Maxi Priest is one of only two British reggae acts (along with UB40) to have an American Billboard number one: “Close to You” in 1990. A duet with Roberta Flack, “Set the Night to Music”, reached the American Top Ten in 1991. His duet with Shaggy in 1996, “That Girl”, was also a hit in the United States, peaking at number twenty.
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 first major album was the self-titled Maxi Priest (1988) which, along with his cover of Cat Stevens’ “Wild World”, established him as one of the top British reggae singers.
In the latter half of his recording career, Priest has favoured working alongside other artists, both established and up-and-coming. He has worked with Sly & Robbie, Shaggy, Beres Hammond, Jazzie B, Apache Indian, Roberta Flack, Shurwayne Winchester, Shabba Ranks and Lee Ritenour.
Max also collaborated with UB40 on their last album ‘24/7’ where he replaced Ali Campbell for part of the live shows. His son Marvin Priest has recently hit the Top 10 in Australia, and a new album of duets has recently been recorded, including lead track ‘Work it Out’ performed with Marvin.