Abel Maxwell, the Man Who Inspired Thousands With His Work, Talks About What Inspires Him
During his career, Abel Maxwell has become many different things to many different people. For some, he’s a best-selling author. For others, he’s a voice they’ve heard on the radio, either in one of his songs or through his work with the University of Ottawa’s CHUO 89.1 Tropic FM radio station. He’s also known for his humanitarian efforts, which saw him recognized with an award from UNESCO, as well as for being the spokesperson for Épelle-Moi Canada.
The one thing about him that all of his appreciators will agree upon, regardless of how they got acquainted with his work, is that Abel Maxwell’s serious about spreading an inspirational message to people. “I want to inspire people to stay strong through the tough times,” he explains, “and never give up on their dreams.”
Abel Maxwell’s presence extends beyond his native Africa, teenage years in Europe, or his current base in North America. The man who’s been inspiring people across half of the world, however, needs somewhere to draw his own inspiration from, too. In the artistic sense, it’s bands like Earth, Wind, and Fire, as well as musicians like Stevie Wonder or J.S Bach who had the most impact on Maxwell. “I take a different bit of inspiration from everyone—songwriting from some artists, and the flair for performance from others,” he says. “What I most admire about the people who inspire me is their ability to spread joy and hope for a better future. That’s what I want to do, too.”
Joy and hope are something the world desperately needs, especially when delivered by someone who knows what life looks like without them and the difficult decisions people must make in their pursuit of happiness. He himself had to decide to uproot his life, and with no funding or any other kind of resources move from France to a country where he didn’t know the North American culture or intricacies nor the official language.
This was a big risk to take, but it gave his message of fighting for the dream a reality through his lived experience. So even though Abel Maxwell doesn’t say that he inspires himself, the journey he had to undertake provides plenty of images he can draw on when creating music, writing, or otherwise communicating his message with the people who need him.
When it comes to making art, inspiration is an important part of his creative process. He isn’t sure when it’s going to strike or what form it will take—sometimes it’s words, other times melodies—but what is sure is that, when it comes, it’s lightning in a bottle. “I record myself on my smartphone as soon as possible, and then move over to the piano to perfect the original idea,” Maxwell describes his process. “I stick to it until I am satisfied with the overall composition, and then move on to arranging the whole composition. I make sure to emphasize the message or the key melody so that it stands out.”
So far, his muse seems to have led him in the right direction. With four albums under his belt, as well as a bestselling book and other creative and performing projects completed and being developed, the well he draws from isn’t going dry anytime soon. “I just keep moving forward,” Abel Maxwell says. “I keep creating, and keep inspiring others to create, whether by writing music, authoring books, or authoring their own lives.”