Jon Gibson (Christian musician)
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|Born||January 3, 1964|
San Francisco, California, United States
|Genres||Contemporary Christian, blue-eyed soul, rhythm and blues|
|Instruments||guitar, drums, keyboards|
|Associated acts||MC Hammer, Stevie Wonder, Bill Wolfer|
Jon Robert Gibson (born January 3, 1964) is an American singer, songwriter and musician. Originally a blue-eyed soul singer, he switched to contemporary Christian music in the late-1980s. Gibson scored a number of hit singles, including "Jesus Loves Ya" (which spent a then-record 11 weeks at No. 1 on the CCM charts in 1991), "Love Come Down" (1990) and "Friend in You" (1988).
Gibson's Jesus Loves Ya was ranked No. 90 on CCM Magazine's The 100 Greatest Albums in Christian Music, while the title track charted at No. 52 on the Top 100 Christian AC in 1991. According to Frontline Records and Gibson's websites, he has at least 22 CCM hit songs and 9 No. 1 songs.
Born in San Francisco, Gibson grew up in San Jose, California, returning to San Francisco as a teenager. He joined the United States Army at age 18 (serving in Germany in the 3rd Infantry Division) and discovered a knack for songwriting.
Upon returning home to pursue a music career with his local band in the early 1980s, Gibson found his father had become a Christian. Gibson accepted Christ and, after attending church as a result of his dad's pestering, was baptized by his father in the bathtub.
After Gibson got out of the army at age 20, he signed with Dick Griffey's Constellation Records (SOLAR) as a rhythm and blues artist. His debut as a singer and songwriter came as a guest vocalist and songwriter on several songs for The Jacksons' keyboardist, Bill Wolfer's project entitled "Wolf" (on the Constellation label). The album included Michael Jackson singing background vocals on the Gibson/Wolfer collaboration "So Shy". Griffey circulated Gibson's demo tape, with people believing they were listening to Stevie Wonder (who Gibson sang "Ebony and Ivory" with while on tour in 1983).
Gibson released his debut album Standing on the One (1983) with Constellation and produced the 1983 single "She Told Me So" via Elektra Records (including a music video that premiered on MTV). Gibson, however, being torn between his desire for pop stardom and his need to give testimony to his faith, entered the Christian music industry when he signed with Frontline Records in 1986.
Gibson's second album On the Run (1986) was well received, rendering his first No. 1 single in Contemporary Christian music on Christian radio, entitled "God Loves a Broken Heart". It became the first of a string of over 20 Top Ten CCM Hits. Gibson also experienced success with the No. 1 single "Friend in You", a ballad which is one of CCM's classic hit songs, from Change of Heart. On this album, he did a cover of "Yah Mo B There", a song originally performed by James Ingram and Michael McDonald, and co-written by Rod Temperton and Quincy Jones.
Although his first rap solo was 1986's "Ain't It Pretty" from the album On the Run, Gibson wrote and produced the first rap hit in CCM history (by anyone) called "The Wall" featuring M.C. Hammer (it was originally within the lyrics of this song that Stanley Kirk Burrell - or "K.B." - first identified himself as M.C. Hammer and Gibson as "J.G."). Prior to this time, he was a part of Hammer's gospel rap group Holy Ghost Boys, with songs having been produced before being released on their respective albums. For instance, Hammer would later release a song called "Son of the King" on his debut album Feel My Power (1986) and Gibson released "The Wall" on his Change of Heart album (1988). Burrell, along with Tramaine Hawkins, previously performed with Gibson's band doing several concerts in various halls such as the Beverly Theatre in Beverly Hills.
Gibson was reunited with Stevie Wonder on the 1989 album Body & Soul, with Wonder playing harmonica on a remake of his own song called "Have a Talk with God" (from 1976's Songs in the Key of Life). Wonder's 1991 soundtrack album Jungle Fever would go on to have Gibson singing backup in return (such as on the track "I Go Sailing"), even touring together.
Gene Andrusco, Rick Zunigar and Rob Watson assisted on the album Jesus Loves Ya (1990), which had two hit singles—the title track and the song "Love Come Down". But there were several elements that frustrated the relationship between Gibson and Frontline Records. The main issue was the fact that through the years Gibson was receiving little if no payment for his recordings. "My contract was over when I completed the album Forever Friends", Gibson says. In the end, Frontline Records ran into serious financial trouble and Gibson decided to create his own record label, resulting in a nearly three-year hiatus before his next disc, Love Education (peaking at No. 19). Afterward he signed with Ojo Taylor and Gene Eugene of Brainstorm Artists International. Gibson then got married, had children, and took time off from his music again. Upon returning, he searched for a record contract for two years, finally landing with gospel record label B-Rite Music in 1999 for his The Man Inside record, a consciously urban-sounding album made with producer Tommy Sims. It didn't fare as well as previous records, and Gibson again decided to take his career into his own hands, creating his own Imagery Records and releasing his first praise album, Soulful Hymns, in 2002.
In 2009, Gibson recorded his 10th solo album, The Horizons of Knowing, with plans for release in late November or early December 2010. However, the album was never released. On June 7, 2010, Gibson released the single "On a Mission" which was available as a download.
Eventually, the song "I'm on a Mission" was included on his 2012 album The Storyteller (a tribute album to his father Stan Gibson who led Jon to the Christian faith in 1981). A portion of the funding for the album was raised via Kickstarter. It was released on an independent record label by Soul Scan Music and mixed by engineer Dennis Moody.
Musical style and training
Gibson writes, arranges, and produces most of his albums, and plays most of the instruments. Comments Gibson, "I'm not a trained musician. I never took music in school. I dropped out of school in 9th grade. I don't know how to read and write notes. I don't play with any proper technique; I just grab instruments and play them. Everything I learned to play, I figured out myself. So I'm not the best musician, but if you give me time, without people coming around, pressuring me ('We have to finish this record by the GMA') when I don't have these pressures on me, I can do tracks closer to the feeling I really want if I play it myself. It takes me longer, but I get more of the feeling I really want if I play it myself."
Gibson employs an eclectic soul band called The Groove Masters. In 2005, Prince hired Gibson's band for his Golden Globe Award house party, collaborating with Justin Timberlake, Herbie Hancock, Maroon 5 and Matthew McConaughey.
Gibson married Lisa Rea in 1995. They have three children together: Jonathon Thomas Gibson, James Robert Gibson and Jesse Earl Gibson. Gibson became a licensed minister after his youngest son was born on Christmas day in 2004.
Gibson leads worship services across the nation and performs for multi-genre, mainstream audiences/celebrities worldwide. He's also a music minister at a California church and a music director of CSN Radio (KAWZ). Additionally, Gibson is the Program Director and Network Manager of Effect Radio, a network of Christian music radio stations across the U.S.
He is working on his 11th solo album to be released in 2018.
- 1983: Standing on the One (12-inch vinyl debut)
- 1986: On the Run – No. 1: "God Loves a Broken Heart" (album re-released in 1990)
- 1988: Change of Heart – No. 1: "Friend in You", "The Wall" (featuring MC Hammer)
- 1989: Body & Soul – Top Ten Hits: "Father Father", "In the Name of the Lord", "Everyone Needs the Lord"
- 1990: Jesus Loves Ya – No. 1: "Jesus Loves Ya" & "Love Come Down"
- 1991: The Hits with "Jesus Loves Ya (Blackwell Remix)" & "Everybody Sing a Christmas Song"
- 1992: Forever Friends – 5 Top Ten Hits with 4 No. 1s: "Happy to Know Jesus" (featuring MC Peace), "Can't Live Without Jesus", "You Are the One", "Forever Friends", "Found a Home"
- 1994: Songs of Encouragement and Healing (a collection album)
- 1995: Love Education – 3 Top Ten Hits (with title track)
- 1999: The Man Inside – No. 20 on Billboard's Top Gospel Albums
- 2002: Soulful Hymns (soul versions of traditional hymns) with "Awesome God" 
- 2009: Spirit of Christmas Northern Light Orchestra (Christmas music)
- 2010: The Horizons of Knowing (unreleased album)
- 2012: The Storyteller (urban contemporary record) with "I'm on a Mission"
- 2017: Live in '85 (bootleg concert album) with "Ain't It Pretty"
Additional credits and collaborations
- "Lost Inside of You" (1988) features Crystal Lewis from Change of Heart
- Body & Soul (1989) peaked at No. 23 on July 29, 1989 (25 weeks on chart)
- "Enough is Enough" (1990) features MC Peace (aka Peace 586) from Jesus Loves Ya
- "Jesus Loves Ya" (1991) was a top selling contemporary Christian music single for 11 weeks
- "You Are the One" (1992) features MC Peace and "Happier Than the Morning Sun" (1972) was written by Stevie Wonder from Forever Friends
- Forever Friends (1992) was voted Album of the Year by CCM Magazine and peaked at No. 3 on August 8, 1992 (37 weeks on chart)
- Love Education (1995) peaked at No. 19 on April 15, 1995 (5 weeks on chart)
- "As the Sun Rises" (2000) by Soup the Chemist features Gibson and samples "Dust in the Wind" by Kansas from Dust
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