Max Alfred “Maxi” Elliott (born 10 June 1961), known by his stage name Maxi Priest, is a British reggae vocalist of Jamaican descent. He is best known for singing reggae music with an R&B influence, otherwise known as reggae fusion. He was one of the first international artists to have success in this genre, and one of the most successful reggae fusion acts of all time.
Maxi Priest was born in Lewisham, London, the second youngest of nine brothers and sisters. His parents had moved to England from Jamaica to provide more opportunity for their family and he grew up listening to gospel, reggae, R&B, and pop music. He first learned to sing in church, encouraged by his mother, who was a Pentecostal missionary. Maxi grew up listening to Jamaican greats such as Dennis Brown, John Holt, Ken Boothe and Gregory Isaacs as well as singers like Marvin Gaye, Al Green, the Beatles, Phil Collins and Frank Sinatra.
As a teenager, he lifted speaker boxes for the Jah Shaka and Negus Negast sound-systems. He was a founder member of Saxon Studio International, and it was with Saxon that Maxi began performing at neighbourhood youth clubs and house parties.