Maxwell is an American (of Puerto Rican and Haitian descent) singer-songwriter, record producer, and actor. Along with fellow musicians D’Angelo and Erykah Badu, Maxwell has been credited with helping to shape what has been termed the “neo soul” movement that rose to prominence during the late 1990s.
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Recording sessions for a new album took place during 2007 to 2009 at Chung King Studios, Bowery Digital, and Platinum Sound Recording Studios in New York City. The album was produced entirely by Maxwell and musician Hod David. The album was to serve as the first part of his scheduled trilogy of albums.
During this time, and after seven years of not performing, he appeared as a surprise musical guest on the 2008 BET Awards, where he performed the song “Simply Beautiful” in a tribute to soul singer Al Green, shocking fans and the audience alike with his ability to still perform well, but also with his new look, his trademark dreadlocks and pork-chop sideburns gone, replaced with a more relaxed and mature look.
The album BLACKsummers’night was released on July 7, 2009 and received universal acclaim from music critics. Commercially the album was a success, debuting at number one on the US Billboard 200 chart in July 2009, with first-week sales of 316,000 copies, serving as Maxwell’s highest first-week sales.
The album produced four singles. The lead single “Pretty Wings” debuted at number one on the US Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, ultimately spending 47 weeks on the chart. It also spent 18 weeks and peaked at number 33 on the Hot 100 and at number 12 on its Radio Songs component chart. The second single, “Bad Habits”, peaked at number four on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, spending 46 weeks on the chart. It peaked at number 71 on the Hot 100, at number 38 on the Radio Songs chart, and at number 16 on the Hot Dance Club Songs chart. The third single “Cold” spent one week at number 62 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. The album’s fourth single “Fistful of Tears” spent 24 weeks on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, peaking at number 11. It charted at number 94 on the Hot 100 and at number 63 on the Radio Songs chart. 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.
On April 17, 2012, Maxwell announced that he and his eleven-piece band would embark on a six-day tour, MaxwellTwoNight -M2N tour 2012 – two nights in three cities, scheduled for the cities of Los Angeles, California – Staples Center (July 20 and July 21); Atlanta, Georgia – Phillips Arena (July 27 and July 28); and Newark, New Jersey – the Prudential Center (August 3 and August 4). Maxwell was to perform his discography in its entirety. The first day of the tour Maxwell was to perform songs from his first album Maxwell’s Urban Hang Suite and second album Embrya. The second day of the tour Maxwell was to perform from his third and fourth albums Now and BLACKsummer’snight, respectively. Maxwell was to debut never-performed songs from his BLACKsummer’snight trilogy. lt was also announced that proceeds from the M2N tour merchandise would support the “Obama-Biden 2012” re-election campaign. However, the tour was canceled due to vocal hemorrhaging.
After two years of occasionally performing and planning, he disclosed during an interview with Rolling Stone magazine in May 2014 that he had been working on his fifth studio album for “the past three years” and has been recording in Miami. On December 18, 2014, Maxwell announced on the social media site Twitter the second installment of his trilogy blackSUMMERS’night would be arriving sometime in winter 2015.
On April 7, 2016, Maxwell released his first solo single in 6 years titled “Lake by the Ocean”, and also revealed his long-awaited fifth album blackSUMMERS’night. He performed it on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on May 5, 2016. It was his first television performance in seven years.