Maxwell photo courtesy of Shore Fire Media

Photo courtesy of Shore Fire Media

Progressive soul singer and three-time Grammy Award winner Maxwell is a true artist. You hear and feel the passion in his music, you see it in his style, and when you talk with him, it reveals itself even more so.  Rolling out spoke exclusively with the star, who is currently embarking on his #Summers17 tour with Ledisi and Leela James that hits Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, tomorrow and Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut on Friday.

After two decades in the music industry, Maxwell, who toured with Mary J. Blige last year, shared what he enjoys most about touring and the commitment fans should make at the show.

He shares, “I like being in different places. I think the live experience is the last thing that can’t be compromised in the digital world.”

This writer asked Maxwell to share his list of favorite artists.

“I kinda love everybody especially if they’re breaking the mold and taking a risk.”

We couldn’t have a conversation about great artists and performers without mention of the King of Pop Michael Jackson. Maxwell expressed his admiration of the album Off the Wall. “It’s one of the greatest albums that’s ever been done.”

The Brooklyn-born artist’s favorite hip-hop artists include 2Pac, Boogie Down Productions, Chance the Rapper, Drake, Jay Z, Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar, Nas, The Notorious B.I.G., and Rakim. He collaborated with Nas on the song Help Somebody. “I never thought hip-hop people really messed with me,” and then he learned Biggie was a fan of his work.

Maxwell also mentioned blue-eyed soul singers. “It’s not a color thing, it’s a spirit thing.” Adele, Amy Winehouse, the Bee Gees, George Michael and Justin Timberlake were some of the soulful singers he mentioned.

He explains, “I’m a big Rihanna fan. She can just be everything: rock, pop, islands, without compromising. She’s very good looking too!”

Some of the live performers Maxwell mentioned enjoying include Anderson Paak, Chaka Khan, El DeBarge, Prince, Sade, and Thundercat.

The artist reveals he’s a big fan of Sade. “She’s the ultimate to me!” Adding, her Love Deluxe one of the best albums he’s ever heard. “There’s something very special about Sade.”

As for Prince who would have celebrated his 59th birthday today, June 7, he pointed out the artist’s sense of style and his diverse fan base, describing Prince as someone who was brave, and always colored outside the lines. “Who dresses like that and still has Black fans?” he asks.

Maxwell posted a video and heartfelt tribute on his Instagram to Prince writing, “He was a constant support here and there in the most precious times of my life.”  In the video, Maxwell sang a cover of Do Me Baby, a song he remembers listening to in the 1980s.

Be sure to check out Maxwell in concert at an arena near you.

Derrel Johnson

Lover of Christ, sports, hip-hop, my hometown of Harlem and much more. IG @JazzJohnson1