring Stevie Wonder), Jesus Loves Ya and Forever Friends.Known as the FRONTLINE 5: ON THE RUN featuring Joe Satriani on guitar, CHANGE OF HEART featuring M.C. Hammer, BODY & SOUL featuring Stevie Wonder, JESUS LOVES YA and FOREVER FRIENDS. These 5 albums rendered 22 Top 5 Hits, 9 of which rose to #1 on the C.C.M. Billboard charts. Jon’s album Forever Friends was voted the 1992 C.C.M "Album of The Year" and his album Jesus loves Ya was featured in TIME/LIFE's "100 Greatest Albums In Christian Music". His song Jesus Loves Ya still holds the record for the longest playing single at no.1 in Christian Music history.
Jon Gibson at Wonderland Studios for a very private, late evening sponto get-together with Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder celebrating Ray's 60th Birthday and for winning his Life Time Acheivement Award pictured center.)
In in 1995 Jon got married and had a son named Jonathon, launching his own label called New Soul Records under the Brainstorm/Word umbrella to release the album Love Education. Although the album rendered only one top 5 hit, Love Education is considered by many to be his best and most eclectic work to date. But Jon wanted more exposure so he moved to Nashville to seek a new record deal which he found with the Gospo-centric label's newest off-shoot B-Rite Music/Interscope/Geffen/A&M. After the birth of Jon's second son James Gibson, Jon released his 8th solo album entitled The Man Inside. But the label would lose the backing from interscope/Universal to promote the record and it was basically shelved.
Jon moved on as an indie producing and releasing Soulful Hymns in 2001.
After Jon's youngest son Jesse Earl Gibson was born on Christmas day in 2004, Jon became a licensed minister and began leading worship locally and touring churches and conferences and performing on Christian based television shows across the country and in Europe helping T.B.N. to launch their studio in Milan Italy. The artist Prince asked Jon to be the house band for his private Golden Globes after party, performing with Herbie Hancock, Justin Timberlake and Maroon 5. Pictured here from left to right, Ruth Alzarte (Princes personal assistant), Justin Timberlake, Jon Gibson and Jon's wife Lisa Gibson. Lisa, formerly a well known event promoter in Hollywood was already acquainted with many of the celebrities who attended.
In 2012, Jon released independently, a tribute album to his father Stan Gibson who led Jon to the Christian faith in 1981. Stan, a minister and bible teacher, helped Jon with his studies of the scriptures for many years after. The Album contains songs recorded with content and styles of music that were a shared enthusiasm between Jon and his father. Throughout his career, Jon Gibson has straddled many musical styles and confounded those who tried to label him, creating consistent, original music. While this lack of categorization has limited the promotion of his career, was pop or urban radio really ready to play a blue-eyed soul singer who sang about his faith? None-the-less, it has gained for him a sizable and fiercely loyal following along with a catalog of really wonderful music. Whether new or old, Jon's music is timeless and a relevant treasure to all who stumble upon it. If you haven't heard Jon's music then you are truly missing out on one of music's most talented and timeless artists.
Jon is currently the Program Director and Network Manager of the Effect Radio Network, of over 50 cutting edge Christian music radio stations across the U.S. He is working on his 11th solo album to be released in early 2018.
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STAR IT ALL AGAIN - JON'S 1st SOLO ALBUM 1983