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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

Comments

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Love it .
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I'm so inspired by your passion for your Music,,,You are the Love God
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This can be us but your playing
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Mellowsmooth . . . . . . .
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Nice song
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Each Hour Each Second Each Minute Each Day Of My Life, baby...
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the meaning of SEXY .....Maxwell
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My favorite song ♡
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Love love love
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Huge fan great music love you
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Remembering my JJ who died in 2008 can SMILE when I hear this song thinking of you singing offkey, but from the heart. I still miss you!!
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One of my favorite songs in the world
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The best of neo soul
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music helps me get my day going
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Was My Girl
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Go f**k yourself b**ches anyway.
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I love maxwell
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Love this song
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NICE........ . . . . . . . . . j u s t nice!!
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Love this Artist!
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Waiting for another CD Maxwell. Don't keep a girl waiting too long!
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Music does bring back memories well said...Great song.
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drodman21
Luv the smooth calming sound that this great artist projects. Keep doing it the way you do.
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nanabooismyl i f e 1
I luv me sum maxwell..... t h i s the one!
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Knknm
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Lady Duchess you not suppose to life is to short you don't need no mortal man may, but put your first love in your life than rest will follow
Be blessed my sister
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Dam this song reminds me of my grandma this was her favorite song R. I. P GRANDMA 6/17/15
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beautiful
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Not going to let life past me by
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This song is so beautiful. Fortunate to have you girl
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I love this song....www. t o p - n o t c h f x . c o m they hook-up my website on sum real
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booming how can you not like Maxwell ?
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Yes gotta have some maxwell in the mix. Definitely I remember this one from the love and basketball movie.
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��Since the beginning of Maxwell... I have appreciated this mans lyrics,style and most of all his voice. And to top everything he's exceptionall y handsome!!�� ALWAYS A FAN��
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I don't like this style of music. Get out
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I Luv u Maxwell; please keep the Funk! of your music coming.!
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Tommorow will be the best day of ur life and on the nearest Friday u will be kissed by the love of ur life repost on 5 songs if not u will die in 2 days
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nanabooismyl i f e 1
I used to run to turn this song to the MAX....I was madly in love then:-)
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nanabooismyl i f e 1
All the things we shouldve done but neva did!
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w.chelsawill i a m s 4 0 0
Love Maxwell pretty wings.
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I love his style!!!
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Love this MAN!
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Maxwell is the truth I still love him.....the old Maxwell with the bush & eleven now that he cut his hair
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One of my favorite artists of all time his music speaks to the soul.
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Luv HIM HE relates TO ALL lovers
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fortunate to have Maxwell in our world
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This dude is bad people,yes just like kem is but they have their own flavor yes flavor people
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Sit out side and listen to this while the stars dance
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This artist is wonderous with electric. Momentous of music true genius
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Love YOU Maxwell !!!!!!!!!!!
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