Bronx-born, Boricua-bred singer Maxine Ashley understands that in a time when artists are constantly churning out new music and patrons are readily consuming it, sometimes you have to spit flames and dance around a fire to get noticed. Maxine’s self-awareness kicked in at kindergarten, where she was made by school officials to sing Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” as her father – running late – made his way to pick her up. His absence was a pathway of sorts to realizing the dream: a life of music.
After years of flexing her killer pipes and covering some of your favorite songs from the comfort of her own bed, Maxine and her rebel spirit garnered fans from around the globe and made champions out of fellow artists like Pharrell Williams who signed her to his i am OTHER venture. Now clocking in the hours at varied studios across NYC and London, the Puerto Rican misfit continues to mesmerize audiences as she readies her debut LP.
Maxine, who credits musical influences like The Smiths and Beyoncé, is an irresistible sancocho of throwback R&B, funk rock, urban pop and new school hip-hop. In her latest single and music video “Lobster” she waxes homegrown poetics inspired by her family’s Latinidad and abuela’s love of cooking lobster. The slowdown trap beat coupled with Maxine’s lusty crooning demonstrates the singer’s artistic flare and bolsters her ability to appeal to the masses.
Hailed as one of the most exciting voices to come out of the Boogie Down, Maxine Ashley is ready for the world. Get acquainted.
I grew up listening to:
Well, my parents are both of Puerto Rican Decent. I was born and raised in the Bronx, New York, so I pretty much grew up listening to reggae, reggaeton, salsa, bachata and hip-hop. Really, my family is pretty musical, so I had the opportunity to listen to a wide range of genres, which has shaped me musically today.
MLK moment (realizing the dream):
In kindergarten, my dad forgot to pick me up on time. So I started walking around and singing Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On,” which was popular at the time. Everyone who heard it loved it, and by the time my dad finally arrived they had me singing on stage and sh*t– MY HEART WILL GO ON! [Laughs]
What most people don’t know:
What most people don’t know is that I have so much music I want to put out, but can’t, due to label delay. I would’ve had an album out already or like 2 EPs out by now.
The hardest project I’ve ever worked on:
The hardest project I’ve worked on myself, which is ongoing and everyday. I’m always evolving through my music. My appearance and character have continuously changed over the years. I’m starting to love the person I’m becoming.
My style has been compared to:
My style hasn’t really been compared to anything ’cause it’s so random. I’m pretty much a chameleon with it. My style is really down to how I feel, which reflects what I put on any given day. It’s more fun that way!
Standout records/music wins:
I recorded a track with DJ Alex Guadino (“I’m in Love”) that gained 19 million views, which was really dope. At the time, I was a big fan of Alicia Keys and actually auditioned her song “A Woman’s Worth” on American Idol for Kids! [Laughs] If you recall, the song is produced by Kerry “Krucial” Brothers who also produced my debut EP Mood Swings. Another win would be Pharrell Williams’ wife Helen discovering me on YouTube – that was dope! And then there’s having my newest music video “Lobster” out now.
To be real, my ultimate goal is to be happy and to spread my music around the world.
Current favorite song (not your own):
“Se Me Nota” by Fuego and produced by Sango. Omg, I love it!
Do sh*t that makes you happy. If you don’t believe in yourself no one else will!