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Kevin Max in July 2008
|Birth name||Kevin Max Smith|
|Born||August 17, 1967|
|Origin||Grand Rapids, Michigan, U.S.|
|Genres||Christian rock, active alternative rock|
|Labels||Northern, ForeFront, Motion|
Kevin Max (born August 17, 1967) is an American singer, songwriter, and poet. He is best known for being a member of the Christian pop group DC Talk. As a solo artist following the 2001 dissolution of DC Talk, he has recorded eight full-length studio albums, one Christmas album, and four EPs. From 2012 until 2014, he was the lead singer of the band Audio Adrenaline.
- 1 Biography
- 2 Poetry and writings
- 3 Personal life
- 4 Works
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 External links
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Born Kevin Max Smith, he legally shortened it to "Kevin Max" in 1997, as a tribute to his adoptive father. Kevin was himself adopted by the Smith family and grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan. His adoptive brother was named Derek. Kevin showed incredible vocal and musical talent early in his life. Renowned for his unusual vibrato and multiple octave range, his voice grabbed attention immediately. His talent grew while at Grand Rapids Baptist High School (now known as NorthPointe Christian High School) and later at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. While at Liberty, Max started a band called 'Connection' and was known around the campus as 'the rock singer.' Max was dismissed from Liberty University for unknown reasons following the first semester of his freshman year. He returned the following semester and shortly thereafter joined the Christian music group dcTalk. Max also shortened his name to avoid confusion with Kevin Smith, the filmmaker.
While at Liberty University, he met fellow DC Talk bandmates: Toby McKeehan ("tobyMac") and Michael Tait. They formed DC Talk and went on to achieve great success in both Christian and mainstream music. The band went on to win 4 Grammy Awards, 16 GMA Dove Awards, and other recognition. However, they decided to take an extended "intermission" in 2000.
In recent years, Kevin Max has attempted to create a name for himself apart from DC Talk. While he does not shy away from vocally defending his faith, he has expressed a desire to create art with a universal appeal. He insists, "My music is for a Christian and a Buddhist to pick up and still enjoy, as well as for an atheist. But it is there to prod and ask questions: What is my worldview? What do I believe in, and why do I believe it?"
Max's first solo album, Stereotype Be, released on August 28, 2001, was praised by Allmusic for "[combining] pop, rock, and world music to create a versatile and intriguing project.". Artists Adrian Belew, Larry Norman, and Tony Levin contributed to the album. It became a turning point in Max's career, as the project was a foreshadowing of Max's own brand of style and alternative music. He would become known as the 'enigmatic' and 'independent' voice of the band, creating work that would take on many different directions that skewed far from the initial sounds and lyrical content of the dctalk music.
While Stereotype Be has developed a considerable cult following, it wasn't well received in the Christian music market. Soon after its release, Max was dropped from his Christian label, Forefront Records. Undeterred, Max began to slowly build his solo career through live shows and word-of-mouth. He released independent albums via his website, including an EP entitled Between the Fence & the Universe and a spoken-word collaboration with Adrian Belew entitled Raven Songs 101, both in 2004.
In fall of 2004, Max's word-of-mouth strategy finally began to pay off. He played the title role in the Visalia Theatre Company / Hutson-Cavale Productions revival of the classic Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Later that year, he signed a new deal with Northern Records and released a second full-length album, titled The Imposter, said to "contain...a sound that recalls the passion of early U2, the soul of Jeff Buckley, and the ambiguity of Blur," on October 18, 2005. He released a Christmas album, titled Holy Night, in time for the 2005 Christmas season.
In April 2007, Infinity Music announced that Kevin Max signed onto their label for his next project. The Blood was released on December 26, 2007. According to Max, "The Blood is not a classic hymns cover project or a white/homogenized version of black gospel or soul music. It's a sensitive and stylized adaption of the music that was at the root of rock and roll, blues and popular culture."
In February 2008 Kevin Max starred in the independent film The Imposter. Kevin plays a character named "Johnny C", a singer who becomes addicted to OxyContin and loses his family and job as a Christian music star. The movie also features Tom Wright and Troy Baker.
Like Lennon, Max was formerly part of one of the premier bands in his particular genre (and, similarly, sometimes thought of as the most outrageous member), and has faced the task of becoming a solo artist in his own right with a degree of artistry and creativity that has eclipsed that of his more commercially-oriented former band-mates. Crashing Gates, a seven song EP, is a half-hour (give or take) of streamlined, hard-hitting, intelligent, well-informed rock and roll flavored with a dash of Euro-pop and plenty of soul. The music has a similar energy to Lennon’s classic Plastic Ono Band solo project, which also featured a stripped-down rock unit of drums, bass, guitar and keyboard. Crashing Gates starts off with Jonathan Smith’s opening drumbeats on the lead track, “Traveler,” a tight, punchy, economical song and a good introduction to this band (it sounds like a band project) which powerfully delivers seven songs featuring the distinctive Max factor of Kevin’s signature vocals and intriguing lyrics."-Soul Audio
Early 2010, Max began to change the direction of Cotes d' Armor ( a remix project) with label dPulse records and included UK Electronica band PWEI (Pop Will Eat Itself) on production, announcing a double vinyl and disc selection. The single 'On Yer Bike' was produced by industry veteran Tedd T known for his work with alternative rock band Mutemath. Currently the project boasts remixes done by Graham Crabb of PWEI and members of 3kStatic.
In February 2011, Max had formed a supergroup with Broadway singer Tony Vincent and longtime collaborator David Larring. The band is tentatively named "Bad Omens"; the three were writing songs when Tony Vincent decided to drop out to pursue theater interests, leaving the new band in a state of pause. A song of the band titled Control can be heard on Max's SoundCloud. 
He is featured in Atlantic's new CD of Shadows and Scars.
February 27, 2012, Max released Fiefdom of Angels-Side One, the first of two EP's to coincide with the forthcoming novel series of the same name. The overall project were chosen covers of well known 80's rock songs, with one Kevin Max original and a Muse cover set to lush orchestration. Ology Magazine describes the work as "a new wave mix-tape played at full volume through the Sistine Chapel".
In August 2012, Max became the new lead vocalist in a reunited Audio Adrenaline. He continued with the band until June 2014 he was replaced by Josh Engler, a former member of the band Abandon, due to the band going on different creative directions.
In 2015, Max released another studio album titled Starry Night Surprise.
In 2016, Max announced another studio album titled Playing Games With the Shadow, which is due to release sometime this year.
Poetry and writings
Max is also a poet and an author, and several of his albums feature performance poetry. He has published four books, three of which are poetry books: At the Foot of Heaven (1994), The Detritus of Dorian Gray (2003) and PO.ET.RY (2005). The other is an autobiography of sorts titled Unfinished Work (2001), an in-depth look at the meaning of each of his songs from Stereotype Be. In addition, Max has a spoken-word EP that accompanies his first poetry book At the Foot of Heaven, released in 1994 by Starsong Productions. In 2004, Max included poems from the book The Detritus of Dorian Gray in the spoken project with Adrian Belew titled Raven Songs 101 which was eventually distributed by alternative independent label dPulse records. Max's poetry is consistently found in his recording projects including DC Talk projects Jesus Freak, Supernatural and several of his own solo projects, particularly Stereotype Be and Crashing Gates. He is currently working on a novel and graphic novel Fiefdom of Angels depicting the origins of angels before the creation of earth.
In 1997, Max married Alayna Bennett. They divorced in 2003. In April 2005, he married Amanda Lynn MacDonald, but stated in an interview that earlier the two had "a secret wedding and marriage vows were spoken and we had binding agreement together in front of a spiritual leader, but we decided to go with the public ceremony a little bit later." Their daughter, London Ava Kay Max, was born on October 7, 2005.They lived in Hollywood, California, until July 2006, when Max and his family moved to Las Vegas, Nevada. In December 2006, Max announced on his website that he and Amanda were expecting the birth of their second child (a boy) in June 2007. He was born as Wilder Liam Max at 7:00PM on June 6, 2007. Kevin Max and family have moved back to Nashville where Max secured a new recording contract. On March 24, 2009, Kevin Max and his wife Amanda welcomed their third child, Knightly Christobal Max. In August 2010, Max and family moved back to Grand Rapids Michigan as a result of discovering that their second child, Wilder Liam, was diagnosed with low spectrum autism. The Grand Rapids Press covered the story on the front pages of the entertainment section, explaining in further detail, the reasons for Max returning to his home state. Fourth child Lady Charlotte Max was born on October 7, 2011, sharing a birthday with older sister London.
With DC Talk
- DC Talk (Forefront Records, 1989)
- Nu Thang (Forefront Records, 1990)
- Free at Last (Forefront Records, 1992)
- Jesus Freak (Forefront Records, 1995)
- Live in Concert: Welcome to the Freak Show (Forefront Records, 1997)
- Supernatural (Forefront Records, 1998)
- Intermission: the Greatest Hits (Forefront Records, 2000)
- Solo (Forefront Records, 2001)
- Free at Last: The Movie (Forefront Records, 1992, 2002)
- Stereotype Be (Forefront Records, 2001)
- The Imposter (Northern Records, 2005)
- Holy Night (Northern Records, 2005)
- The Blood (Infinity Music, 2007)
- Cotes d'Armor (True Rebels) (dPulse Recordings, 2010)
- Broken Temples (Blind Thief Recordings/Motion Records, 2015)
- Starry Eyes Surprise (Blind Thief Recordings, 2015)
- Playing Games With the Shadow (Blind Thief Recordings, 2016)
- At the Foot of Heaven: a Mini Audio Book (spoken word, Starsong, 1994)
- Between the Fence & the Universe (Northern Records, 2004)
- Crashing Gates (dPulse Recordings, 2008)
- Traveler (Mora Brothers Remixes) (dPulse Recordings, 2010)
- Unholy Triad (dPulse Recordings, 2010)
- Unholy Triad Remix (dPulse Recordings, 2010)
- Fiefdom of Angels-Side One (Blind Thief Recordings, 2012)
With Audio Adrenaline
- "In the Bleak Mid-Winter" from Noel, (as Kevin Smith), produced by Steve Hindalong & Derri Dougherty, 1995 
- "Lonely Moon" (from Strong Hand of Love: A Tribute to Mark Heard, 1996)
- "Louie's Solo" (Petra cover with Passafist, from Never Say Dinosaur, 1996)
- The Canticle of the Plains, (musical written by Rich Mullins, 1997)
- "Save Me" (from Awesome God: A Tribute to Rich Mullins, 1998)
- "Birthday" (The Beatles cover, from ForeFront Records' Ten: The Birthday Album, 1998)
- "There's Something About That Name" (with Sonicflood, from Listen Louder, 1999)
- "Just an Illusion" (from Songs For a Purpose Driven Life, Maranatha! Music, 2002)
- Raven Songs 101 (collaboration with Adrian Belew, Blind Thief Publishing, 2003)
- "Help Me Rhonda" (from Making God Smile: An Artists' Tribute to the Songs of Beach Boy Brian Wilson, 2006)
- The Day Is Dawning (with Jill Phillips), from The Prayer Of Jabez...A Worship Experience, 2006
- "Blue" (feature appearance for Manic Drive, Whiplash Records, 2007)
- "Sugar Evolver" (with 3kStatic, from Evolver, Sony Music, 2009)
- "Come Together Now (Music City Unites for Haiti)" (charity single, relief effort led by Michael W. Smith, 2010)
- "God's Not Dead (Like a Lion)" (feature appearance for Newsboys on God's Not Dead, Inpop, 2011)
- "A Name, A Day" [from "of Shadows and Scars"] with Atlantic (2011)
- Rich Mullins – "To Tell Them"
- Michael McDonald – "Ain't That Peculiar"
- Audio Adrenaline – "My World View"
- Manic Drive – "Blue"
- Jimmy Abegg – "These Daughters of Mine"
- TobyMac – "Atmosphere (Remix)"
- SONICFLOOd – "Something About That Name"
- Raze – "Forgive Me"
- Newsboys – "God's Not Dead", "I Am Second", "Man on Fire" and "The Living Years"
- Michael Sweet - "This Time"
- tobyMac – "Love Feels Like" on 2015's This Is Not a Test
- Philippa Hanna – "Embers" on 2016's Speed of Light
|2005||"Seek"||Between the Fence & the Universe (EP)|
|2007||"Run on for a Long Time" (feat. Chris Sligh)||The Blood|
|"The Cross" (feat. DC Talk)|
|2009||"Traveler"||Cotes d'Armor (True Rebels)|
|2010||"On Yer Bike!"|
|2011||"Take a Bow"||Fiefdom of Angels: Side One (EP)|
|2012||"Kings & Queens"||Kings & Queens
|"King of the Comebacks"|
|2014||"He Moves You Move"|
|"Infinite" (feat. Rachael Lampa)||Broken Temples|
|"Light Me Up"|
|"Cave of a Million Songs"||Praise and Arrows (soundtrack)|
|2016||"Girl with the Tiger Eyes"||Playing Games with the Shadow|
- Music Videos
- Existence (ForeFront Records, 2001)
- Seek Live (Northern Records, 2003)
- Untitled (Blind Thief Publishing, 2003)
- Carry On My Wayward Son (with Kerry Livgren of Kansas) (Unknown, 2010)
- Moon Over Bourbon Street (Blind Thief Recordings, 2015)
- Girl With the Tiger Eyes (Blind Thief Recordings, 2016)
- At the Foot of Heaven (poetry/artwork, Starsong, 1994)
- Unfinished Work (autobiography, T. Nelson, 2001)
- The Detritus of Dorian Gray (poetry, Blind Thief Publishing, 2003)
- Slip of the Ink (more info needed)
- Divine Erotica (more info needed)
- PO/ET/RY (poetry, Blind Thief Publishing, 2005)
- Fiefdom of Angels (2014)
- Tait - Band of former dcTalk member Michael Tait.
- "Kevin Max Ready to Release 'The Blood' This Fall". Soul Shine magazine. April 20, 2007. Retrieved July 16, 2008.
- Kittle, Ashleigh. "Stereotype Be Review". Allmusic. Retrieved January 2, 2010.
- "Kevin Max". Yourmusiczone.com. Archived from the original on April 1, 2008. Retrieved July 16, 2008.
- "Kevin Max Starts New Year With New Movie, New Album and Rave Reviews". BREATHEcast.com. January 28, 2008. Retrieved January 3, 2010.
- "The Imposter". IMDB. Retrieved January 3, 2010.
- "Playing: Kevin Max speaks about his new band, The Bad Omens (...his birth father's band) . • . interviews . • . . • . • . listenin.org . • . • . this is where rock stars SPEAK . • . •". Listenin.org. Retrieved August 28, 2012.
- "Broadway singer Tony Vincent collaborating with ex-dcTalker Kevin Max « Mark Weber presents Christian Music Makers". Christiangospelmusicdaily.wordpress.com. February 24, 2011. Retrieved August 28, 2012.
- Zaratan, Ruiz (March 5, 2012). "Album Review: Kevin Max - 'Fiefdom Of Angels: Side One'". Ology. Retrieved August 28, 2012.
- "Music News, August 2012: Kevin Max Is The New Lead Vocalist For Audio Adrenaline!". Jesusfreakhideout.com. August 21, 2012. Retrieved August 28, 2012.
- "Audio Adrenaline announces new lineup with Josh Engler at the helm". The Underground. June 4, 2014. Retrieved June 4, 2014.
- "Broken Temples review". Jesusfreakhideout.com. March 10, 2015. Retrieved March 11, 2015.
- Rimmer, Mike (May 10, 2006). "Kevin Max: The Imposter?". Cross Rhythms. Retrieved July 16, 2008.
- Mike Rimmer (May 10, 2006). "Kevin Max: The Imposter?". Cross Rhythms. p. 2. Retrieved August 22, 2008.
- "New baby for Christian music act Kevin Max". STREETBRAND magazine. March 25, 2009. Archived from the original on November 27, 2014. Retrieved March 25, 2009.
- "Facebook". June 10, 2014. Retrieved June 13, 2014.
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