Birthplace: Born: May 23, 1973 in Brooklyn, NY. Raised in New York City.
Awards: NAACP Image Awards 2014 Got nomination for NAACP Image Award category Outstanding Duo, Group or Collaboration for "Fire We Make" , 2011 Got nomination for NAACP Image Award category Outstanding Music Video for "Fistful of Tears"
While the neo-soul crooner was raised in Brooklyn, his mother was from Haiti. He recently attended an emergency meeting organized by former President Bill Clinton to develop ways of helping the impoverished people of Haiti.
Anyone who's heard Sony/Columbia recording artist Maxwell's debut CD,"Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite", would agree that it's everything but an ordinary contemporary r & b album. Unlike much of today's sometimes insipid commercial Soul (which relies heavily on samples for the groove and over-explicit promises of sex for lyrics) Maxwell's creation is arguably different but nevertheless sensuous and funky. Built around his own true-life love story, "Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite" is an album with a concept. Backed with live instrumentation and a sound which is hard to define, but easy to love, Maxwell's the merger, the link between the sounds of the nineties and the finest of the '70's and early '80's. As fresh as it is fadeless.
The album's eleven songs reveal true appreciation and understanding of that era and it's obvious that what we have here is a bona fide artist at work. It wouldn't surprise me one bit if in a few years time, Maxwell will be one of the most celebrated stars on the Soul scene. That is, if he wants to and I'm not so sure he does. As I found out (during a forty-minute phone interview with the man himself , two months before the record was released) words like ordinary and predictable are just as ill-fitting when it comes to describing Maxwell's personality as his music. Introvert, bohemian and shy are just a few of the things that have been said about him in the press. Sure, Maxwell's not the type of guy to flaunt or brag, (in fact, not even his mother knew about his record deal for a long time), but my female intuition was right when it told me that any man daring to share his innermost feelings, desires and pains with the listeners, simply couldn't be afraid to interpret the message and the music, especially not with a freelance R & B journalist from Sweden. Friendly, humble and very fascinating is how I perceived him. So what if he didn't answer the first question completely truthfully.
Maxwell was born and raised in East New York, Brooklyn, a place described as one of the roughest neighborhoods in that area. Even though he's moved and now lives in downtown Manhattan, he speaks fondly of his old home territories and doesn't like the way they are portrayed in the media. -Well, South Bronx, Harlem and Brooklyn are nice places to me, I guess it's all in where you're coming from and how you think about it. I learned and gained a lot from growing up and living in those areas. There's so much joy and love and compassion there. It's not all they say it is. I know there are some things that go on there every day that are unfortunate, as far as violent kinds of things. I believe your surroundings are not you , it's how you think that makes you the person you are. I loved living up there and I would never have changed it. I didn't run out and tried to get into some big, plush place. I moved out and went to a more eclectic version, but it's definitely just about the same thing. I get so much inspiration from the city and all the different kinds of people struggling and trying to survive.
Maxwell's the first to say he's nowhere near the stereotype one might expect coming from that background. He claims to never have had a drink or a puff and depreciates the so called ghetto macho's oversized ego as much as their compulsory degrading view on women. -I really honor women for what they are and for what they represent as people. I honestly believe that they teach (men) a lot just by their ways of living, as far as the emotional sense that they have. And their lack of ego is so intriguing to me! I'm amazed at how a woman can have a child and just know what to do. It's just so instinctive to them. I strive for that..To have as little ego as possible.
Buying his first keyboard at sixteen or seventeen ("an old wack thing"), he became obsessed with music and began working with a basic four track studio set up. To support himself he waitered tables at a restaurant but never actively pursued a career in the music business. As it turned out, a friend who knew a friend at a record company, eventually had Maxwell recording demos in a 24 track studio and soon thereafter, several labels showed interest.