Maxi Priest humbled

Maxi Priest humbled

BY KEVIN JACKSON
Observer writer

Thursday, November 26, 2020

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British reggae singer Maxi Priest is beaming with pride that his most recent solo project, It All Comes Back to Love (S-Curve Records/BMG), earned a nod for Best Reggae Album in the 63rd Grammy Awards.

The nominations were announced on Tuesday.

Maxi Priest competes with the likes of Skip Marley ( Higher Place), Buju Banton ( Upside Down 2020), The Wailers ( One World) and Toots and the Maytals ( Got to Be Tough).

“Honestly, I am humbled and it really feels good! I am so happy for all of us, my children, everyone who have supported and have been a part of the Maxi Priest journey over the years,” Priest told the Jamaica Observer shortly after the nominations were revealed on Tuesday.

“It's not my first nomination but I feel so special and blessed. Blessed to be able to do what I love to do! A big massive thank you to my entire family, my manager Toby Ludwig and the 21st Century family comprising Theresa Smith and Jovan Ristic, Mr Boombastic Shaggy and crew at The Ranch, Shane Hoosong, Dwayne Shippy, Charles Wakeman and Grant Valentine, Steve Greenberg, Angela Barkan at S-Curve Records and the entire BMG family,” he continued.

Priest also acknowledged producer Livingstone Brown, songwriters Randy Class and Amira Venecia de Moya, his social media team and his publicist as well as his backing band and the artistes who worked on the project.

In 1994, Priest earned his first Best Reggae Album Grammy nomination for Fe Real. Three years later, Man with the Fun also earned a nomination.

It All Comes Back to Love is Maxi Priest's first solo album of new material since 2014's Easy to Love. The album peaked at number two on the Billboard Reggae Albums chart in October 2019. It features collaborations with Shaggy, Bounty Killer and Che Sav, Noah Powa, Inner Circle, and rhythm and blues singers Estelle and Anthony Hamilton.

Maxi Priest spoke about the work that went into the making of the album.

“With the blessings of the Most High we worked hard with the inspiration, motivation and dedication from all those involved. The need to achieve not just for myself but for us all, especially coming from the struggles that we have come from in life, to open doors and help build a bigger platform to inspire and motivate generations to come. This is all part and parcel of the work that you have to put in because it doesn't stop here,” he said.

Maxi Priest said the album gave him the opportunity to grow and evolve as an artiste.

“This album have given me the opportunity to continue to grow and evolve with my art which I have been blessed with. Every new song, every new project, every new album is another step forward because I learn from each experience and every day I learn to appreciate more and more the support that has been given to my career by the people, by the fans. That is not to be taken for granted! It's a two-way street. I use my art to give and they give back to me with their appreciation of the work and we both grow. Thank you to everyone that has supported me throughout the years, especially the fans, as there is no Maxi Priest and Band without your support! As far as the impact on the people, well the truth is in the pudding. We've made an impact and I'm truly thankful. Give thanks because It All Come Back to Love with a United State of Mind,” he said.

Maxi Priest recently collaborated with Livingstone Brown and Robin Trower on the joint album United State of Mind. Released on October 9 via Manhaton Records, the nine-track set peaked at 12 on Billboard's Blues Albums chart.

Born Max Elliott in London, Maxi Priest's parents had moved to England from Jamaica to provide more opportunity for their family and he grew up listening to gospel, reggae, R&B, and pop music. He first learned to sing in church, encouraged by his mother, who was a Pentecostal missionary. He was later inspired by the music of Dennis Brown, John Holt and Ken Boothe, among others.

His musical career began with him singing on the South London reggae sound system Saxon Studio International, after which some independent single releases followed. His first major album, Maxi (titled Maxi Priest in the US and Canada), was released in 1988, and, along with his cover of Cat Stevens's Wild World, established him as one of the top British reggae singers.

He is one of only two British reggae acts (along with UB40) to have scored a number one single on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. He did so in 1990 with Close to You. His other Billboard Hot 100 hits include Set the Night to Music (featuring Roberta Flack), That Girl (featuring Shaggy), Housecall (with Shabba Ranks), Just a Little Bit Longer and Groovin in the Midnight.

His albums, which have charted on the Billboard 200 albums charts, include Bonafide, Best of Me and Fe Real.


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