Maxi Priest (born Max Alfred Elliott on June 1, 196) is a favorite among reggae lovers. Of West Indian descent and the second youngest of nine children he was born in Lewisham, London. His musical journey began as a young child who listened to a variety of musical genres ranging from gospel to reggae and pop.
Priest gained entry into the music world in the mid-1980s when he was given the opportunity to sing over live dancehall sessions with artists like Smiley Culture. In 1984 he became well-known after co-producing Philip Levi’s ‘Mi God Mi King ‘ with Paul ‘Barry Boom’ Robinson which was the first UK reggae song to hit number one in Jamaica.
His 1988 album Maxi gained him worldwide recognition. Priest recorded the album in Jamaica and worked with legendary artists Sly Dunbar, Robbie Shakespeare and Willie London and was released in the United States by Virgin Records. Maxi gained his first U.S. smash hit with ‘Some Guys Have All the Luck,’ a cover of Cat Steven’s classic ‘Wild World.’
In 1990 Priest released Bonafide. It went gold and contained the single ‘Close To You’ that was number one on the Billboard Hot 100 singles and number two on the Hot R&B Singles chart.
1991 was a great year for Maxi Priest. He did collaborations with Roberta Flack, ‘Set The Night To Music’ and with Shabba Ranks. He ended the year with the release of a compilation CD titled Best of Me combining songs from his four previous albums.
In 1996 Maxi released Man with the Fun which contained ‘That Girl’ a duet with Shaggy that went on to become a Grammy Nominated track and the accompanying video, directed by Hype Williams became an MTV favorite.
CombiNation released in 1999 crossed multiple genres and had numerous artists and producers such as Sly & Robbie, Robert Livingston Simon Law, and Joe. The album even featured Red Rat and Degree in ‘She Wants to Dance ‘ which added a mix of dancehall flavor to the CD.
His album 2 the Max (2005) includes dancehall hits like ‘Full Hundred’ and ‘Sweat A Go Buss.’
Maxi Priest is one the most successful solo reggae artists in the world.
You’re Safe (Charisma, 1985)
Intentions (EMI, 1986)
Maxi (Virgin, 1988)
Bonafide (Charisma, 1990)
Fe Real (Charisma, 1992)
Man with the Fun (Virgin, 1996)
CombiNation (Virgin, 1999)
2 the Max (Relentless, 2005)
Refused (Peppermint Jam, 2007)
Easy to Love (VP Record, 2014)
Author: Angel Romero
Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music and progressive music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music and electronic music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World, Lektronic Soundscapes, and Mindchild Records. Angel is currently based in Durham, North Carolina.