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Born Max Elliott, Maxi was raised in the Lewisham section of London and was working as a carpenter when he was hired to build speaker boxes for a local reggae sound system, Saxon. Soon Maxi was singing over the mic at Saxon's live dancehall sessions and in 1984 made a bit of history after he and Paul Robinson produced Phillip Levi's "Mi God Mi King," the first UK reggae song to hit #1 in Jamaica.

Maxi soon joined the band Caution and in 1985 released his debut album You're Safe on the Virgin subsidiary Ten Records. The album yielded three hit singles and in 1986 Maxi recorded his follow-up Intentions, which included his hit version of Van Morrison's "Crazy Love."His 1988 Album Maxi increased his popularity on the global music scene. With pop flavored tracks like a hit cover of Cat Steven's "Wild World" (which reached the Top 25 of Billboard's Hot 100) and roots tracks like "How Can We Ease the Pain" (a duet with Beres Hammond), Maxi was establishing himself as a versatile vocalist and hitmaker.

Sierra Nevada World Music Festival

Maxi Priest
Maxi Priest
Two years later, Maxi released Bonafide and the single "Close To You" which hit #1 on Billboard's Singles chart and #2 on Billboard's R&B chart, firmly breaking Maxi to the American audience. In 1991 Maxi released his greatest hits collection Best of Me, which commemorated his ten years in music. By the early to mid '90s Maxi was critically acclaimed for his skills in balancing hard core reggae vibes with more mainstream pop sensibilities and that approach added to his growing popularity as both a recording and touring artist.

In 1993, Maxi launched Dugout, a small label based in Lewisham. Maxi remains actively involved in Dugout, and has been instrumental in the development of local talent in rap, soul, reggae and jungle. Around the launch of Dugout, he also found the time to record a new album Fe Real. In 1996 Maxi released his hit CD Man With the Fun which contained the corssover single "That Girl," a duet with Shaggy. His most recent album Combination embraces reggae, hip hop, R&B and pop, with production and songwriting from Sly & Robbie, Robert Livingston, Beenie Man and others.Maxi Priest has enjoyed a fruitful and flourishing career, appealing to people of all ages and backgrounds with his multi-faceted sound.

 

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