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Maxwell Says Keeping Artistic Integrity, Giving Back Are His Responsibility

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ABC Radio It’s been a long time coming, but Maxwell‘s latest album, blackSUMMERS’night, is finally here.

It’s been seven years since the release of the similarly titled first album in what is a planned trilogy, and speaking at the Essence Festival, Maxwell says getting the new album the hands of his fans was a relief. 

“I struggle with anxiety, wondering if I’m going to actually meet the challenge and if people are going to appreciate me, years after the fact,” says Maxwell. “I’m very, very specific about trying to make records that outshine the era that they were in and created, and sometimes, sometimes it takes a little bit of time because of that. But it feels great.”

Striving to craft albums that are just not a mélange of singles takes extra effort. “I try to make records that are albums, so that it’s not just a single or this or that,” Maxwell says. “The full album is usually a presentation for me.”

But he’s mindful of the pitfalls of taking so long between records. “You still have to not sound like you just came out of jail ten years ago and you using these sounds that are played out,” he says.

At the Essence Festival, Maxwell was promoting his effort with Verizon to help inner city children get hands-on mobile technology experience.  “I feel like it’s exciting what they’re doing. They’re going into inner cities…encouraging the youth to get involved with technology,” says Maxwell.

It’s part of the singer’s sense of responsibility to his fans, who the R&B veteran says span generations. “When I look out in the audience and I see a full spectrum of people, particularly African-American people…people from all kinds of walks of life, you feel a huge responsibility to sort of maintain your true integrity,” he says.  

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