Maxi Priest remembers Dennis Brown
Maxi Priest remembers some sound advice he got from the Crown Prince of Reggae Dennis Emmanuel Brown while he was a teenager.
“I remembered, as a kid, he said, ‘My yute, it’s better when you create your own style.’ And he would always say, ‘Sing fi di girls dem.’ And we would laugh about it,” recalled Maxi Priest.
“When I met Dennis I was a young man around 18 years old. I grew up with people that either went to school or grew up in the same neighbourhood with him, and they knew him as a friend. They admired and treasured him as a young and exciting new artiste, so they would also encourage my singing, and they definitely knew that I was a Dennis Brown fan.
“When I met Dennis, it was in the UK, and the first thing I can remember is his smile. His greetings of openness, he had a spirit of friendship that made you feel welcome. I felt like I knew Dennis forever. And, of course, they told him I could sing,” Maxi Priest disclosed in an interview with the
Jamaica Observer on Wednesday.
Years later, when Maxi Priest was on top of the charts with songs such as Close to You and Just A Little Bit Longer, he performed a cover of Bob Marley’s One Love alongside his idol and deejay Little Lenny on The David Letterman Show.
“When we performed on The David Letterman Show we were doing the Reggae Sunsplash world tour promoting the shows and reggae music. There were many of us on the road, and we were selected to represent. And if I may speak on behalf of the other artistes that were on the road, D Brown has inspired us all and we have a huge respect, appreciation, and love for the legend Dennis Brown,” said Maxi Priest, who recorded a song with Brown.
They collaborated with Shabba Ranks on a remake of Little Willie John’s 1956 hit Fever (made popular by American singer Peggy Lee) in 1991.
“It’s so long ago now to remember exactly how we got it together it would be difficult. I just remember being in a studio in Florida and thinking, ‘Wow, I’m here voicing with Dennis Brown,’ sharing a vibe with the legend, and being truly grateful for the opportunity to learn. Shabba had already done his part on the song separately in another studio, so all of it was just a great vibe and good energy.”
In 2017, Maxi Priest recorded a cover of Brown’s version of The Heptones’ Love Me Always.
The Grammy-nominated Maxi Priest is also known for hits such as a cover of Cat Stevens’ Wild World, Grooving in The Midnight, Say A Prayer for the World, That Girl (with Shaggy), and Crazy Love.
Brown was born on February 1, 1957. He died July 1999 at age 42.