When I was exactly 15 years old, I was introduced to cable television. To make people want to subscribe to watch more American comedies, National Geographic, CNN, and most importantly, for me, MTV, the cable TV company frequently allows basic tier subscribers to preview other channels for free sometimes for a full week. It was the school holidays when I experienced for the first time, true R&B music never before I’ve experienced other than the R&B/pop hybrids from the likes of Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey. This came in the form of a falsetto-singing afro-man named Maxwell. Because of this one single experience, I discovered HIS influences; Marvin Gaye, Prince, Donnie Hathaway, and more Prince, and eventually I discovered his contemporaries such as Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, D’Angelo and more. This one video changed everything for me.
The song, the lyrics, the music, the guitars, the music video. It was the first time I had done so much homework on an artiste and I wanted to find out where did he come from, what else is he working on. I had even bought a video TAPE off Amazon online, the first thing I ever bought online too, and it was shipped to Singapore, and I had watched it on repeat, well, “til the cops come knockin’” (Please find out what this pun means). I didn’t have YouTube back then. So basically MTV was my only source of what’s new and what’s hot. I can’t sing like him, I can’t even try, but to know that this world outside Malay pop-rock, and Top 40s blew my mind! I had learnt so much from this one Afro dude. I know most of his songs by heart, except for his latest work. (You might recognize him for his duet with Alicia Keys!)
I sang his song, and just like how people tweet to me when they’re out karaoke-ing my tunes, I tweeted to him. Guess what? He replied! I was ecstatic! I was 15 all over again. If I didn’t have 140,000 followers, I would have probably told him that I’m a big fan and shamelessly promoted my own videos, but it would have been so tacky. I should respect his space. He replied to me, I should treasure that and just shut up. Urban Hang Suite, Embrya (I have 3 copies, I don’t know!), Black Summer’s Night, The Best Man Soundtrack, Life Soundtrack, the list goes on! I have your remixes, dude! Your ‘Seguranca’! This one guy changed everything I know about music and he doesn’t even know it. I suppose that’s just a reminder for me, that when I can, I’ll reply to my followers, because you know, it might just spark something in them! Thank you Maxwell, you are the reason! I hope I am the reason for someone out there too.
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