Born and raised in the fishing village of Carenage on Trinidad’s 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 wasn’t 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 the air.”

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.

Maximus DanIn 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.

“I 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 that’s 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. It’s 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… empowerment, positivity.”

Maximus Dan“Stevie 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 it’s 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 Tobago’s national football team had qualified for the FIFA 2006 World Cup the streets erupted in spontaneous euphoria. The song on everyone’s 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.

Maximus says: “I wanted to have a song to sing to infinity … til God come. I didn’t 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.

Maximus Dan - Something Wicked (Soca Strings)
Maximus Dan & Nigel Rogas - Flag Invasion
Biggie Irie & Maximus Dan - Nah Going Home (Remix)

Maximus Dan - Soca Warrior (Fighter)
Maximus Dan ft Jeunes Agape - Warrior Goal
Maximus Dan - Damn Illiterate (Sahara Riddim)
Maximus Dan - God Army
Maximus Dan - Love Generation
Maximus Dan - Soca Rize
Maximus Dan - Whirlwind

Maximus Dan - Building Shake
Maximus Dan - High Grade (Lava Slide Riddim)
Maximus Dan - Never
Maximus Dan - Order
Maximus Dan - Real Lord
Maximus Dan - Royal

Maximus Dan - Doh Break Yuh Neck
Maximus Dan - Over Huh Head
Maximus Dan - Soca Train
Maximus Dan & Andre Tanker - Hosanna Fire

Real Player will be needed to experience the music

Interview with Maximus Dan

Interview with Maximus Dan
by Andre C.Y. Choo Quan
Interview Date: 21st May 2005
Media: Streaming Video [6:20 min]

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