In this Sept. 18, 2008 file photo, singer Maxwell poses for a portrait in New York. The soul crooner says his new album “blackSUMMERS’night,” due out in 2012, will be a little more upbeat compared to his previous efforts. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
Maxwell may have cancelled his six-date, three-city U.S. tour because of vocal hemorrhaging and swelling, but he’s still hard at work on his upcoming album.
The soul crooner says “blackSUMMERS’night,” due out this year, will be more upbeat compared to his previous efforts. But don’t expect to fist pump to his new sound.
He also said the follow-up to 2009’s Grammy-winning “BLACKsummers’night” will take on a gospel sound.
In a recent interview, the 39-year-old talks about his new music, D’Angelo’s comeback and dance music’s domination on U.S. radio.
SENTINEL: How’s the new album coming along?
Maxwell: It’s my daily chore, let me tell you. The third part of it, “NIGHT,” is as well my daily chore. And I’ve got these other things that I’m doing with friends, other people’s projects as far as production, possibly guesting, those things come in and out. …(But) I like it though. I got to tell you man, like, definitely it moves, it’s not like I abandoned everything and I’m going to color my hair purple and do the punk thing. No. But it definitely kind of moves somewhere else past the “BLACKsummers’night” super-soul perspective music; the way that that record was, we have a soul thing and we have a gospel thing on the new album, but we’re definitely much more futuristic without the Auto-Tune (laughs.)
SENTINEL: People would be livid if they heard Maxwell with Auto-Tune.
Maxwell: I know. Need not worry.
SENTINEL: Is it a little more dance-y?
Maxwell: Yeah. It definitely gets you up in ways you wouldn’t expect, you know. We have this song called “Of All Kind” and it’s kind of slow, but it boogies. And then we have up-tempos, we’ve got some stuff. I always want to make it right and I’ll be honest with you, when I came off the tour (in 2010) I really wanted to get back in (the studio) again, but I just wanted to take a break and just have a little bit of fun. So you charge up your batteries and you have something to talk about because you went out, was talking to some girl about whatever, you have things to experience. Then I got a chance to not change the album, but take it up a notch and give it that 2012 thing because I had written so much of “BLACKsummersnight” over the course 2005-2007, and so some of the sound is outdated and you just want to be up-to-date, so that’s what’s going on right now with “SUMMERS.”
SENTINEL: Dance music has taken over U.S. radio. Are you a fan?
Maxwell: I like some of that of music; I can’t say I would go full-blown like that in terms of me doing that kind of music. I just think people want to pick up the pace a little bit. …Sometimes I’m listening to Hot 97 and you’ll a like Rihanna song that’s seriously really a house record. Let’s just keep it real. That’s just a house record; it should be at the club. It should not be coming after Young Jeezy. But it does now. I think it’s cool. I think it keeps it new. I’d be bored if radio just was stuck to one format, but will I go and make “house” records on my album? No. I probably would have a remix because I have no problem with that and I do like house on some level, but it’s just not what I do. But I think some guys do it well. I think Chris Brown does it well … More like pop artists, they’re more into hits. I’m not hit-driven. I get a lot of songs that people call me about being on or being involved in, and then I hear them later and they’re like smash hits and I’m like, “Oh, I could have had that as a hit.” But I’m not so concerned because I’m not really trying to carve out this whole hit-monster energy. I want to be the thing you go to after you had all of that and had enough of all of that. That’s my market. That’s my little lane right there.
SENTINEL: D’Angelo is having a similar comeback like you did in 2009. How does it feel to see his return?
Maxwell: I’m a fan. I couldn’t not respect what he does. We’re one year apart in age and we came up around the same time. It’s great, great, great news to hear that. It really is.