“Oh, baby, baby, it’s a wild world
It’s hard to get by just upon a smile,girl
Oh, baby, baby, it’s a wild world
I’ll always remember you like a child, girl”
Didn’t you just love this song? If you were a 90s baby, or even later, chances are that you heard these words on the radio a lot. These are lines from Cat Stevens Wild World, a reggae fusion cover sung by Maxi Priest.
Well, have we got good news for you! Maxi Priest is set to visit Kenya this month for his first ever concert in the country. He will perform on August 12, 2018, at the Ngong Racecourse Waterfront in Nairobi.
Born on June 10, 1961, Max Alfred “Maxi” Elliott – better known as Maxi Priest- is an English reggae vocalist of Jamaican descent. He is best known for singing reggae music with an RnB influence, otherwise known as reggae fusion. He is one of the most successful artistes of all time in this genre. Maxi Priest was born in Lewisham, London. He was the second youngest of nine brothers and sisters. At the time his parents had moved to England from Jamaica to provide more opportunity for their family. As a child, Maxi Priest grew up listening to gospel, reggae, RnB and pop music. His earliest musical influences include the likes of Jamaican greats such as Dennis Brown, John Holt, Ken Boothe and Gregory Isaacs, as well as singers like Marvin Gaye, Al Green, the Beatles, Phil Collins and Frank Sinatra.
He first learned to sing in church, encouraged by his mother who was a Pentecostal missionary. He was a founder member of the South London reggae sound system Saxon Studio International, and it was with them that he began performing in neighbourhood youth clubs and house parties. Soon, independent single releases followed. He released his first major album, the self-titled Maxi Priest, in 1988. It contained the cover of Cat Steven’s ‘Wild World’ which, together with the other songs, established him as one of the top British reggae singers. He rode ‘Close to You’ to the top in 1990 and became one of only two British reggae acts (along with UB40) to have an American Billboard number one. His duet with Roberta Flack on ‘Set the Night to Music’ reached the American Top Ten in 1991. He also collaborated with Shaggy in 1996 for the song ‘That Girl’, which was a huge hit in the US, peaking at number twenty. It was also very much loved by Kenyan fans everywhere.
In the latter half of his recording career, Maxi Priest has favoured working alongside both established and up-and-coming artistes. In 2012, Maxi Priest recorded a cover of Japanese band L’arc~en~Ciel ‘s song “Vivid Colors” for the band’s English-language tribute album. In 2013, Priest recorded a remix version of Hindi song Kabhi Jo Baadal Barse featuring Indian singers Rishi Rich and Arijit Singh. He has also worked with Sly and Robbie, Shaggy , Beres Hammond , Jazzie B , Apache Indian , Roberta Flack , Shurwayne Winchester , Shabba Ranks and Lee Ritenour.
His 2014 album Easy to Love entered the Billboard Top Reggae Albums chart at no. 2. It was a lovers rock anthem, blending reggae, RnB and dancehall effortlessly. His music is sometimes closer to R&B and pop than to reggae. His cousin, Jacob Miller, a reggae icon, was the front man in the popular reggae group Inner Circle. Find some of Maxi Priest’s famous songs here.
Few artistes have been able to transcend their genre and still retain the essence of who they are, and Maxi Priest is one of them. He has gained massive success both locally and internationally, having sold more than 15 million copies of his album worldwide. This wealth of experience, plus his beautiful and catchy songs, is what we’ll get to be part of during his first concert in Kenya on August 12. Tickets for the show will retail at Kshs 1,800 advance and Kshs 2,500 at the gate. This is a show not to miss.
Speaking of musicians here is Why Every Artiste Needs A Manager