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MAXI PRIEST BIOGRAPHY

Page history last edited by Ella 11 years, 3 months ago

 

  back to MAXI PRIEST 

 

 

 

 

 

   FROM CARPENTER TO REGGAE STAR
 
the story so far

 

 

 

 

  Maxi Priest, real name Max Elliott, was born in Lewisham - London on June 10th 1961.

  Watch this video of Maxi, talking about his childhood here

  Maxi Priest's musical career started, when working as a carpenter, he was asked to build

  speaker boxes for the prominent Saxon Studio International sound system.

  Maxi talks about it here

 

 

  It didn't take long before people discovered he could sing as well and soon he started

  singing and deejaying in live dancehall sessions with Saxon Sound System.

  Listen to a recording from Saxon studio from 1983 here

  You can also find some old pics from the eighties there.

  Watch a small video fragment from those days here

 

   His first release was "Hey Little Girl" from 1981.

  With the earnings of that release, he and Paul Robinson (One Blood) produced "Mi God Mi King" in 1984, the first UK reggae tune

  to reach number 1 in Jamaica.

  Read  more about it here

  Later on it was turned into a 6 track 12" featuring:

  • Sensi - MAXI PRIEST
  • Mi God Mi King - PAPA LEVI
  • Dub Version
  • Love in the Ghetto - MAXI PRIEST
  • Mi Deh Ina Mi Yard - PAPA LEVI
  • Dub Version

  Read more about it here

 

 

 

  In 1984 Maxi released his first solo single "Throw Me Corn" and second single "Should I".

  Both singles were very successful in the reggae charts, "Should I" even reached no.1

  in Jamaica and around that time Maxi signed with Virgin Records.

  You can find both songs on his debut album "You're Safe", which was released in 1985.

 

  The album was produced by Paul Robinson.

  Listen to a live recording from 1985 here

 

  And some more old pics from the late eighties.

 

 

  In 1986 Maxi was nominated best male reggae artist.

 

  And in the same year he recorded his next album "Intentions".

  It featured more successes in the British charts, like "Strollin' On", "Let Me Know" and "Crazy Love", written by Van Morrison.

 

 

  Click the pics to watch a few very old videos from the eighties Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket

 

 

 

  His international breakthrough came in 1987 with the album "Maxi", produced by Willie Londo,

  Sly Dunbar & Robbie Shakespeare.

  "Some Guys Have All The Luck" and a cover of Cat Stevens' "Wild World" brought him

  worldwide recognition.

  Also on this album was "How Can We Ease The Pain", a duet with Beres Hammond.

 

 

  Then in 1990, Maxi's 4th album "Bonafide" was released.

 

   The single "Close To You" reached the no.1 position in the American Billboard's Singles Charts.

 

 

  Listen to some remixes of the song here

  The album was a huge success worldwide and reached gold status.

  It was also the first Maxi album I bought and it ultimately led to this website. :)

 

 

  The following year Maxi collaborated with Shabba Ranks on "Housecall"

  and Roberta Flack on "Set The Night To Music".

  Both singles reached the top 10 in the US charts.

  Listen to some "Housecall" remixes here

  Read the story behind the song here

 

  "Fe Real" from 1992 was the next album.

  Unfortunately it was not as successful as the previous album, but I liked it a lot.

  The single "One More Chance" is one of my most favorite Maxi songs.

  Listen to remixes of the song here

  It features Shaggy in 2 of them.

  More singles from this album are "Groovin' In The Midnight" and "Just Wanna Know".

  Carla Marshall features on "Careless Whispers".

 

 

   It took Maxi 4 years to come up with his next album "Man With The Fun" (1996).

  The album had collaborations with Shaggy, Beres Hammond, Buju Banton and Chaka Demus & Pliers.

  It includes the hit single "That Girl", featuring Shaggy and it was nominated

  for a Grammy Award.

 

 

   A live album was released in 1999 by Strange Fruit Records.

  It was a performance at the Brixton Academy in London, December 1987, recorded by BBC music.

  The album was also released a few years earlier, in 1996 by the BBC.

 

 

   In 1999, Maxi also came with a new album "Combination".

  On it were collaborations with Beenie Man, Elisha La'Verne, General Degree,

  Glamma Kid and Red Rat.

  Singles from this album were "Mary's Got A Baby", "We Tomorrow's People"

  and "Back Together Again", featuring his son Ryan, doing the Rap part.

  There is also Stevie Wonder's "Golden Lady", which is one of my favorite

  songs on this album.

  Maxi's personal favorite is "God Watches Over Us".

  Watch it here

 

 

   After 6 long years Maxi finally came back with "2 The Max" (2005), for me it is his best album so far.

  It features the singles "Believe In Love" and Stings beautiful "Fields".

  And there is a cover of his "Wild World" hit, featuring Wycleff.

  Personally I prefer the first one, from the "Maxi" album.

 

 

  In 2005 he won the prize for Best Reggae Act at the 2005 Urban Music Awards in London.

 

 

  Maxi's latest album is "Refused", released in 2007.

  It's a special limited edition and contains songs, that were not used on his previous

  albums for some reason.

  It has collaborations with Freddie Mc Gregor and Ritchie Stevens and a talented new

  singer called Sonna Rele on "Sugar 4 UR Love".

  The hit single "My Girl Dis" is also on this album.

  And there is the song "Childhood", sung by 2 of Maxi's sons, Marvin and Ryan.

  It comes in a book with lots of (private) pics and Maxi tells the story behind the songs.

  It's a must-have for the real Maxi fan.

 

 

  In between there have been released several "Best Of" albums.

  A very special one was the "Greatest Hits And Rarities" album from 2004, which

  contained several previous unreleased songs, like "Diggin' On You",

  "Never Had A Love So Good", a cover from Foreigner's "Waiting For A Girl Like You"

  and Bread's "Everything I Own".

 

 

   At the moment, Maxi is working on a new album, which should be released

  some time this year

 

   For more details about Maxi's career, check here

 

 

 
 
 

 

 

  Maxi has been touring extensively all over the world.

  He has been invited to numerous reggae festivals.

  He has just finished touring with UB40, doing shows in the UK, Holland,

  Australia and New Zealand.

  Watch an impression here

 

 

  He has collaborated with many artists like Richie Stevens, Freddie Mc Gregor,

  Shabba Ranks, Jazzie B., Roberta Flack, Beres Hammond .

  He teamed up with Shaggy several times.

  There is Bob Marley's "Waiting In Vain", a collaboration with Lee Ritenour.

  Maxi featured on albums from artists like Dennis Brown, Michael Rose, Apache Indian,

  Yuji Oda, Sly & Robbie, Paul Taylor and many more.

 

 

  He performed at "Freedom Beat: Artists Against Apartheid" (1987),

  "Frontline Music Festival", a UNICEF benefit concert in Zimbabwe (1989),

  the "Earth Voice Concert" In Japan (1992) and the "World Peace Music Awards" in Bali in 2003.

  He contributed on Jamaica United's "Rise Up", recorded to support the Jamaican

  soccer team in the World Cup (1998)

  You can read about it here

  And he also participated in the "Don't Trigger Campaine" in 2005 and 2007.

  You can find info about it here

  Maxi also appeared on the "Regatta Mondatta" in 1997, a reggae tribute to the Police

  and on Lee Ritenour's homage to Bob Marley, "A Twist Of Marley: A Tribute" from 2001.

  In 2003 Maxi joined the legendary Funk Brothers on their Motown tour.

  Read the info here

 

  You can find all his albums here

   For more info click the pics.

  I have listed all the singles here

 

 

   He is featured on the following soundtracks:

  • Knights & Emeralds (1986) - "Strollin' On" and "Bubble We Ah Go Bubble"
  • Slaves of New York (1989)- "Some Guys Have All the Luck"
  • Sleeping with the Enemy (1991) "Close To You"
  • Bebe's Kids (1992) - "It Takes 2 To Party" (& Little Shawn)
  • Scam (1993)- "Groovin' in The Midnight", "One More Chance" and "Whatever You Want" (with Lisa Fisher)
  • Electra & More Crimes (1995) - "Exodus"
  • Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997) - "The Tide Is High"
  • Odoru Daisosasen (1997) - "Love Somebody"
  • How Stella Got Her Groove Back (1998) - "The Art Of Seduction"
  • Jungle 2 Jungle (1997) - "It Starts In The Heart"
  • Como Uma Onda (2004) - "Fields Of Gold"

  You can hear all the above songs on my site, check the song section for it.

  (you will have to log in first, to be able to hear them though)

 

  He even acted in:

  • Oh Babylon (1989) (One highlight of the movie is that the role of the traditional Greek chorus, which comments on the action in the play, is here enacted by reggae performer Maxi Priest and his band. ~ Clarke Fountain, All Movie Guide) 

    There were 3 songs in this drama, sung by Maxi. Exodus, Nowhere Land and Oh Babylon

    You can listen to them here (you will have to log in first, to be able to hear it)

  • In Living Color (1992) Musical Guest (watch it here)
  • Scam (1993) Cab Driver (watch it here)
  • Maxi and Shaggy showed up in 2 episodes of Baywatch, singing "That Girl" and "Oh Carolina" (1996)

       (watch it here)

 

  He appears on the following videos and DVD's:

  • Maxi - music videos - "Should I", "Strollin' On", "Crazy Love", "Some Guys Have All The Luck", "How Can We Ease The Pain", "Wild World", "Goodbye To Love Again" (1987)
  • Freedom Beat: Artists Against Apartheid - "Strollin' On" (1987)
  • Frontline Music Festival - UNICEF benefit concert live in Zimbabwe (1989)
  • Japan Tour (1991 & 1992)
  • The Reggae Movie - Wild World (1995)
  • Reggae Rockers - Sunsplash '90 - "Wild World" DVD (2000)
  • Beres Hammond: Music Is Life - Live From New York - "Wild World", "Housecall", "Just A Little Bit Longer", "God Watches Over Us" DVD (2001)
  • Cool Summer Hits - music video - "Some Guys Have All The Luck" DVD (2002)
  • Reggae And Ska Hits - Greatest Reggae - music video - "Close To You" DVD (2002)
  • Reggae Bashment!! - DVD (2004)
  • King Of Kings: Unite The People DVD (2006)
  • Reggae Heroes Volume 2 - "Housecall" DVD (2007)
  • Jamaican Soul - Reggae Sunsplash DVD (2008)
  • Unite The People - DVD (2008)

 

 

 
 
 

 

 

 

 

   " A contributor to People magazine described Maxi Priest as "A polished pop

   singer flirting with a Jamaican accent."

   Rolling Stone considered him the "Luther Vandross of reggae."

   On the music scene since 1985, Priest has been a difficult artist for critics

   and fans to describe.

   Perhaps it is his constant collaborating with an eclectic group of musicians,

   who have ranged from Roberta Flack to Jamaican heavyweight Shabba Ranks.

   It may be the music itself, which accomplishes a crossover of reggae and mainstream

   pop, with rare success.

   It could be the variety of artists he's covered in his recordings; Van Morrison, the Police,

   and Cat Stevens are but a few.

   The ambiguity may, however, begin with the musician himself.

   Though his birthplace is in Europe, he found major success in America.

  All this by making West Indies-flavored music."  Source

 

 

   " I wanted to be known as an artist and not just a singer, because otherwise are you

   telling me that I can't sing gospel or R&B anymore?

   And I can only sing roots and culture, that I only have to sing lovers rock?

   I grew up with all kinds of music, from the Beatles to Bob Marley, Marvin Gaye,

   Phil Collins and even Jim Reeves, as well as a wide variety of reggae artists.

   It wasn't only Burning Spears playing in my house.

   It was also artists like Delroy Wilson, Leroy Sibbles, John Holt and Ken Boothe... You name them.

   Also, so many of them like Dennis Brown had hits across the board and that's

   what I've always aspired too."

  (taken from the "Refused" book)

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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