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MAX on love, music, and discovering one’s strength

MAX interview press conference

The moment Max greeted the press people with so much enthusiasm, we knew right away that the interview was going to be fun and chill.

Despite the heat, Max, clad in a multicolored rider jacket, was all smiles when he approached the microphone at the press conference. He casually talked to everyone at TGI Friday’s U.P. Town Center on April 5. Max stood the entire time because he said that he feels comfortable interacting with us that way instead of sitting down.

He set the mood by replying to everyone in detail, answering every question with delight and obvious authenticity. Ever the charmer, he praised each interviewer—clothes, hair, everything—at the end of each session.

He was the focus of the event, but he did not forget to give recognition to his bandmates during the session. The band also answered some of the questions because Max directed the questions to them.  One of the said bandmates is Cody, the half-Filipino pianist and saxophonist who co-wrote multiple tracks on Max’s discography.

What MAX learned from Pharell

“Pharell told me to always stay humble when I was young, and I always carried that [advice] with me,” Max replied when asked about the best advice that he has received from a fellow musician. “The ups and downs are forever, but as long as you’re happy with yourself, you can get through all of it, no matter the highs or lows. 

His humility was also felt when he gave a message to his Filipino fans.

“I love you. Salamat. Thank you so much for listening. I can’t wait to just give everybody a hug if I can. It’s gonna be really fun to do this with you guys.” 

Since the release of his latest album, “LOVE IN STEREO,” in January, Max has been putting out new music nonstop this year. The album contains twelve songs, featuring the hits “Stupid in Love” with LE SSERAFIM’s Huh Yunjin and “It’s You” with Keshi. 

The title of the album, “LOVE IN STEREO,” was based on the important milestones in his life, like the birth of his first daughter (the one that made him write the twelfth track, “Edie Celine”) and his fruitful marriage with his wife of eight years. It was also inspired by the different forms of love that made him grow as a person. 

We were given the chance to ask Max a few questions about music, discovering one’s strength, and his experience in the Philippines so far.

Can you describe your newest album, “LOVE IN STEREO,” in five words?

Okay, I’m gonna say the “passion” thing again. “Vulnerability”. “Authenticity”, hopefully. I’m gonna put “groovy” in there. I’m gonna say “stripped” only because there’s “It’s You” and it’s one of those very stripped-down songs.

You’ve been in the music industry for more than two decades. So, what is your advice to someone who wants to pursue a career in music?

Find your superpowers. I’m a short king and I celebrate it very often. You know, I feel like there’s a lot of short kings and queens here in the Philippines. So happy.

But I think that was a thing I was insecure about for a lot of my life. I think that the things you’re insecure about are sometimes your superpowers. The things that set you apart from everybody else can be your thing. The best advice that I could give is to accept and love yourself. I’m not gonna grow ten more inches so why be insecure? I just think that it’s important to accept yourself. The sooner you do, the more you will thrive.

We have a scenario game for you. We’ll give you three different scenarios, and you’ll have to pick a song from your album that perfectly fits each one.

First scenario: Going on a summertime night drive with the person you love the most. 

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”Keep it Chill” is the song. Again, it might be a “sleeper”, but that’s the one song some people enjoy. So, “Keep it Chill.”

Second scenario: Sharing earphones with the love of your life.

Oh! “It’s You” by Keshi. Yeah, that one!

Last scenario: Quoting one of his songs for a wedding vow. 

Oh, the song to be added to a wedding vow? This is tough. I mean, “Stupid in Love” is like a wedding song. They get a little drunk, and they’re like, “Oh, let’s have some fun and dance,” so I feel like that one. But for the wedding vows, I’m just gonna say “It’s You” again because that feels like the one for wedding vows.

What Filipino foods have you tried so far?

Oh my gosh, we’ve had Sinigang today, yeah. Love that. What else did we have? Chicken adobo? Sisig? Delicious. It’s really great.

“LOVE IN STEREO” is available on all major streaming platforms. 

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