Maxwell life and biography

Maxwell  picture, image, poster

Maxwell biography

Date of birth : 1973-05-23
Date of death : -
Birthplace : Brooklyn,New York,U.S.
Nationality : American
Category : Arts and Entertainment
Last modified : 2011-10-04
Credited as : Singer, Song-writer, Producer

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With the sly, gurgling funk of "Get To Know Ya," the first single from Now, Maxwell announces his return in sensual, celebratory, terms. As a horn section punches in and out, bobbing and weaving in counterpoint to his heartfelt testimony, Maxwell signifies that for him, sexual attraction involves understanding a woman, not objectifying her. It's this kind of old-fashioned romantic attitude fused with an utterly modern sound that's helped Maxwell stand out in a crowded field of RnB soul men. And it's what makes Now, his third full-length studio album, his most sophisticated and sexiest yet.

Following the platinum successes of 1996's Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite and 1998's Embrya as well as 1997's gold-certified MTV Unplugged EP, Now is bothconceptually simpler while, at the same time, a leap forward in consciousness." Now is about a moment-to-moment energy," says the singer and songwriter, "and that in itself can be a cohesive idea, just as much as a concept record. Where as my first album was definitely about a specific concept--a love affair--this album is more about having experiences and writing about it and not being on some grandiose tip. It ties to the idea of just letting things be, rather than being cautious or contrived."

Maxwell, who almost single-handedly ushered in a new era in contemporary soul when he released Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite in 1996, is not a man to sit still for long, nor to repeat himself. "I named it Now because--where as Urban Hang Suite was the past, Embrya was about the future, about consciousness and the euphoric, surreal, intangible energy in music--this album is about the moment, encompassing both the past and the future at the same time. There's a combination of everything in this record," Maxwell explains.

"It's about randomness and about being really honest, feeling really sexy at one moment and then feeling really stupid and happy and giddy. It's like me saying to a girl, 'sometimes I just want to talk to you.' It's also about being a grown-up and not acting like I'm 21 anymore, because I'm not. There's funk in it, there's slow songs, it's up and down, down and up. There are clear song structures in some tracks,
some not."

The songs on Now cover a wide range of topics. "Lifetime," according to Maxwell, deals with "taking responsibility for yourself, getting through the experience of now, living out your karma and cleaning it up. And getting to a higher realm of living. Sometimes it's easy to just live with what you know. So 'Lifetime' is about growing up and getting over bullshit and honestly looking at what serves you and what doesn't."

That's not to suggest that Maxwell's vision of romance is devoid of carnal fantasy. "Temporary Nite," recalls late 80s-era Prince, with funk and
rock colliding in a steamy fusion, while Maxwell contemplates an affair that might just be an "earthquake in the making" but without substance,
it "won't change a lonely afternoon."

"W/as My Girl" is a lush, dreamy ballad, that invites listeners to melt slowly, flickering like a candle between the realm of desire and bliss. The song features Bruce Bolton, the pedal steel guitarist from Shania Twain's band. "Stuart (Matthewman) has a friend who plays it and when I heard that sound I melted," says Maxwell. "Most country ballads you hear have pedal steel guitar. It's like the way violins feel sad, the pedal steel adds that."

"Changed" recalls the heyday of 60s soul, with its body-jerking groove and gospel-tinged vocals. Maxwell uses the song to examine the actions of another wanting a second chance.

"It's about the push and pull of love," he explains. "We all go through this. We like who doesn't like us. We love the person who won't show love. 'Changed' is about the person coming back into your life and your realization that, and even thought you still feel the feelings, it's about being equal with them, not saving someone."

Now also includes a studio version of Kate Bush's "This Woman's Work," one of Maxwell's most popular live songs, which he also covered on MTV Unplugged.

"I did it as a tribute to this little girl who came to a show in Los Angeles as part of the Make-A-Wish Foundation in the summer of 1999," he explains. "Her wish was to meet me and she passed away six months later from cancer. So I re-recorded the song for her."

Of his work with co-collaborator, writing partner and friend Hod David on Now, Maxwell says, "Hod really gets it and also being so grounded he helped bring so much on Now to earth. I'm grateful to have had him on this record."

Maxwell also credits longtime collaborator/ producer/ co-songwriter/ multi-instrumentalist Stuart Matthewman (Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite, Embrya) with providing great support and more patience than Job during the late night studio sessions.

He attributes inspiration from legendary guitarist Wah Wah Watson, who's played with a vast array of artists including Marvin Gaye, Pharoah Sanders, Herbie Hancock and Barry White.

Maxwell was born in Brooklyn with the traditions of West Indian music inside his home, while on the outside hip-hop and early 80s soul ruled the asphalt. "More than anything I went and found the sounds that I liked," he remembers. "I wasn't necessarily influenced by everything that was around me when I grew up, but having family from four islands in the Caribbean made for a wealth of influences."

Growing up in a rough and tumble neighborhood of East New York, the shy young teenager tended to be a loner, and spent hours in his bedroom composing a growing catalog of songs. "Music filled my time up, and it brought me to a place where I had hope for a better future. I loved growing up there in that element and what it meant."

With his debut, Maxwell changed the RnB game forever. The album was a conceptual whole, devoted to exploring a single love affair, and with his sultry falsetto and elegant musical arrangements, Maxwell added a much-needed dose of old-fashioned romance to RnB at a time when increasingly tacky bump 'n' grind was the order of the day. "At the end of the day," he says, "if it's sensual, it's timeless. Sexuality has a lot of trends and essentially, if you're centered about what you do, and don't worry what your boys think about you, if you're just being what you are, people will gravitate toward that. I'm not always on the mark but all you can do is live and try"

As he found material success, though, Maxwell discovered that something was still missing, and delved more deeply into a spiritual path which had always been part of his life, but by his early 20s, had become an all-consuming passion. The songs on Embrya reflected the heart and mind of an artist in the process of transformation.

With Now, the process is by no means over. But we can hear a clearer, more resolved version of Maxwell: he's integrated meditation, musings and readings, as well his own life experience, into the songwriting process.

Asked where he sees Now fitting in to the arc of his career, Maxwell is typically optimistic. "I think I'm going up. Not just in terms of the charts, but up in terms of consciousness and self-awareness. Not being too serious, and yet being serious. Everything at once. When you live in the moment, it's everything at once, the possibilities of the future, and the past, too. You can really relish things as they happen when you don't worry about what was and what will be. You make it happen by being in the moment."

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