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Maxi Priest: None of Jah Jah Children

British reggae star Maxi Priest came through the old soul music channel of the church, that's where he first started singing . . . so it's no surprise that there has always been a lot of soul in his style, which accounts for him singing with the likes of Roberta Flack and having greater succes in the US than just about any other British reggae act.

“First and foremost, I’m from a church background,” he says. “My mother, a missionary, is where I would hear the beautiful sound of gospel, mixed in with reggae music that my older brothers played around the house. My sisters were into the Jackson Five, The Beatles, Al Green, etc.

“From an early age my family always encouraged me… I listened to all kinds of vocalists… Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Sam Cooke, Dennis Brown… without realizing it, I was developing my craft. I was taught never to limit myself – that’s why you’ll always find different styles of music on my albums, and a range of producers to bring out different aspects of my creativity.”

His most recent album Easy to Love entered the Billboard reggae charts at number two. The album features Sly and Robbie, he covers a John Mayer song Gravity and he keeps lovers rock close to his heart -- although the final track, None of Jah Jah Children, dates right back to Ras Michael and the Sons of Negus in the Seventies.

So on the occasion of his already successful new album we flicked Maxi Priest our Famous Elsewhere Reggae Questionnaire.

The first piece of music which really affected you was . . .

Drink Milk
, Justin Hinds and the Dominoes

Your first role models in music were . . .

Dennis Brown

Lennon or Jagger, Bob Marley or Burning Spear, dancehall or raggamuffin, Michael Jackson or Jay-Z?

Bob Marley

If music was denied you, your other career choice would be . . .

Football (soccer)

The three songs (yours, or by others) you would love everyone to hear are . . .

War by
 Bob Marley,
 A Change Is Gonna Come by Sam Cooke,
 God Watches Over Us by
 Maxi Priest

Any interesting, valuable or just plain strange musical memorabilia at home?

Picture of my father and mother are the most valuable memorabilia at home.

The best book on reggae music or reggae musicians you have read is . . .

Bob Marley - His Musical Legacy by Jeremy Collingwood.

If you could get on stage with anyone it would be . . . (And you would play?)

Bob Marley playing Jamming

The three films you'd insist anybody watch because they might understand you better are . . .

Will Smith - I Am A Legend,
 The last Nelson Mandela movie -
 Long Walk to Freedom

The last CD or vinyl album you bought was . . . (And your most recent downloads include . . .)

Last vinyl by Joe, name of the album is - My Name is Joe
. Latest download
Chronixx album - Dread and Terrible

spearOne song, royalties for life, never have to work again. The song by anyone, yourself included, which wouldn't embarrass you would be . . .

My choice of song is chosen from the
 Top 10 songs that still generate high revenue through royalties
 is the song Every Breath You Take, by Sting

The poster, album cover or piece of art could you live with on your bedroom forever would be . . .

Burning Spear - Freeman Album

You are allowed just one reggae box set, and it is . . .

I would create my own consisting of
 Studio One
: Dennis Brown, Alton Ellis, John Holt, Johnny Osbourne, Heptones, Freddie McGregor, Burning Spear, Marcia Griffiths, Ken Boothe, Slim Smith

Motown and R&B
: Marvin Gaye, Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Gladys Knight, Al Green, Etta James, Michael Jackson, Luther Vandross

70s Reggae: Toots and the Maytals, Big Youth, Jimmy Cliff, Abyssinians, Mighty Diamonds, Third World, Inner Circle, Jacob Miller, Sly and Robbie, Fredlocks, U Roy

80s 90s dancehall: 
Shabba Ranks, Damian Marley, Buju Banton, Shaggy, Bounty Killer, Beenie Man, Chaka Demus and Pliers, Lieutenant Stitchie, Papa San, Philip Levi, Super Cat

80s classic disco
: Chaka Khan, Chic, Jocelyn Brown, Heatwave, Kool and the Gang, Rose Royce,
The Tramps, The Emotions, ABBA, Earth Wind and Fire

51je9_maeTLDavid Bowie sang, “Five years, that's all we've got . . .” You would spend them where, doing . . .?

I would spend my time in this beautiful world that God has created for us all, and do exactly what I'm doing now. Doing what I love to do.

And finally, in the nature of press conferences in Japan, “Can you tell me please why this is your best album ever?”

I feel this is my best album today 'Easy To Love' because not only is it my latest album but I feel I've matured, and I'm much more experienced in what I do, and how I do things. I'm much more relaxed which has allowed me stand back and enjoy and appreciate my abilities in my gift, and in this beautiful art of music.

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