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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, 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: songwriter Leon Ware (who'd co-written 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 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 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 straightforwardly 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 performances 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, yet it wasn't followed up until seven years later with the similarly titled blackSUMMERS'night. ~ Steve Huey
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

2. Get To Know Ya

3. Lifetime

5. Changed

6. Noone

7. For Lovers Only

8. Temporary Nite

9. Silently

10. Symptom Unknown

11. This Woman's Work

12. 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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I like Fortunate was the hit for me I still love this song
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Pretty wings my fav✈����
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Love this song (bad habits)����
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Love me some maxwell
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1deltadiva
I love your music Maxwell!
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It's Beautiful to ME, I Am IN LOVE With His Music!!!!
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Love his music! So soothing and sensual
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His music has me all the way laid back East St Louis Illinois
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Love Maxwell's music.....it puts me in a mellow relaxed mood...its simply amazing!!!
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Memphis Tn in the house wit it do
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Give me Strength!!!! !
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nettaree83
Maxwell
Maxwell
Maxewil
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OHHHHMYGOODN E S S S S S ! ! ! ! ! LOVE IT!
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lgriffin393
Mr. Maxwell voice is a blessing to me at the time in 1995 my husband had pass away. My youngest sister gave me his CD and when I was feeling bad I would play the CD. My husband was all the words that Maxwell been singing so Thank you Mr. Maxwell.
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nettaree83
Maxwell
Maxwell
Maxwell
Maxwell
Maxwell
Maxwell
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Do, a little. (??)**
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Maxwell, 4 ever!!! One of the All time Best performers and singers out today!! Nobody does it like Maxwell!!!!
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Maxwell,. brings a nightclub atmosphere into a very personal and intimate moment that it is a must have to be with a woman while listening to this brother. A different kind of Marvin Gaye.
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cherylblind
Maxwell...al w a y s
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yasss
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Hes just amazing when it comes to emotions and females
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Wow!!! What a powerful song...from the very first time I heard this on my car radio I thought who in the world is singing such a tender and heart wrenching song? It made me feel so many different emotions and think about so many things in my past all at the same time. I just had to buy it. I saw it used as a dance performance piece on So You Think You Can Dance and cried watching the dance interpretati o n created to such a lovely song. Great job Maxwell, you have got some pipes on you.
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One of my all time favorites songs from Maxwell classic, Fortunate!!! a n d when he starts to whisper at the end of the song Wowwww!!! Unbelievable ! ! ! Nobody else but Maxwell!!!
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Don't read this because it actually works. You will be kissed on the nearest Friday by the love of your life. However if you don't post this you will be injured(but won't die) in two days now you started reading this so don't stop. Post this on at least five other songs in the next 143 minutes when your done press f6 and your lovers name will appear on the screen with big letter this is so scary because it actually works
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That brutha can sang!!! He is soooo smoove and classy just how a real man is supposed to be. If I could sang and I said sang not sing but sang that's how I want to sound. Sang it Maxwell!!!
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My favorite singer so smooth,genta l soft ,sexxxxy voice. Come back to us Maxwell.! ! !
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This sounds so soothing makes me think of things i like to do to ken or he do to me in the bedroom! Ooh i think im going to swoon! Is it hot in herre or what?
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Maxwell is forever an ICON
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I remember when this song first came out, and it's still one of my favorites made by him.
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Love me some Maxwell!!! He's amazing in concert..=)
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Ll
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pricechiro
It was one of the best concerts in Houston I have ever gone too.....he rocks!
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maria0411.mm
NiCe
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vaisolapau
#smoothvoice
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Do me til I'm done!!!! That's what I'm talking bout Maxwell
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tatannya
DON'T READ THIS. YOU WILL BE KISSED ON THE NEAREST POSSIBLE FRIDAY BY THE LOVE OF YOUR LIFE. NOW YOUVE STARTED READING THIS DON'T STOP THIS IS SO FREAKY. But if you read this and ignore it then you will have very bad luck.PUT THIS ON 15 SONGS IN 143 MINS. WHEN YOU ARE DONE PRESS THE SPACEBR AND YOUR CRUSHES NAME WILL APPEAR IN BIG LETTERS ON THE SCREEN THIS IS SO FREAKY IT ACTUALLY WORKS
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Very nice having a relaxing day with MY HERSEY KISSES (HUSBAND) LAYING IN OUR HAMMOCK ����������
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he sweet very relaxing
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maria0411.mm
NC
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I changed, my feelings changed. I told u already. Those not with me, against me.
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For relaxation. The Suie Theme
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Smooth and sultry
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whitecottont 7
Strong
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lizabdiaz
THIS IS A BEAUTIFUL SONG♡♡♡♡
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♥️ this song ����It puts me right in my feelings ���� This track is ������
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I loss a love one when this came out . He and I adored this song ....Miss you like crazy Kenneth RNP!!! ������
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sizzzla2
Hard to believe this album (Embrya) wasn't well received. It's my favorite album of his so far. The music is bass heavy & just right!
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R Kelly wrote this, but I couldn't imagine him singing this. When he got Maxwell, he did something then. Love, love, love this song and video. I want to marry Maxwell "unFortunate " I'm married...LO L !
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Love me some maxwell
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This man voice is like SILK
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