Reggae stalwart, Maxi Priest, has promised a performance to remember when he takes the stage at this year’s National Rum Day celebrations at Appleton Estate Murray’s Chillin’ in Clarendon today. The event, which is free to the public, begins at 9 p.m.

Born in Lewisham, London, to Jamaican parents, Max “Maxi Priest” Elliott, is one of the most memorable voices from the 80s and 90s. He is known for hits like Just a Little Bit Longer, Close to You, and That Girl, featuring Shaggy. His 1988 rendition of English singer/songwriter Cat Stevens’ Wild World was a huge hit in the US and across Europe, namely Norway, Belgium, Ireland and the Netherlands.

He is currently prepping the release of another studio album, entitled It All Comes Back to Love.

We will seek to learn more about the former carpenter in this week’s 5 Questions With …

1. Was there ever a time you considered doing something other than music? If so, tell us about it.

Of course. My father died when I was 14, so we had to become men very fast. I come from a large family of nine brothers and sisters living a three-bedroom house, so it was always in the back of your head that you had to work, you had to do something. So yes – building trade. And I did that for awhile. All types of buildings trades, but I ended up in carpentry. Music was also a dream. To think that you could become an artiste who could travel the world, or even to another country, was a dream. But yes, definitely, I always thought about doing other things because of circumstances and situations.

2. How do you feel about the Windrush issue?

I see my parents and the people on the Windrush as pioneers, coming from this little giant island, wanting to venture out and explore the world as the world is yours, as it is mine. Then there’s obviously the injustices of coming to a country and having to work hard in difficult situations, facing discrimination through misunderstandings. As the saying goes, “If you want good your nose has to run.” Those folks who came over and all of the other people who came over on boats or planes from other parts of the Caribbean are pioneers, and we have to salute them. Those of us who were born abroad benefited from the these pioneers in so many different ways. I was always taught to find the good in the bad. Not to dwell on the bad.

3. What do you regard as the greatest invention in modern time.

The computer is the greatest invention in modern time. But for me, as a personal choice, it’s the Waze app because I can find out where I’m going without thinking too hard, by pushing the app and not using a map. Lol

4. Where is your favourite chill spot when in Jamaica?

My family home in St. Elizabeth, with my family. Or, if I want to run away and get spoiled, it’s Strawberry Hill, in hills of Blue Mountain. The air the view, the silence, the tranquillity, the chill.

5. Who do you consider the most iconic Jamaican, and why?

Marcus Garvey for me, although I know most people would say Bob Marley. If you listen to Bob Marley, a lot of his teachings come from the great Marcus Garvey, simplifying it so that the common man in this modern time and any time, can somewhat understand himself. I can’t speak of one without the other because the word is powerful. It links us all the way back to our roots and this is really the strength of our people. Knowing where we come from gives us a direction to know and understand where we are going, and what we are trying to achieve. Through the music of Bob, the words of Marcus Garvey echoes with understanding, reminding ourselves what the struggle is really all about and the purpose of our existence. Where we came from, and what little we had, and how far we’ve come, and how far we still have to go. We still have to emancipate ourselves from mental slavery.


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