In the world of music, quietness comes from the loss of one of Nashville’s musicians, Tony Gino Speight, affectionately called, ‘Gino.’ Speight departed this life suddenly in the early hours of March 19.
Tony Gino Speight was born September 16, 1961 in Kinston, North Carolina to Francis Harris and Douglas Lee Speight, who preceded him in death. It was there at a very young age he developed a love for music. In his hometown, he was called, ‘Tony.’ Tony received many awards and honors for his skills as a saxophonist and choral performances.
Following his graduating from Kinston High School in 1979, he received a scholarship to study music at Norfolk State University in 1980. There he met and later married his wife of 35 years, Beatrice Davis.
In 1981 Gino gave his life to Christ and later served as minister of music at Mt. Zion Christian Church in Durham, N.C., with Rev. Donal Q. Fozard. Throughout his lifetime, he served as the minister of music for many churches following his move to Nashville, Tennessee.
During his earlier years in music, Gino travelled with many professional artists, such as Candy Staton, Daniel Winans, BeBe & CeCe Winans, Kim Carnes, Moses Dillard, Gerald Alston, The Drifters, Bobby Brown Productions, The Barkays and The S.O.S. Band.
In 1996, Gino formulated his own band, Gino Speight & Tight Noise. The band performed at casinos, corporate events, wedding receptions, festivals, and private events. It was an international show band and toured the United States, Europe and South Korea.
From 2002-08, Gino was the music and vocal instructor for students attending Kids On Stage. This summer workshop, held in Leiper’s Fork, Tenn. led to the founding of Gino’s Vocal Workshop. Both workshop activities consisted of weeks of instruction to students under 18 years old. They learned a plethora of vocal styles and music education that would culminate into a public performance at the end of the season.
Gino continued to cultivate his gift as a singer and songwriter as he produced a CD entitled Tunes in G. This CD is a compilation of songs that were written as an expression of the music that Gino performed and his creativity in song writing.
Gino later incorporated his children into the band, where they developed a love for music as profound vocalists.
The band, Gino Speight & Tight Noise, had a fantastic blend in sound. As performers, the band’s front line became a spectacular show to not only hear, but to watch. In an effort to revive the energy and the sound of the S.O.S. Band, Bruno Speight, original member and Gino created a second unit of the S.O.S. Band in 2012. This collaborative effort recaptured the band’s former sound while creating a dynamic edge to all of their famous hits like: ‘Tell Me If You Still Care,’ ‘The Finest,’ ‘Just Be Good To Me,’ ‘Just The Way You Like It,’ ‘Weekend Girl,’ ‘Take Your Time’ and many others.
Gino was a veteran producer, songwriter, singer, keyboard player, and bandleader. He had an extraordinary gift that allowed him to hear the melodies, the timing and all elements of music to create a mix of songs with a unique presentation. Gino’s shows were high-energy and packed with special nuances often including birthday tributes that would always make the audience feel special.
Gino Speight continued to perfect his craft as an extraordinary performer as a lead singer, keyboardist and creator of a spectacular presentation. Whether it was Gino and Tight Noise or the S.O.S. Band featuring Bruno & Gino Speight, the performance was always an original unforgettable experience.
All of his life, Gino remained a devout Christian, continuously speaking “what the word says” about any and all situations. Although he will not be creating new music himself, the legacy of music still lives in his children as they were taught to keep pressing forward with the gift of song that God provided for them.
Gino’s celebration of life was held at Oasis Church in April. At that celebration, “Lord, I’m Gonna See Your Face,” was highlighted as this song was written, produced and recorded by Gino as a solo project in the late 80s. Gino’s friends and band associates spoke in tribute to his life and the service ended with one of his favorite songs that he sang at every performance, (public and private) “Thank You For Being a Friend,” written by Andrew Gold.
Gino will be missed greatly as he leaves those to cherish his memories, including: devoted and loving wife, Beatrice Speight, affectionately called, ‘Queen’; loving sons, Tony Gino Speight II and Michael Gino Speight; loving daughters, Tabitha Whitney and Tiffany Lolita; his mother, Francis Thompson Speight Harris; sister Lolita Denise Speight, William (Patrice) M. Harris, brother, Willie (Cynthia) Chapman, brother; Troy L. Davis, beloved brother in law; nephews Dorian Davis and Brandon Harris; nieces, Shanice Harris, Sidney Harris and Karina Chapman; and a host of relatives and friends.