(Born in Brooklyn, New York on May 23, 1973) is an American R&B artist who professionally goes by the name Maxwell. He played an important role in the development of the subgenre of neo-soul music.
Born of Puerto Rican and West Indian heritage. Maxwell lost his father in a plane crash when he was just three years old. The experience influenced his strong religious background, and he started singing in his Baptist church. Still, he didn't really become 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. After making a name for himself, he signed a recording contract with Columbia in 1994.
Maxwell began working with songwriter Leon Ware and noted guitarist Wah Wah Watson to record his debut Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite in the early 1990s. When the album was finished, Columbia had doubts about the album's potential, and shelved it for two years, but finally issued it in 1996. Heavily inspired by the sound of classic soul music, Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite did not catch on with audiences until the release of its second single, "Ascension (Don't Ever Wonder)", which became a hit. Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite sold over 500,000 copies, earning gold status, and was nominated for a Grammy Award.
On June 15, 1997, Maxwell taped an episode of the MTV concert series MTV Unplugged in New York City, performing his own songs as well as covers of songs by Kate Bush ("This Woman's Work) and Nine Inch Nails ("Closer"). He clashed with his label about the release of an album of his unplugged session, so only an EP containing seven songs was released for sale. Maxwell's second studio album, Embrya, was released in 1998. The following year, Maxwell released "Fortunate", a single written by R. Kelly and featured on the soundtrack for the 1999 film Life. The single peaked at number one on Billboard magazine's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles and Tracks chart. To date, "Fortunate" is Maxwell's most successful single, and was Billboard's number one R&B single of 1999. Now, Maxwell's third album, was released in 2001, becoming his first No. 1 on both the Billboard 200 album chart and Billboard's R&B album chart. It featured the hit singles "Lifetime" and a studio version of "This Woman's Work"; the Kate Bush song Maxwell covered during his 1997 MTV Unplugged set.
Maxwell appeared on the 2008 BET Awards, where he performed the song "Simply Beautiful" in a tribute to Al Green. At the 2009 BET Awards, he performed "Pretty Wings" from his upcoming 2009 Album, "BLACKsummers' night", released on July 7, 2009
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