Entertainment

The word is love from Maxi Priest

By Howard Campbell
Observer senior writer

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

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The records show that it has been five years since Maxi Priest's last album. Next month, he returns to the fold with It All Comes Back to Love, a 14-song set to be released by BMG Records.

I'm Alright, a horn-driven ska number, is the album's lead single. It features Shaggy, who produced ItAll Comes Back to Love for his Ranch Entertainment company.

Priest and Shaggy have known each other since the 1990s when the emerging toaster was his opening act. They previously teamed up on songs like That Girl and Believe in Love.

The 58-year-old Priest was one of reggae's biggest acts of that decade, courtesy of the classic Bonafide album, and mega duets such as Housecall with Shabba Ranks and Set The Night to Music, which was done with Roberta Flack.

He admits a return to the Billboard charts would be nice, but said, “I'm not sitting and waiting for another hit song.”

Priest admits, “There is that pressure (to get a hit), but music is what I do, and I feel fortunate to be still doing it.”

It All Comes Backto Love is arguably the biggest project to date for Ranch Entertainment, which Shaggy launched in 2013. The set also hears London-born Priest working with Bounty Killer, fellow British singer Estelle, Noah Powa, Inner Circle and his son.

I'm Alright is similar to some of Maxi Priest's songs during the early 1980s, when he started his career on British sound systems like Saxon International. Breakout singles, including In the Springtime and Should I, were heavy on horns and released at the height of the lover's rock craze.

Though his hit singles from the 1990s are considered pop, Priest insists he never sold out, nor is I'm Alright a return to his roots.

“It's not about going back, it's about maintaining your roots. My roots are always with me, for without your roots, you are weak,” he said.

Most of Max Elliott's (his real name) roots are in Ballard's Valley, St Elizabeth. That is where his father, Alfred and Alfred's younger brother Sydney Elliott (singer Jacob Miller's father), are from. Roots singer Fred Locks and the late rapper Heavy D are also relatives.

Though Easy to Love peaked at number two on the Billboard Reggae Albums Chart in the summer of 2014, the VP Records-distributed album was not a big seller. Priest is expecting a change in fortunes with It All ComesBack to Love.

“Things clicked on this album, and when something clicks it's good to follow your instincts,” he said.

The records show that it has been five years since Maxi Priest’s last album. Next month, he returns to the fold with It All Comes Back to Love, a 14-song set to be released by S-Curve Records/BMG.


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