Flashback: Maxwell Proposes to an Entire Crowd in 1998 - Rolling Stone
×
Home Music Music News

Flashback: Maxwell Proposes to an Entire Crowd in 1998

A remastered, reordered version of the singer’s million-selling ‘Embrya’ LP is set for release on Friday

In September 1998, Maxwell took the stage at the Lady of Soul Awards — an offshoot of the Soul Train Awards that celebrated the achievements of female artists — to perform “Matrimony: Maybe You,” the sly, funky second single from his Embrya album.

Dressed in a straw hat and flowy white, the singer mostly performs effortlessly, sauntering around the stage and never missing a note. He spins and shimmies, and during the second half of the song, joins a single back-up dancer in an amusing sequence of movements that’s heavy on hip-thrusting. He proposes to the entire crowd — “y’all want to get married tonight?” — and later drops into a James Brown–esque split.

Unfortunately for Maxwell, none of this helped “Matrimony: Maybe You,” which failed to become a hit, and Embrya didn’t match the chart success of the singer’s debut. “It was a challenging record,” a Columbia executive told Vibe. But that was the way Maxwell wanted it to be. “I had to do what I wanted to do,” the singer said, “because if you ever do something a certain way because of what people expect, or want, then you’re a slave to it. And I can’t be that, especially with something I love so much.”

Despite the tepid reaction to Embrya in some quarters, it did go on to sell more than a million copies, earning a platinum certification in less than a year. And on Friday, a 20th anniversary edition of the album will be reissued on vinyl. The LP was carefully remastered by Maxwell and his longtime collaborator Stuart Matthewman; they also changed the track order on the record, moving Embrya‘s first song to the end of the album.

Popular on Rolling Stone

Newswire

Powered by
Arrow Created with Sketch. Calendar Created with Sketch. Path Created with Sketch. Shape Created with Sketch. Plus Created with Sketch. minus Created with Sketch.