June is Black Music Month, a celebration of African-American musicians, creators, innovators and influencers. For 2018, the Urban One family is highlighting 25 of the most influential musicians of all-time that have contributed to black spaces far and wide, ranging from inspirational, to hip-hop and R&B.
Quick Highlights: 3x Grammy Award winner, Neo-soul pioneer.
During the mid ‘90s neo-soul movement, there was D’Angelo, the enigmatic crooner from Virginia, Erykah Badu, soul sister esoteric from Dallas and Maxwell, the smooth and suave singer who constantly stretched boundaries in what not only his music could sound like but R&B in general. As a songwriter and producer, Maxwell has crafted some of modern R&B’s classic staples, marrying an unmistakable voice with even more unmistakable lyrics.
From 1996’s Urban Hang Suite to 2001’s Now, Maxwell exhibited the kind of suave demeanor befitting of an R&B singer. His tunes were slow burners, worthy of slow dances and romancing background music when you were with the woman or man you were interested in. “Ascension (Don’t Ever Wonder)” was his first big break in 1996 and “Sumthin’ Sumthin’” enjoyed similar commercial success, proving that like any great dance, it takes build up before you truly get it.
“This Woman’s Work” may be his most popular song but the falsetto and more continues to bring women coming around to his shows. After a seven-year hiatus, Maxwell returned in 2009 with BLACK’summersnight, once more penning records of deep personal experience and longing, as evident by “Pretty Wings” and “Bad Habits” make people feel something every time they hear it.
“Ascension (Don’t Ever Wonder)”
“This Woman’s Work”