Mardell Maxwell
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Mardell Maxwell


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"Rapper XV and Mardell Maxwell to play Josie’s with DJ J.Tuck"

In what is slated to be one of the hottest concerts Emporia has ever seen, rapper XV and R&B singer Mardell Maxwell will be performing this Saturday along DJ J.Tuck and DJ Budd.

Jordan Tucker, also known as J.Tuck, said he helped put together the show because he thought it would be a great idea for Emporia.

"I am so excited for this concert," Tucker, a senior integrated studies major, said. "Emporia really hasn’t had a real major hip-hop concert since I’ve been here, and that’s been about five years now. Emporia deserves a hot concert, and this one will certainly deliver."

Tucker said XV (Donavan Johnson), contacted Josie’s with the idea for the show, and the two of them worked to put it all together.

"I’ve known XV from his recent work," Tucker said. "He has produced a couple songs of mine, We’ve never met face-to-face, but he told me he was interested in doing a show in Emporia to start the Complex Tour. We started brainstorming on the phone one night. I figured the biggest night in Emporia would be after the first home football game."

Maxwell was thrown into the mix because of his connections to Tucker and XV.

"I’ve heard Mardell Maxwell’s music through Facebook and My Space," Tucker said. "I am a fan of his work, so I figured he might as well join, and put the two together. XV and Mardell also did a song together that was produced by Kanye West called "Checkmate."

Maxwell, a senior studying business management at Kansas State University, said he wanted to perform in Emporia because he has friends in the area.

"Many of my friends in Emporia have never seen me perform before," he said "My genre is R & B, but this show will be something a little different, something a little special. I understand that Saturday is ESU’s first home football game, so hopefully it will a celebration of victory. It will be a high-energy show."

Maxwell, a Junction City native, plans to transfer to New York University in the spring to finish his music degree in music performance and music business. He has gained a reputation in the performing arts arena, with leading roles in the musicals, "The King and I," "Singing in the Rain" and "Annie".

Maxwell, who released the album "Changes" on July 7, recently opened for rap recording artist Paul Wall in Los Angeles.

"That was my greatest opportunity thus far in my career," Maxwell said. "It allowed me to network with fans and producers. Some of those produced songs on my new album, which will be made available at the show."

Maxwell said if people will come out to Josie’s, they will enjoy the show.

"I plan to do a few numbers off "Changes," he said. "And I’ll do some new ones, fresh off the studio that no one has heard before, that I will be releasing this spring. If people show up, XV and myself will take care of the rest."

XV will headline the show, with special guest Stikk Figa, part of the Royalty City Family, from Topeka.

XV, a Wichita, Kan. native, founded his own record label, Royalty Records.

"As far as XV goes, he’s a rap artist that isn’t like a lot of rap artists out today," Tucker said. "He doesn’t talk about violence and stuff like that. He is often compared to Kanye West a lot. I saw him perform in Wichita about 5 months ago and it was a pretty hot concert. He had dancers and DJs, and he brought a lot of energy. I knew if he came here, he wouldn’t half do it. He’d go all out."

Tucker said the show would not be the typical rap concert and would appeal to those who think they don’t like rap.

"It would change their whole perspective on rap," he said. "For those who think rap is bad or is degrading to women, XV doesn’t talk about that. He has a song called, ‘I’m just a boy from Kansas.’ A lot of people can relate to that. Especially around this area. A lot of people can relate to what he’s talking about, not just minorities."

For those who have never heard of these artists, radio interviews and live music from the artists will be broadcast from 6 to 7 p.m., this Saturday on 103.1 (KISS FM).

Tucker said he encouraged people to not wait until the last minute to come out because of the limited capacity at Josie’s.

"Don’t wait until late, you won’t get in," he said. "It’s going to be packed to maximum capacity. I personally feel that because these guys have been all over that any day now, they could be on MTV or BET. Five years from now, someone could be saying, ‘I saw those guys perform in Emporia for 3 or 5 dollars.’

"They could be looking back thinking it was a night to remember, and they were there. Just imagine seeing Kanye West perform when you were in high school before he really took off. Next time, you never know with these guys, it may cost thousands of dollars to see them."

This Saturday, Josie’s Bar will present "The Complex Tour," the show starts at at 9 p.m.

Written by Mary Ann Redeker
Thursday, 20 September 2007
- "The Bulletin" Emporia State University


LP- "The Freshman" 2004
LP- "Superstar" 2005
LP- "Changes" 2007 (Radio Airplay)



Born and raised in Junction City, Kansas, Mardell Maxwell bred his passion for music from a young age. As a child, Maxwell sang in the neighborhood church choir and took cues from his mother who held the position of head of music ministries. Today, it is clear that his daily music lessons are paying off. Maxwell has gain a reputation as a talented triple threat in the performing arts arena. His previous work includes leading roles in popular musicals such as “Singing in the Rain”, “The King and I” and “Annie”. As a current student at Kansas State University studying Business Management and Music, Maxwell made a name for himself in the university performing arts scene during his very first semester of college when he received a major role in the hit musical “Grease”. His powerful vocals and talented stage presence impressed audiences across the state.
After this success, Maxwell decided to take his talent one step further and emerged from the performing arts scene ready to pursue a career in the music industry. In 2004, at the raw age of 18, Maxwell began writing songs for his first compilation titled “The Freshman”. The independent album sold 1,500 copies within its first month of release, solidifying Maxwell’s path towards a successful music career. After two fruitful years of performing and recording, Maxwell continues to make his mark one song and one performance at a time. Listeners across the country have embraced his music and talented performing skills as they flock to see him in several cities and venues such as Hollywood’s famous Key Club, The Knitting Factory and The Gig. He has also performed in cities such as San Antonio, Kansas City and St. Louis. Maxwell also has experience opening for popular musicians, such as rap recording artist Paul Wall. As a clear sign of his success, Maxwell’s popular recordings such as “Wish You Were Mine” have been ranked as high as 2nd on the R&B/Pop charts out of the 20,000 songs listed ( while “Walk With Me” has been a part of the top 5.

What clearly distinguishes Mardell Maxwell as an artists is his creative ability to combine crisp vocals, smooth rifts and rhythmic flavors while he conveys deep and real messages. Maxwell’s cool smooth swagger embodies the Mid-West musical movement. Because he was raised listening to and studying everything from gospel to classical music, his voice is developed and matured enough to powerfully capture and control attention through the emotion he expresses. Maxwell’s music embodies a youthful, rhythmic feeling that will take you from love to a party mood and back in love again.