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Maxwell is back! So you can stop bugging him

“When is the album coming out?” was the refrain Maxwell would get from those anxiously awaiting the follow-up to his last multi-platinum effort, 2001’s “Now.”
/ Source: The Associated Press

Although Maxwell took a few years off from the music industry, recording an album was never far from his mind, chiefly because his die-hard fans were always there to pepper him with questions about his return.

“When is the album coming out?” was the refrain Maxwell would get from those anxiously awaiting the follow-up to his last multi-platinum effort, 2001’s “Now.”

With the release of “BLACKsummers’night,” which debuted at No.1 on Billboard’s Top 200 albums chart and released to near-universal positive reviews, he won’t have to answer that anymore, at least for a while.

“I can’t believe no one is gonna ask me that question,” he said. “That’s the question I’ve heard for the last seven years. ... Now that’s over and I’m just happy people, my cousins and family members went and got it.”

In a recent interview, the 36-year-old talked about his return, future collaborations and how his comeback is affecting his romantic life.

AP: Was there a fear that you wouldn’t be as relevant when you returned?

Maxwell: The fear is always there. I don’t take it for granted. It’s like I’m only filling a spot that somebody else had. It’s gonna be a baton that I’m gonna have to pass on and I’m more than willing to do so because I don’t believe it’s meant to be mine. I’m not the guy who needs to be the guy all the time, everyday. But definitely you have a fear that people will be like ... ‘Good to have you back but now we have Drake or we have this or that.’ I’m pleasantly surprised and grateful.

AP: Your CD is part of a trilogy, and the subsequent CDs will be released in 2010 and 2011. Do you feel like the other two CDs will have to be altered just because every second, everyday our lives and emotions change?

Maxwell: Hopefully with the topics and with what I’ve written and what I’ve experienced I think they’ll be able to stand the test of time. “Pretty Wings” was written not lyrically but musically in 2002. Just before we release (the others) I’ll probably go back to the studio and tweak things here and there.

AP: I know the first single “Pretty Wings” is about your last relationship, but have you been able to be date now that the CD is out and you’re on tour?

Maxwell: I’m trying. I met somebody and there’s a lot of feeling there but it’s tough to try to juggle it with a career. That’s kind of why I wanted to wait too. I want to have a relationship. I got to meet girls who didn’t even know what I did and thought it was funny. “Oh, that’s cute. That’s what you do? Cool, anyway.” To be honest with you I kind of like it. It’s good to be respected but I don’t want people to think like, “Oh my god, he’s like a rocket scientist.”

AP: Have you considered growing back your hair (his full Afro was his signature look for years)?

Maxwell: (Laughs) I probably will. Thank God I can. That’s the one cool thing, there’s an option. I’m kind of happy. I’ve got some of my friends who have lost their hair. I’m just grateful there is an option.

AP: What’s been the biggest growth you’ve seen in yourself since you debuted in 1996?

Maxwell: I actually can accept love a lot easier. I don’t question it so much. I’m not suspicious as much. I was pretty suspicious. Especially when you start to have celebrity around you, you don’t know if people really like you or if they’ve got stars in their eyes or whatever. I’m much more trusting. I feel a lot more permanent especially with the time away and coming back.

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Maxwell: You know, it’s funny. I did something with Nas for one song help somebody and that’s gonna find its way into the world eventually so we’ll probably do things and add to the album just to keep people kind of coming back to it. You have to keep it fresh but you know I’m not a heavy on a featuring kind of album. I’m old school. I’d love to do a duet. I’d love to do something with Sade. She’s someone I’d love to do a song with. I just love her.

AP: Have you heard anything about the CD she’s working on?

Maxwell: I blogged about it and urged people to keep their ears to the ground for it. That’s the record I’m waiting for. She is Sade, you know?