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Born in 1961 in South London, Maxi Priest is a reggae vocalist who is often associated with the British sub-genre of Jamaican music called Lover's Rock. Noted for his R 'n' B style of singing reggae tracks, Priest is sometimes also referred to as a fusion artist. To his many fans, however, the vocalist is simply a high-quality singer who is able to perform songs in his own way, with a considerable amount of soul and depth of emotion. Priest – whose real name is Max Alfred Elliot – has been a professional musician since the early 1980s and he has enjoyed international success as well as many plaudits in his home country, as well as in the Caribbean.
Maxi Priest's career milestones
In addition as listening to gospel music, British pop music and R 'n' B as a child, Priest was exposed to many of the Jamaican greats, such as Ken Boothe, John Holt and Dennis Brown. He soon became involved with sound systems as a teenager, and would sometimes perform vocals. His early music owed more to R 'n' B than reggae, but his sound soon developed to be more Jamaican-influenced, like that of his cousin Jacob Miller, who sang with the reggae outfit Inner Circle.
After a few early single releases such as “Throw My Corn” and “Should I (Put My Trust in You)”, Priest enjoyed chart success with “Strollin' On”, which got to number 32 in the UK charts. He would follow this up with two minor hits in 1986, plus “Let Me Know” the following year, which peaked at number 49. His last single of 1987 was a much more successful affair, however. “Some Guys Have All the Luck” got to number 12 in the UK, as well as making the charts in the Republic of Ireland, the Netherlands and Belgium.
Among Priest's best-known songs is “Wild World”, a fusion cover of the Cat Stevens track. This got to number five in the UK in 1988 and was a hit in Australia, New Zealand and the United States, where it got to number 25. Switching into new jack swing mode, Priest followed up this song in 1990 with “Close to You”, co-written by the singer, Gary Benson and Winston Sela. It got to number one in the US in October of that year and was certified as gold-selling in America, Sweden and Australia. Other notable hits have included “That Girl”, which he recorded with Shaggy in 1996, and “Housecall”, which was put out by Shabba Ranks, featuring Priest. Three compilations have been released, which cover nearly all of Priest's career, including Maximum Collection, which came out in 2012.
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