Gerald Maxwell Rivera, Haitian-Puerto Rican neo-soul singer

Gerald Maxwell Rivera, born in Brooklyn, birthdate of May 23, 1973, is a Haitian-Puerto Rican neo-soul singer. Rivera, who goes by the stage name Maxwell, recorded his first album, Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite, with song composer Leon Ware and well-known guitarist Wah Wah Watson. The studio tracks were laid down in the early 1990s, but the album was not released until 1996, due to Columbia Records skittishness about its worth.

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Columbia's reservations about Urban Hang Suite appeared correct, because audiences did not respond well, until the second single, "Ascension (Don't Ever Wonder)", caught fire and sold over 2,000,000 copies, achieving double-platinum success. Subsequently, the album became nominated for a Grammy Award. In June of 1997, Gerald Maxwell Rivera appeared on MTV Unplugged, performing his album material, along with Kate Bush's "This Woman's Work" and Nine Inch Nails' "Closer". Again, the artist and Columbia Records tangled over issuing an album of his MTV Unplugged concert, and ended up only issuing an EP.

His next major success came when he released an R. Kelly-written single "Fortunate", hitting #1 on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles. It became the #1 single in 1999. He hit #1 again on Billboard's 200 album and R&B album charts with his third album, with the hit track "Lifetime".

His most recent album, BLACKsummer's night, issued in July 2009, landed at #1 on Billboard Albums Top 200 chart, making it his second consecutive album to accomplish this feat. Its single "Pretty Wings" has enjoyed much exposure as an audio clip on Gerald Maxwell Rivera's Myspace page, a world premiere selection on Tom Joyner's Morning Show, a re-mix, and as a digital download on iTunes. "Pretty Wings" has gone onto being nominated, both as the 2010 Grammy's "Song of the Year", and his "Best Male R&B Vocal Performance" for it. A final acknowledgment of "Pretty Wings" staying power is that Maxwell performed it at Michael Jackson's memorial tribute.

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