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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: 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: Bad Habits (Uncut) (Radio Single)

1. Bad Habits

x

Track List: Lake By The Ocean (Single)

1. Lake By The Ocean

Comments

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I just love the music. So different and refreshing than today's R&B.
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Let's say it now.....
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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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Just reminiscing on How it feels to be loved
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ruthiej1979
Who's in charge of lyrics at Pandora headquarters ? ?
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davistearra
I love this song a lot
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Love Maxwell kick a little sumthin sumthin
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lpelb
I love him, I love his voice and I adore this song!!! His rendition is perfect.
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Dont ever wonder is something special dat matter ok Skinner Winner
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This is for u handsome!
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Smooth as Silk..
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He has a great voice!!!!!��
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Maxwell I LOVE YOU....FOREV E R ! !
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Maxwell voice is SOULFUL!
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threella7
Maxwell, your music is transcendent a l , comforting like "it'll be alright, baby", and most soulful; in the pocket‼️ Stay beautiful, and true to yourself! God's Love & Blessings abound‼️����
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Sexy
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I'll be he fire babe.
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M
Ma
Max
Maxw
Maxwe
Maxwel
Maxwell

I
L
Lo
Lov
Love
Y
Yo
You
Report as inappropriate
nettaree83
Maxwell
Maxwell
Maxwell
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pkimberly912
I old I don't no about Facebook. Thanks
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nettaree83
Mwxe ll
Mwxe ll
Mwex ll
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kylasmith121 5
Don't read this because it actually works.You will be kissed on the nearest Friday by the love of your life.Tomorro w will be the best day of your life.However if you don't post this you will be injured(but you won't die)in two days.Now you started reading this so don't stop.post this on a least 5 songs in the next 143 minutes.When you're done press f6 and your lovers name will be in big letters.This is so scary because it actually works
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nettaree83
Maxwell
Maxwell
Maxwell
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I like this song This is the s**t
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Such a beautiful soul. You feel every one of his songs...down to the bone. I'm getting blackSUMMERS ' night....tod a y !
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Love is music cool and smooth!!!
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Such a very Beautiful song as well as lyrics, I'm really Celebrating the 20TH Anniversary of the release of The Urban Hang Suit...Maxwe l l still does put out Beautiful & Uplifting music!
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I had the opportunity to see him live in concert last weekend and I must say it was an amazing concert! You gotta love Maxwell and his amazing voice.
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~This Woman's Work~ by Maxwell really speaks to your soul. I love his version of this song.
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Beautiful!
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Blessed the day...
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I remember listening to Maxwell as a little girl and now I have all of his albums. I absolutely his music, his voice is so soothing.
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I listen to this every day..I hold this song dear to me only if I had someone to share it with.
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All lady should. Injoy by the ocean
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I love this song!!
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Had the opportunity to see him Live at the Coney Island Beach Amphitheatre . . WOW. WOW/!! I just knew there is a reason I so love this man. NEVER WONDER ABOUT IT.. HE's magnigicent! ! !
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Smooth, and mellow. Brother is truly talented. Baby making music here.
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This man takes me to another world!
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Smooth as hell. Just grab your mate, a glass of wine, candles and just let Maxwell take you to romance. Lifetime is my favorite by him.
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It's been 20 Years since the release of Urban Hang Suite and this Man continues to give us so much more with his Beautiful Lyrics...Son g s and Words! Much continued success to You on the latest release of blackSummerN i g h t
Show more

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