Maxwell (the name of his biological father; he chooses to keep his full birth name private) was born of mixed Puerto Rican and Hatian heritage . Maxwell began exploring his interest in music at the age of 17 by writing and arranging songs on a tiny Casio keyboard. He eventually got a record deal with Columbia Records in 1994 when he was 21 years old. His loss of his father at the age of three had a great impact on him as a person and as an artist. Maxwell played keyboard in church during his youth; however, he was not aware of his vocal talent during adolescence. His vocal ability was later discovered during a romantic affair which inspired the music for his first music release “Urban Hang Suite.” Maxwell was heavily inspired by the work of artists such as Marvin Gaye, Prince, Sade, and lastly Anita Baker who he gives credit to “teaching him how to sing.”
The name “Maxwell” also appears to be used by a hip hop beat producer from Oldenburg, Germany.