May 23, 1973 |
Brooklyn, New York, United States
|Genres||R&B, Soul, Neo Soul, Quiet Storm, Funk, Jazz|
|Instruments||Vocals, piano, guitar, moog|
|Years active||1991–2002, 2009-present|
Gerald Maxwell Rivera, known as Maxwell is an American singer-songwriter, record producer and multi-instrumentalist. His music spans R&B, funk and soul, but he is best known as one of the exemplars of the subgenre neo-soul movement of the latter 1990s. After a hugely successful debut album Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite, he released Embrya, Now and a live album MTV Unplugged. After an 8-year hiatus, he returned with the platinum-selling BLACKsummers'night, the first of a trilogy. He has received 12 Grammy nominations with two wins.
1973-94: Early life and career beginnings 
Maxwell was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of a Haitian mother and a Puerto Rican father. His mother grew up in a devout Baptist household in Haiti. Maxwell's father died in a plane crash when he was three years old. The experience made him a deeply religious child, and he began singing in his Baptist church; however, he didn't really get serious about music until age 17. He began writing his own songs using a cheap keyboard given to him by a friend. Initially influenced by early-'80s urban R&B, Maxwell progressed rapidly, and by 1991 he was performing on the New York club scene. Maxwell was able to gain access to a 24 track recording studio and started to record songs for a demo tape, which he circulated among his friends. The demo engendered interest, and his official debut concert performance at Manhattan nightclub Nell's drew a crowd. During the next two years, Maxwell wrote and recorded over three hundred songs and played frequently at small venues throughout New York City. Maxwell's performances continued to draw interest and increase the buzz about him, and he was called "the next Prince" by a writer from Vibe magazine who attended one of his shows. After earning a considerable reputation, Maxwell signed a recording contract with Columbia Records in 1994. He adopted his middle name as a moniker out of respect for his family's privacy.
1994-97: Urban Hang Suite and MTV Unplugged 
Maxwell began working with songwriter Leon Ware and noted guitarist Wah Wah Watson to record his debut Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite in the early 1990s. Recording sessions for the album took place during 1994 and 1995 at Electric Lady Studios, RPM, Sorcerer, and Chung King Studios in New York City and CRC Studios in Chicago. When the album was finished Columbia had doubts about its potential and shelved it for a year. The album was finally issued on April 2, 1996.
Heavily inspired by the sound of classic soul music, Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite did not catch on with audiences until the release of its second single, "Ascension (Don't Ever Wonder)," which became a hit. BET's groundbreaking show, In Your Ear would introduce him to more than 58 million homes and Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite would go on to sell over 2,000,000 copies, earning 2X platinum status, and was nominated for a Grammy Award.
On June 15, 1997, Maxwell taped an episode of the MTV concert series MTV Unplugged in New York City, performing his own songs as well as covers of songs by Kate Bush ("This Woman's Work") and Nine Inch Nails ("Closer"). Maxwell clashed with his label about the release of an album of his unplugged session, resulting in the release of an EP instead  containing seven songs.
1998-1999: Embrya and "Fortunate" 
Maxwell's second studio album, Embrya, was released in 1998. The following year, Maxwell released "Fortunate", a single written by R. Kelly and featured on the soundtrack for the 1999 film Life. The single peaked at number one on Billboard magazine's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles and Tracks chart. To date, "Fortunate" is Maxwell's most successful single and was Billboard's number one R&B single of 1999.
2000-2002: Now and "This Woman's Work" 
Now, Maxwell's third album, was released in 2001, becoming his first No. 1 on both the Billboard 200 album chart and Billboard's R&B album chart. It featured the hit singles "Lifetime" and a studio version of "This Woman's Work", the Kate Bush song Maxwell covered during his 1997 MTV Unplugged set.
2002-present: Hiatus and comeback 
After taking several years off, Maxwell released his latest album BLACKsummers'night on July 7, 2009. It debuted at #1 on the Billboard Albums Top 200 chart, his second album to receive that ranking. Maxwell said his reason for leaving the music industry for such a long period was "to just take time off. The music industry has so much competition and there was no rush for me." He performed his hit single "Pretty Wings" at the 2009 BET Awards. An audio clip of the song "Pretty Wings" from BLACK was featured on Maxwell's Myspace page in spring 2008. The full single made its world premier on the Tom Joyner Morning Show on April 28, 2009, after the New School/Old School Remix by Steve "Silk" Hurley. "Pretty Wings" is also sold as a digital download on iTunes. In October 2009 — to coincide with Maxwell's autumn European tour, which included dates in Amsterdam, London and Manchester — "Bad Habits" became the album's first UK single.
Maxwell received six nominations for the 2010 Grammy Awards, winning "Best R&B Album" for BLACKsummers'night and "Best Male R&B Vocal Performance" for "Pretty Wings." "Pretty Wings" was nominated for the "Song of the Year" which was written by Maxwell under his publishing moniker Musze.
The follow-up to BLACKsummers'night and the second installment in a planned trilogy, blackSUMMERS'night, is set to be released late 2012 but the exact date is unknown.
Maxwell's hit song "Pretty Wings" was sung on the memorial tribute to Michael Jackson. He also covered "Lady In My Life" from Jackson's Thriller record at the Grammy Nomination Concert in 2009.
On April 17, 2012, Maxwell announced that he and his 11 piece band will embark on a 6 day tour, MaxwellTwoNight -M2N tour 2012 – two nights in three cities, scheduled for the cities of Los Angeles, CA – Staples Center, (July 20 and July 21); Atlanta, GA – Phillips Arena (July 27 and July 28) and Newark, NJ at the Prudential Center (August 3 and August 4). Maxwell will perform his discography in its entirety. The first day of the tour Maxwell will perform songs from his first album "Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite" and second album "Embrya". The second day of the tour Maxwell will perform from his third and fourth albums "Now" and "BLACKsummer'snight" respectively. Maxwell will be debuting never performed songs from his BLACKsummer'snight trilogy. lt was also announced that proceeds from the M2N tour merchandise will support the "Obama-Biden 2012" re-election campaign. However the tour was canceled due to vocal hemorrhaging.
- Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite (1996)
- MTV Unplugged (1997)
- Embrya (1998)
- Now (2001)
- BLACKsummers'night (2009)
- blackSUMMERS'night (2013)
- Urban Hang Suite Tour (1997)
- Now Tour (2001–02)
- Maxwell 08 Tour (2008)
- BLACKsummers'night Tour (2009)
- MaxwellTwoNight -M2N (2012)
Awards and nominations 
- Alma Awards
- 2009, Best Musical Act (Nominated)
- American Music Awards
- 2009, Favorite Male R&B/Soul Artist (Nominated)
- BET Awards
- Billboard Music Awards
- 1999, R&B Single of the Year: "Fortunate" (Winner)
- Blockbuster Entertainment Awards
- 1999, Favorite Song: "Fortunate" (Nominated)
- Grammy Awards
- 2010, Song of the Year: "Pretty Wings" (Nominated)
- 2010, Best Male Pop Vocal Performance: "Love You" (Nominated)
- 2010, Best Pop Instrumental Performance: "Phoenix Rise" (Nominated)
- 2010, Best R&B Song: "Pretty Wings" (Nominated)
- 2010, Best R&B Album: BLACKsummers'night (Winner)
- 2010, Best Male R&B Vocal Performance: "Pretty Wings" (Winner)
- 2002, Best Male R&B Vocal Performance: "Lifetime" (Nominated)
- 2000, Best Male R&B Vocal Performance: "Fortunate" (Nominated)
- 1999, Best Male R&B Vocal Performance: "Matrimony: Maybe You" (Nominated)
- 1999, Best R&B Album: Embrya (Nominated)
- 1998, Best Male Pop Vocal Performance: "Whenever, Wherever Whatever" (Nominated)
- 1997, Best R&B Album: Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite (Nominated)
- Image Awards
- 2010, Outstanding Male Artist (Winner)
- 2010, Outstanding Song: "Pretty Wings" (Nominated)
- 2010, Outstanding Album: Blacksummersnight (Nominated)
- 2010, Outstanding Music Video: "Pretty Wings" (Nominated)
- 2002, Outstanding Male Artist (Nominated)
- Soul Train Awards
- 2009, Best Male Artist R&B/Soul (Winner)
- 2009, Song of the Year "Pretty Wings" (nominated)
- 2009, Album of the Year BlackSummer's Night (nominated)
- 2009, Record of the Year "Pretty Wings" (nominated)
- 2000, Best R&B/Soul Single Male: "Fortunate" (Winner)
- 2000, Best R&B/Soul Album, Male: Embrya (Nominated)
- 1996, Best R&B/Soul Single Male: "Ascension (Don't Ever Wonder)" (winner)
- 1996, Best R&B/Soul Album, Male: Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite (winner)
- 1996, Best R&B/Soul or Rap New Artist (Winner)
- Granditsky, Maria (4-1996). "A reluctant star on the rise". Retrieved 2009-07-17.
- "Maxwell cancels MaxwellTwoNight tour because of health issues". CBS/Associated Press. Retrieved 17 March 2013.
- Maxwell | Music Videos, News, Photos, Tour Dates, Ringtones, and Lyrics. MTV. Retrieved on 2012-03-02.
- San Miguel, Celia: a woman's worth, page 80. Giant Magazine, September 2009.
- Reid, Shaheem. (2009-09-29) Maxwell Dazzles The Ladies At Madison Square Garden Singer's hometown gig features Common, Chrisette Michele as opening acts. Mtv.com. Retrieved on 2012-03-02.
- On the Cover: MAXWELL – Let Me Love You (Giant Magazine). Thelatestmaxwellnews.com. Retrieved on 2012-03-02.
- Huey, Steve. Maxwell: Biography. Allmusic. Retrieved on 2013-02-06.
- Huey, Steve, "Maxwell". Retrieved on 2013-02-06.
- Adams (1998), pp. 172–173.
- Brennan (2002), pp. 132–133.
- Maxwell Unplugged tv.com
- Maxwell Unplugged CD entertainment.circuitcity.com
- Maxwell Borrows From NIN, Kate Bush mtv.com
- Muziek | Myspace Music. Imeem.com. Retrieved on 2012-03-02.
- Video Maxwell's tribute to Al Green, BET Awards 2008 van That Marcus – Myspace Video. Vids.myspace.com. Retrieved on 2012-03-02.
- Maxwell Shocks, Awes and Delights at BET Awards. Soulbounce.Com. Retrieved on 2012-03-02.
- Maxwell interview by Pete Lewis, 'Blues & Soul' October 2009. Bluesandsoul.com. Retrieved on 2012-03-02.
- 2010 Grammy Award Nominations. Grammy.com/nominees. Accessed December 20, 2009.
- Kennedy, John (January 3, 2011). Maxwell To Release blackSUMMERS'night In 2011 | VIBE. Vibe. Retrieved on 2011-03-15.
-  Retrieved on 2012-04-17.
- Maxwell Cancels Tour Due to Vocal Hemorrhaging | Music News. Rolling Stone (2012-06-23). Retrieved on 2012-08-31.