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Maxwell

Along with fellow founders D'Angelo and Erykah Badu, Maxwell was enormously important in defining and shaping the neo-soul movement that rose to prominence over the latter half of the '90s. Drawing his greatest inspiration from the concept of the R&B auteur (looking to artists like Prince, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, etc.), Maxwell recorded some of the most ambitious R&B of his time, becoming wildly popular and often earning critical raves in the process. What was more, his recurring theme of romantic monogamy set him apart from the vast majority of his bump'n'grind loverman contemporaries.

Maxwell was born May 23, 1973, in Brooklyn, New York; he adopted his middle name as his stage moniker, keeping his real identity a closely guarded secret out of concern for his family's privacy. Born of Puerto Rican and black Caribbean stock, Maxwell suffered the loss of his father (in a plane crash) when he was just three years old. The experience made him a deeply religious child, and he first began singing in his Baptist church. Still, he didn't really get serious about music until age 17, when he began writing his own songs using a cheap Casio keyboard given to him by a friend. Initially influenced by early-'80s R&B, he progressed rapidly, and by 1991 he was performing on the New York club scene, despite ridicule from classmates who couldn't imagine the shy, awkward teenager doing anything of the sort. After making a name for himself, he signed a recording contract with Columbia in 1994.

Maxwell recorded his debut album, Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite, that year, working extensively with several collaborators, including songwriter Leon Ware (who'd co-written Marvin Gaye's I Want You) and guitarist Wah Wah Watson (who'd also worked with Gaye). Multi-instrumentalists and producers Stuart Matthewman (of Sade and Sweetback) and Hod David were involved on deeper levels and would work with Maxwell throughout his career. Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite was a romantic concept album in the vein of Gaye's greatest '70s work, with a more modern flavor courtesy of Prince's influence; inspired by a brief but intense affair, the record's giddy celebration of committed monogamy could have come off as old-fashioned as its classic influences, given the marketplace dominance of hip-hop soul at the time. Partly for those fears, it wasn't released right away, although a series of shake-ups in Columbia's management played a bigger role in the delay. It wasn't until the spring of 1996 that the album finally appeared. Sales were slow to take off at first, even though Maxwell scored some airplay with "...Til the Cops Come Knockin'." The gold-selling second single "Ascension (Never Wonder)" lit the fuse, however, and Urban Hang Suite went platinum before a year had passed, also earning a Grammy nomination.

Now elevated to sex-symbol status, Maxwell capitalized on his breakthrough with the MTV Unplugged EP, taken from his live MTV performance. It attracted attention and acclaim outside the R&B community with the left-field cover choices "This Woman's Work" (by art rocker Kate Bush) and "Closer" (the Nine Inch Nails hit). Additionally, the Unplugged version of "Whenever, Wherever, Whatever" earned him another Grammy nomination (for Best Male Pop Vocal). Anticipation for his second full-length album was high, and when Embrya was released in June 1998, it entered the Billboard 200 at number three. Reviews were more mixed this time around, with some critics charging that Maxwell's ambition had crossed the line into self-indulgence. Still, the record duplicated its predecessor's platinum sales. In 1999, Maxwell scored his biggest hit to date with the single "Fortunate," an R. Kelly composition he recorded for the soundtrack of the film Life. It was a mammoth success, ranking as the number one R&B hit of the year in Billboard. Later that year, he also cut two songs for the soundtrack of The Best Man.

In August 2001, Maxwell returned with his third album, Now, which was touted as a return to the more straightforward romantic atmosphere of his debut. It entered the Billboard 200 at number one and quickly launched a hit single in "Lifetime." Maxwell didn't resurface until 2008, when he performed Al Green's "Simply Beautiful" as part of that year's BET Awards. A handful of intimate gigs, and another BET Awards performance, prefaced his fourth studio album, BLACKsummers'night, released in July 2009. "Pretty Wings," its lead single, topped the R&B/Hip-Hop chart and was, for the era, a rare soul-rooted Top 40 pop hit. At the 2010 Grammy Awards the following January, "Pretty Wings" won in the category of Best Male R&B Vocal Performance. BLACKsummers'night also won Best R&B Album. Though the similarly titled blackSUMMERS'night was planned for release as early as 2011, Maxwell took his time. The album wasn't issued until July 2016, just a few days after he took part in a BET Awards tribute to Prince, and featured much of the same studio personnel, along with contributions from Robert Glasper. ~ Steve Huey & Andy Kellman
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: BLACKsummers'night

1. Bad Habits

2. Cold

3. Pretty Wings

4. Help Somebody

5. Stop The World

6. Love You

7. Fistful Of Tears

8. Playing Possum

9. Phoenix Rise

x

Track List: Now

1. Get To Know Ya

2. Lifetime

3. W/As My Girl

4. Changed

5. NoOne

6. For Lovers Only

7. Temporary Nite

8. Silently

9. Symptom Unknown

10. This Woman's Work

11. Now/At The Party

x

Track List: Embrya

1. Everwanting: To Want You To Want

2. I'm You: You Are Me And We Are You (Pt. Me And You)

4. Drowndeep: Hula

5. Matrimony: Maybe You

6. Arroz Con Pollo

7. Know These Things: Shouldn't You

8. Submerge: Til We Become The Sun

9. Gravity: Pushing To Pull

10. Each Hour Each Second Each Minute Each Day: Of My Life

11. Embrya

x

Track List: Unplugged (Live)

1. Suite Urban Theme (Live)

2. Sumthin (Live)

3. The Lady Suite (Live)

4. This Woman's Work (Live)

5. Whenever, Wherever, Whatever (Live)

6. Ascension (Don't Ever Wonder) (Live)

7. Gotta Get Closer (Live)

x

Track List: Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite

1. The Urban Theme

2. Welcome

3. Sumthin' Sumthin'

4. Ascension (Don't Ever Wonder)

5. Dancewitme

6. ...Til The Cops Come Knockin'

7. Whenever Wherever Whatever

9. Reunion

10. Suitelady (The Proposal Jam)

11. The Suite Theme

x

Track List: 1990x (Single)

1. 1990X

x

Track List: Lake By The Ocean (Single)

1. Lake By The Ocean

Comments

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Love Maxwell and his amazing voice. Listening to him makes everything better.
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Maxwell's voice is so aestheticall y pleasing and listening to him live last night at the Mary J Blige Concert, I was blown away by it and his use of his band! ��
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I feel some kind of way when this song comes on. It talks to my soul........ I love it!
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tarrahjones
Literally. By far the most beautiful song from a man to a woman
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janeilrobert s
LOVE LOVE LOVE Maxwell!!! A rare talent!
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Have mercy upon DONALD TRUMP, O God, according to thy lovingkindne s s : according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out his transgressio n s . Wash him throughly from his iniquity, and cleanse him from his sin.
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I acknowledge DONALD TRUMP transgressio n s : and his sin is ever before YOU. AGAINST YOU GOD, YOU ONLY, have DONALD TRUMP sinned, and done evil in your sight: that YOU be justified when YOU speak, and be clear when YOU judgest. LORD REMEMBER DONALD TRUMP was shape in iniquity; and in sin did his mother conceive him. FATHER you desires truth in the inward parts: so I know in the hidden part YOU shall make DONALD TRUMP to know wisdom.
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Purge him with hyssop, and he shall be clean: wash him, and he shall be whiter than snow. Make him to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. Hide Your face from his sins, and blot out all his iniquities. Create in him a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within him. Cast him not away from You presence; and take not Your holy spirit from him. Restore unto him the joy of his salvation; and uphold him with Your free spirit.
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Then will DONALD TRUMP teach transgressor s YOUR ways; and sinners shall be converted unto YOU. Deliver him from bloodguiltin e s s , O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousnes s . O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
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SO Father i pray YOU shall break DONALD TRUMP spirit and give him a contrite heart Oh God i know THEN YOU shall not despise him. Do good in thy good pleasure unto DONALD TRUMP: build up the walls of United States of America. Then shall thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousnes s , Praise, Prayers and Worship upon thine altar. IN Jesus name I PRAY! Amen
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Cg good love music.
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Maxwell is amazing live! His music takes me to my happy place. Thank you for the music!
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This the kind of man I want to marry or him
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Love my self some Maxwell!!!!! ! ! ! ! !
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Never heard him b4..
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adeloach08
Love him. His music puts in a good place
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This song taking me to some good times
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Love me some Maxwell :-)
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i just love him omg
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Love Jones...the stage play, can't wait to see it featuring Raheem Devaughn, Music Soulchild, Chrisette Michelle & Marsha Ambrosius to name a few.....one of my all time favorite movies Love Jones.
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ajordan803
Yes I love this song maxwell is my favorite singer
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bluedayz2010
First date movie. Wedding song! Still brings chills!
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Love the smooth heart life stay strong I feel when I Listen to Maxwell
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When I here this song I think about my daughter father I miss him so much and the love we made when we was good I miss u Marvin Pierre James
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i love him
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Seen him in concert and he destroyed it.
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Max...well! XOXO
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Can't wait to see you in December.... H o u s t o n
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He puts on a hell of a concert.
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Maxwell give a great show,he is so dam cool,and laidback
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I STILL have a huge crush on Maxwell!
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Mad Max yu kill it
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Oooo ! That cello. I can go to sleep now. I love the strings
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Pandora you all making night in Largo Florida. Give me some more maxwell . People True Love is God Almighty, God The Son Jesus The Christ, God The Holy Ghost. Which are One In The Same. Over all rather you believe in him or not. Jesus you have to got through for anything. Try Him I Dare Any one. Come to him true in your heart be you as he made man and woman. LOVE, Peace,Faith, Believe with the hole heart. God Bless... Amen
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Anthony Hamilton is the truth! Don't sleep on this brother true R&B artist!
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lizabdiaz
YOU DON'T HAVE TO FAKE IT!!! THIS IS A BEAUTIFUL SONG NO ONE WILL RELATE TO ONLY ME!!!AND SPECIAL PERSON
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lizabdiaz
YOU PUT MY SMILE UPSIDE DOWN!!!!YOU MADE IT TURN IT TO A FROWN!!! DAM IF ANYONE WAS THERE IT WAS ME!!!OBVIOUS L Y YOU NEVER CARE!!...... . . SO MIND GAMES !!!!........ T E L L S ME ME YOUR STILL THE SAME!!!!.... I WISH YOU HAPPINESS !!!KNOW YOU TURN IT TO CRAPNESS!!..
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This "Man has more sexuality in this "Sooonng ! Then most see in a lifetime.Cal l the ""Damn Cop's.! @@@@@
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I just love the music. So different and refreshing than today's R&B.
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Watched you on Ed Gordon.I am just so in Love with your music and you.��������
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O'YES MR.MAXWELL.
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Close my eyes and just let his music take me away
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dam Maxwell..... t h i s song gets me everytime! Love it........
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No more games just be real
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Soooo excited. Maxwell coming to my town in November(Bal t i m o r e ) . . a n d I shall be at the show..no doubt.
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This woman's work that Maxwell did I must say this song will never get old I Love You Maxwell
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I love you dude!
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Seen this guy in concert and was great! He put on a show and I would go see him again when he comes West!
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channell2216
Yes sweet sounds
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Dedicating this one to my Beautiful Woman she's my World,my Joy I love you!!!
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