Interview: The Spotlight with Brittney Shawntè

A massive thanks to Brittney Shawnte of the Spotlight for this artist feature! Check out the interview below:

“This is probably the most features I’ve done in one given week! Keeping me busy, but I’m truly honored to be able to do it. As always, if you are or represent an upcoming star in the entertainment industry (music, fashion, writing, etc.), please visit ourFeatures/Submissions page for more information on how to be featured! 

Last month, I featured Australian-based R&B producer/artistMaximo’s track “Hesitate,” which I loved so much! So glad I had the opportunity to ask him some questions about his journey in music. Maximo grew up in a very creative family filled with singers, dancers, poets, designers and more. His own father is a self-taught pianist who Maximo looked to for inspiration. “As a kid, I would listen to him play and then sneak up afterwards and try to copy what he did,” the artist said.

It actually wasn’t in Maximo’s original plan to pursue it full time. He created beats and used recording software, but really considered music just a hobby. “When I was in high school the dream was to pursue playing basketball seriously. I really thought I’d be in the NBA by now,” he joked. In college, he was actually enrolled in an Exercise Science program, but a chance meeting in the music department at Griffith University changed his path. “It was quite a sudden realization that creating music was what I wanted to pursue as a career,” Maximo admitted. “I realized it was the first thing I thought about when I woke up and the last thing on my mind before I went to sleep.” With that strong passion, Maximo decided to work towards making music full time.

Though Maximo is from Australia, he was raised on a lot of American music, including 90s R&B. However, in recent years, he’s seen many talented artists throughout Brisbane, who are passionate about their craft just like he is. “As a keys player and backing vocalist, I’ve been lucky enough to play with some of Brisbane’s finest live musicians, especially in the funk/ R&B/ soul circuits,” the singer said. “And I think this has had a big influence on the flavor of my own recordings.” He’s also been inspired by Stevie Wonder, Darkchild, Ryan Leslie, Kanye West, and more, all in different ways. Maximo is definitely a jack of all trades, producing, singing, writing, and rapping, so it makes perfect sense that he draws inspiration from other great singers, rappers, and producers in the game! 

His song “Hesitate,” was actually written late one night after Maximo left a party, reflection on tension between himself and a girl. “Essentially the song looks into the inner conflict that arises when, for whatever reason, you resist the heart’s desires,” he explained. “It actually started more as spoken word or poetry, but as I got into the studio I was able to create a soundscape and add a melody that really helped to convey these emotions. The song is probably more honest than anything I’ve written in the past.” Everything on this track, from the songwriting and production, to the instruments and vocals, is all him! He actually creates most of his music on his own, typically. “I’ve gotten used to being responsible for every step in the creative process, which is super rewarding when you’re finished, but can also be a bit draining in the process,” Maximo admitted. “Honestly I wouldn’t have it any other way, although sometimes it can be really cool to collaborate with other artists and instrumentalists.”

Currently the artist is working on a few different projects. He’s been developing and rehearing for a live show for another R&B artists, as well as writing and arranging songs for another recording project, and organizing some upcoming releases for a few Brisbane artists that he’s produced. “In between these though, I’m enjoying being able to continue writing and recording my own material and coming up with some new and unusual musical ideas,” Maximo stated. 

Though he acknowledges that are a lot of great artists out right now, Maximo believes it’s his versatility and sense of musicality that sets him apart from the pack. “I enjoy exploring the obscure – especially intricate harmony, unusual textures and solid grooves – so hopefully I can do this in a way that’s engaging for the listener,” he stated. “Also, if you’re listening to a song of mine, it’s likely that I’ve not only sung on the track, but also written the song, produced and mixed the recording, and played the instruments. I think it’s kind of cool that I can listen back to a song knowing that each part of the track is a part of me and a reflection of what I’m about.” 

In terms of Maximo’s future in the industry, he wants to keep learning and developing his craft as a producer, songwriter, and artist. He hopes to also continue working with other artists that will challenge him to be a better musician. “Sure, being the superstar artist would be awesome, but I’d also be just as happy playing a role that’s a little more behind the scenes,” he admitted. “A lot of my goals tend to be introspective and based on personal growth, so as long as I’m always moving forward and bettering myself as an artist and individual, I’ll be happy. I’m blessed to be able to do what I love for a living, and for this I’m very grateful.”

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