His free spirited energy exudes warmth and joy through a familiar voice, as we begin an exclusive phone interview with the headliner of the WE ARE ALL ONE CONCERT, the great reggae legend himself, Mr. Maxi Priest. Urban Islanders are among many who love and support reggae artists such as Maxi Priest and his music. The British reggae singer has a unique sound unlike any other that touches, moves, and inspires waves of people globally. His creativity speaks volumes through a beautiful infusion of reggae lover’s rock and rnb. Exceptional hits such as “Wild World” and “Crazy Love” were popular by demand for decades, and still is today. Maxi Priest offers the world the gift of music in which fans can relate to and forever cherish amongst each other. The humble artist was delighted to take time out of his hectic schedule to share his latest news with us in addition to some of his life experiences, both personal and musical.
TWID: What are you currently working on in regards to your music? What can your fans look forward to?
MAXI PRIEST: At the moment I got a single out called ‘Easy To Love’, as its been titled, ‘Easy To Love’, no matter girl, boy, son, child, daughter, relationship-’Easy To Love,’meaning no stress. We are now in the process of finishing an album, Shaggy and I did some stuff on it, there is a duet on it with Beres Hammond, Donovan Jermaine. That’s basically what we’re on at the moment and other than that we’re touring and doing what we regularly and normally do, which is tour and perform music to the world. We’re looking to drop the album probably the first quarter of next year, we should have another single out by the end of the year, pretty soon.
TWID: Who is your favorite artist? Which artist would you like to work with?
MAXI PRIEST: There’s so many, my favorite artist goes from way back when- Marvin Gaye, to the great R. Kelly, to Miguel, so many people. I’d like to do something with Miguel, that’d be off the hook. Neyo, my thing is broad, Kanye West, we can go across the board.
TWID: Who and what inspires you and your music?
MAXI PRIEST: Everything inspires me; good, bad, ugly, indifference. Everything inspires me because everything is life, everything is the world, and everything is everything. A mother and her child, a child just crying inspires me. It inspires me in so many different ways. I learn, I live to see and I live to learn and understand, that in itself inspires me. Some of the great artists of all time- Dennis Brown, Bob Marley, Marvin Gaye, all the Motown, all the Studio One. Theres so many artists today that inspire me, from Madonna to Kanye West, to Miguel to Rolling Stones, everything. Life in general, Jamaica, America, England, the world- inspires me in so many different ways. I keep my eyes and my ears open and when you got an ability to sing, then you are really like a vessel, and the blessing of God has allowed me to be able to eat inspiration and send it out through my vocals.
TWID: Your identity experience is somewhat similar to diaspora of Pacific Islanders in the U.S. How did music play a role in finding your identity as a born Jamaican being raised in England?
MAXI PRIEST: Music played a massive role, both inspirationally and culturally. Growing up in England, when I was a kid back in the day, we had a lot of racial discrimination. We went through a lot of it. We were always told to go home, go back to your own country, things like that. We were always told that we don’t belong here, and the vibration of the music made us realize that we come from somewhere, we are somebody, we have a foundation, we have a root, and that makes you strong, it makes you understand where you’re coming from, it makes you understand where you should be heading, or your responsibility in this world, in this time. It’s not what the world can offer you it’s what you can offer the world. But sometimes you can feel weak, if you don’t understand where you are from or feel like you have a foundation. The music delivered a cultural message to us, Rastafari, both religiously and also culturally. It made us realize that we are somebody, we stand from something. It gave us a sense of belonging. Everyday you get up and somebody is telling you go back to your own country, go home, but your born here, but in saying that, still, you alway knew. My parents had 9 of us, 4 of us were born in England, so we always knew, yes we come from somewhere. At the same time, it gave you a backbone and substance
TWID: How do you feel about the Pacific Island People and the love they have for your music?
MAXI PRIEST: I admire many reggae artists and groups such as House of Shem. I’m inspired by Pacific Island people because they have always loved reggae music, they have supported reggae music. We kind of have the same kind of upbringing, we’ve gone through the same challenges of life, and I think that through the reggae music we found a unique bond. Having the opportunity to go to Hawaii and Fiji and meet so many different other groups, have been a fantastic inspiration to us. Those people have inspired me in so many different kind of ways. I want to say to the Pacific Island People thank you very much for your support over the years not only for my music but for reggae music on a whole. Without you there is no us, we need this continued support so that we can keep this thing rollin on the high that it deserves.
TWID: What is your most memorable performance?
MAXI PRIEST: My most memorable performances have been so many. My first performance was in a place called Nottingham, England. I remember the very first time I went to Japan and stood up there on stage and performed for so many thousands of people. My performances at reggae Sunsplash in Jamaica, in Montego Bay, on stage with Dennis Brown, Gregory Issacs, and the list goes on, I got so many memorable performances. Each one of them I appreciate very much so from the bottom of my heart. I appreciate each time and each moment, even when sometimes the show didn’t turn out so well, but there was folks there and we appreciated that because 1 or 2 was better than 0.
TWID: What do you enjoy doing during your spare time? Are there any particular hobbies you have?
MAXI PRIEST: I play soccer, I try to find as much time as I can for family, friends, I have bonafide friends I’ve had from when I was 5 years old. I’m a groundsman, when I say a groundsman I mean I’m grounded; I like to stay in contact with my peeps, with my peoples, I like to stay grounded. I have a massive family of 9 brothers and sisters, they will keep my ass grounded whether I like it or not, ‘Aye Max you ain’t no superstar in here, keep this thing in check’, they would soon let me know, but at the same time they appreciate what I do and they support what I do. I give thanks and praise for them 24/7 because if it wasn’t for them, then you know my name would not be echoed.
TWID: What does success mean to you?
MAXI PRIEST: Success for me is an achievement of my peoples, so that we can move to the next level, so that we can change a lot of life’s situations- as in the more we progress, the better for our offspring, for the younger generation as they come up. When we have people like Oprah, Obama, and Nelson Mandela, that are successful it lifts up a lot of the oppression that a lot of our folks who might not be as privileged or as wealthy, to have hope for change. And I don’t mean physical change, I mean mental change. So that is one of the most important things for me is that we achieve and find a massive success so that whatever success that we achieve, it can trickle down to others.
Well said from an honorable figure whom we can look to not only for musical influence but an advocate for change as well. We appreciate you Maxi Priest for your light and voice that you share with the world. It’s What. He. Do.
*Be sure to watch Maxi Priest perform live at the WE ARE ALL ONE concert hosted by Joyce Productions on October 13, 2013 at the Hollywood Park Casino, Inglewood, CA. For more information on the show, you can call (414) 745-5780.
Article Written By: Sina Uipi
YouTube Video Provided By: ellamdv
Image Provided By: Maxi Priest Management