John Royce Mathis was born on September 30, 1935 in Gilmer, Texas and was raised in San Francisco, California. Encouraged by his father, a pre-teen Johnny Mathis learned to play the piano and was taking voice lessons in his early teens.
In High School, Johnny was not only well known for his singing abilities, he also became a star athlete on their [[track and field]] team, as a high jumper and hurdler and on the basketball team - earning four athletic letters.
Urged by his manager, Helen Noga, Columbia Records signed Johnny to a contract and placed him in the hands of A&R director Mitch Miller, who in late 1956 recorded “Wonderful, Wonderful,” Johnny’s first hit single that began a phenomenal career. It was followed by his top five hit, “It’s Not For Me To Say” and chart topper “Chances Are.” In that one year, 1957, Johnny Mathis had four top ten singles, ending with “The Twelfth of Never.”
During that first year Johnny’s stardom was guaranteed after appearing on CBS’s top rated Ed Sullivan television show. Rock n’ roll was sweeping the nation but the velvet voice of Johnny Mathis balanced the musical scale.
Fueled by more hit singles, “No Love, But Your Love,” “Wild Is The Wind,” “Come To Me,” “Teacher, Teacher,” “A Certain Smile,” “Call Me,” “Someone,” “Small World,” “Misty,” “Gina,” “What Will My Mary Say,” “Too Much, Too Little, Too Late,” Johnny’s album sales would near 200 million records worldwide as he moved from traditional pop to jazz, R&B, Broadway, blues, country and even disco. After peaking at #1, “Johnny’s Greatest Hits” remained on the best seller charts for ten years.
He has received 3 Grammy awards and six nominations and in 2006 received the prestigious “Ella” award from the Society of Singers. Johnny continues to perform between 50 to 60 dates each year. He has performed for more heads of state than any other performer, with 6 performances at the White House and two command performances for the British Royal Family; the Japanese Prime Minister, and numerous other presidents, royalty and prime ministers. In 2007 Johnny Mathis was inducted into the Hit Parade Hall of Fame.