Caribbean children's musician Nelson Gill has the kind of uniquely diverse background that so often breeds professional innovation. Born and raised in Central America (first in Belize and later in Guatemala), Gill gained extensive exposure to authentic Caribbean music early in his life. Arriving in the United States at the age of 19, Gill earned an associate's degree in music and a bachelor's degree in Spanish literature. The multi-lingual youngster, who was already fluent in English, Spanish, and Creole, set out to become an interpreter. But after taking a day job at a Chicago-area preschool, Gill began to take a strong interest in education. This prompted him to obtain a third degree, a master's in early childhood education, from Chicago's Erikson Institute. The guitarist began to play music for children and quickly discovered he could captivate young audiences with Caribbean music. His first album, Going Places, was released in 1990. The record was a genre-hopping mix of reggae, calypso, soca, merengue, folk, lullaby, and balladry and it earned immediate acclaim for its entertainment and educational value. Gill's language skills proved just as useful as his musical talents when he recorded many of his songs in Spanish as well as English. One song from Going Places, "Big Farm," became a Top Ten hit back in Belize, attracting attention from adults as well as children. Gill's sophomore effort, Friends (1992), won two Chicago Music Awards, including Best Song for the title track. One World, One Light (1995) was also an award-winner: "Come to Belize" picked up a Director's Choice Award and a Parent's Choice Award, and Gill was named Caribbean Entertainer of the Year. In the early 21st century, Gill began work on his first adult album.
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