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Maxi Priest Biography

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Birth Name: Max Alfred Elliott
Born: 1961/06/10
Birth Place: Lewisham, London, England
Years Active: 1982- Present
Genres: Reggae, Reggae Fusion, Lovers Rock

Max Alfred Elliot was born in Lewisham, London in 1961 and is a reggae vocalist of Jamaican roots and songwriter professionally known as Maxi Priest. He is best known for singing reggae music with an R&B influence, otherwise known as reggae fusion, and became one of the first international successes who regularly dabbled in the genre and one of the most successful reggae fusion acts of all-time.

As a teenager, he lifted speaker boxes for the Jah Shaka and Negus Negast sound-systems. He was also a founder member of Saxon Studio International. It was with Saxon that Priest began performing at neighborhood youth clubs and house parties, and first won an appreciative audience. His cousin, Jacob Miller, a reggae icon, was the frontman in the popular reggae group Inner Circle.

Priest's musical career began with him singing on the South London reggae soundsystem Saxon Studio International, after which some independent single releases followed. His debut solo album, “You’re Safe,” was issued in 1985.

A year later, Priest’s second album, “Intentions,” was released and peaked at #96 on the U.K. Albums chart. 1998 marked the arrival of Priest’s third album, the self-titled “Maxi Priest,” which peaked at #25 on the U.K. Albums chart and at #108 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart. The album’s success established Priest as one of the top reggae singers in Britain and produced the hit single, a cover of Cat Stevens’ “Wild World,” which peaked at #5 on the U.K. Singles chart.

1990 brought the release of Priest’s fourth studio album, “Bonafide,” which peaked at #47 on the Billboard 200 and spurred the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart #1 hit, “Close to You,” which also peaked at #7 on the U.K. Singles chart. Priest followed up with the hit, “Set the Night to Music,” featuring Roberta Flack, which peaked at #6 on the Hot 100 chart.

Priest released the studio albums, “Fe Real” in 1992, “Man with the Fun” in 1996, “CombiNation” in 1999, “2 the Max” in 2005 and “Refused” in 2007. He appeared on a cover of Bob Marley’s “I Shot the Sherriff” on UB40’s 2008 album, “TwentyFourSeven.” In 2014 his album, “Easy to Love,” was issued by VP Records.