Recently Maxwell visited Nigeria and in an exclusive interview with Okayplayer he discusses his experiences, showers accolades on Tekno and Skepta, and how Africa influences on Embrya.
Maxwell was recently interviewed by Ivie Ani from Okayplayer. They discussed several issues like taking risks, politics in R&B, the effects of social media on fame, finding inspiration in Africa and more. In this article we shall be reviewing his interview giving you some of his answers to the questions asked just as he answered them.
About visiting Lagos he said:
“It’s almost like you’re going back in time a little bit. What an incredible place. I loved every minute of being there. In some ways, it’s a little bit like Haiti,” Maxwell explains, having spent part of his childhood living there. Maxwell is a first-generation American. “I was born in Brooklyn,” he says, “but my mom was born in Haiti, and my dad was born in Puerto Rico.”
On how Embrya was made and him not getting the kind of reception he got after his first album:
“I had such a good thing going. I just wanted to kind of do my art thing—things that weren’t necessarily even happening at the time. A lot of people in Africa got it, which I was blown away by. But a lot of people in the states didn’t really get it.”
When describing his visit to Africa and how it has facilitated his evolution personally and professionally:
“For me, it was going to Africa—going to the place that I have to say inspired ‘Embrya’ for me. In my home at the time, I had Senegalese art. I was always inspired by Africa because I knew that Africa was where everything came from, all the drums, all the beats, everything. We came to America and the adversity of that, the trauma of that, yielded soul music. And so that’s why Embrya came to me and said, ‘Make me.'”
His accolades on Tekno and Skepta as great artistes from the diaspora:
“Black is very multifaceted to me. Marsha Ambrosius is from England, and she was black to me as anybody who’s out here in the south. And when you look at like Glennis—that wonderful singer from Amsterdam who has a crazy range—she’s almost like Whitney Houston to me. She’s not from, Newark, New Jersey, but she sure feels like it. And those amazing [African] artists out there—Skepta and Tekno and all those people—for me, define black excellence. I like to say ‘Black excellence without borders.’ Black is black, everywhere.”
You can read all about the interview on Okayplayer.