and raised in the fishing village of Carenage on Trinidads west coast, Edghill
Thomas, was at first Magadan. He made a name for himself with a few local hits
and was eager to collaborate with more established artistes. Although he was more
than capable of standing on his own, he was prepared to learn how to survive in
the music industry by walking with those who travelled the road before him.
He says of the time: It wasnt just a name change but a realisation
of what I wanted to be, a leader not a follower. I wanted to bring a different
element to the soca industry. It was so normal to sing a party song, festival
tune, or road march contender, simply seeking a limited goal of touring after
carnival (and settling for that). I wanted to stand out. I wanted to teach. I
wanted people to listen -- not just follow instructions, like put yuh hand in
He signed with Main Street Records in 1997, becoming one
of the first artists out of Trinidad to work with a major Jamaican label. Under
the supervision of producer Danny Browne, he was a featured artiste on the single
Do you see what I see on the filthy rhythm with label mates Red Rat, Hawkeye,
Goofy, General Degree and others. The rhythm sold well globally.
2000, when Magadan became Maximus Dan, he had a string of hits with his own style
of soca music. Using his unmistakable voice to deliver conscious messages over
driving blends of soca and dancehall music.
Obeah Man, Lash Satan, War,
Kick It Way, Soca Train, Hosanna Fire, Earthquake, Order are just a few
of the offerings he has stamped on the national consciousness.
was always a man who liked to share knowledge. I grew up around people like that,
so I felt being in that environment I wanted to bring that into my music and into
the soca arena. It was hard in the beginning cause everybody felt like I
was preachin in the party, says Maximus.
I was always
my own worst critic so I would sit down before I format a song and study what
are the things to appeal to people beats, pulse, the instruments and the
cords if you catch them with the music thats how you draw them in.
I make sure the beats are so infectious the words follow automatically.
I am still trying to find the perfect formula, there is always room
for improvement and growth. When people listen they actually learn, and a good
listener is a good learner. Its all well and good to have a good time but
you will have in the back of your mind at least one entertainer gave a message
Wonder, Sam Cooke, Ras Shorty, Bob Marley; they focused on the betterment and
education of mankind that was the prime purpose of the music, for you to get the
music and for you to live it out at the same time. We artistes are human beings
too and we have so much power with the microphone in our hands, but when we come
off that stage we go back to normal life and its about practicing what you
are preaching as well you need to live what you teach I try to be
the best I can be every single day.
When the news came that Trinidad
and Tobagos national football team had qualified for the FIFA 2006 World
Cup the streets erupted in spontaneous euphoria. The song on everyones lips,
some with tears streaming down their faces was Soca Warrior by Maximus Dan.
It was a gift to the nation from a true patriot, an artist who has always
used his pen to awaken our social consciousness.
The song was written
in 2005 at a time when the team needed to feel lifted.
I wanted to have a song to sing to infinity til God come. I didnt
want it to just be a football song.
This is his approach to all
things, and what characterizes him as a messenger of the people.
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