The London born singer has a worldwide following thanks to hits like Close To You, Wild World and Some Guys Have All The Luck, and others shared with Shaggy and Shabba Ranks. He’s taken lovers rock to unprecedented heights and been an outstanding ambassador for reggae music internationally.
Maxi’s renowned for his stage performances, which continue to elicit screams of delight from his army of female fans. Also, he’s never stopped recording new material or having hits. His last album, Easy To Love, released by VP Records in 2014, found him in typically impressive form. The title track and Loving You Is Easy were soon racing up the charts, adding to his three decades of mainstream success in the US and throughout Africa, Europe, Asia and the Caribbean – especially in Japan, where he’s enjoyed extensive radio and television exposure over the years.
Like most quality vocalists, Maxi started out in church. He then rehearsed with local bands before singing alongside MCs like Smiley Culture, Tippa Irie and Papa Levi on Saxon sound-system. That’s where he first made his reputation, from the grassroots up. In 1985 he signed with Virgin Records and gave a crowning performance at the UK Reggae Sunsplash in front of 25,000 enthusiastic fans. His career skyrocketed from there. The bestselling Maxi album, containing several of his best-known hits, was recorded in Jamaica with Sly and Robbie. He then became the first-ever reggae artist to top the US Billboard chart, with Close To You.
It was that record – together with Housecall – that would define Maxi Priest from the nineties onwards. In addition to becoming a superlative singer, he also succeeded in creating his own sound – one that stirs a little R & B and dancehall into the reggae mix, and has proved of lasting appeal to global audiences ever since.
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