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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 lover-man contemporaries.

Maxwell was born May 23, 1973, in Brooklyn, NY; 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 urban 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: songwriter Leon Ware (who'd co-written much of the material on Marvin Gaye's I Want You album in 1976), guitarist Wah Wah Watson (who'd also worked with Gaye), and multi-instrumentalist Stuart Matthewman (a longtime cohort of Sade). 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 Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite 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 1998, it entered the charts at number three. Reviews were more mixed this time around, with some critics charging that Maxwell's ambition had crossed the line into 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 magazine. Later that year, he also cut two songs for the soundtrack of The Best Man.

In August 2001, Maxwell returned with his third full-length album, Now, which was touted as a return to the more straightforwardly romantic atmosphere of his debut. It entered the album charts 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 the 2008 BET Awards. A handful of intimate performances prefaced his fourth studio album, BLACKsummers'night (the first installment in a promised trilogy of albums), released in July 2009. "Pretty Wings," its lead single, was in the Top 20 of the R&B/Hip-Hop chart within three weeks of its May release. ~ Steve Huey, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

Crazy sometimes,ba d a** song
You miss me whip that.body hunny
billie328
I could listen to him all day long, one of my favorite singers, sexy too
Beautiful song
Never gets old.....Maxw e l l is that Urban Vibe.
undreat
Love Maxwell's music.... it's HOT!
boost1234.bm
Love your voice, so smooth and strong
I've listened to this song so many times. Love Maxwell
One of my favorite song by Maxwell Fortunate <3
Yesss Woman's Work indeed...
Hi
alcraw5
So smooth...
I've been so in love with Maxwell for years!!!...< 3
Absolutely anutha favorite song by a terrific musician.... .
Keep it going goood music thank you
Not the same i hurt you too badly there no more love there and feel it from you
boost1234.bm
Maxwell can song good
Love me some MAXWELL
This particular song make u want to be held and caressed by the one who loves u and the one u are in love with. Hmmmm
Love Maxwell!!! He's timeless! And sexy of course...
I AM VERY FORTUNATE TO HAVE MAXWELL IN MY LIFE
!!







I love all of Maxwell's songs...He has an Amazing voice :-)
fusia622013
I love this artist and this song.
Love this song is so romantic.
Love making music
boost1234.bm
U so srxy to me!!! L love your amazing voice!!!
U so sexy to me !!!! I love your amazing voice !!!!
Maxwell has a unique voice!
My Man...Good Music
Love both versions of this song, and love the movie. Takes me back to when I had my mini me.....
Maxwell ,You Did This Song Justice
I love his songs
Wonderful.
feleciadavis 4
Wow.... I love this man.
boost1234.bm
Fantusy real wish you would apper lot but not
ginal3425
Feeling of my life....Maxw e l l what it do
ginal3425
Fantasy real wish you would appear...lol but not
The man
Man he the shittttttt
Omfg...in my feelings lol
He's performance is better for this song pretty wings . Completely agree on that
I love Fistful of Tears...but the way he performs Pretty wings is better
I agree with reelsilky. Pretty Wings was the best!
Pretty Wings is the best song of the century
Pretty wings .... Love it
what a journey
Pretty Wings....say no more
I love this man
I love his music
Feeling so emotional and well Maxwell u are beautiful
Can't the media call it what it is?! SOUL!!
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