British reggae star Maxi Priest rose up through the late '80s and '90s to become one of the most internationally popular reggae singers since Bob Marley. His lovers rock vocal chops and flirtations with pop and R&B styles scored him multiple worldwide hits, including the trans-Atlantic chart-topper "Close to You," and a sunny cover of Cat Stevens' "Wild World." Priest's silky-smooth voice was ideally suited for light, romantic material that fused reggae backbeats with R&B's romanticism, and his most popular work was as sensual as it was soulful. Priest was born Max Elliott on June 10, 1962 in the Lewisham area of London. He was the eighth of nine children, born to parents who had emigrated from Jamaica several years before his birth. His mother was active in the Pentecostal church, and the family grew up singing gospel music together; ...
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