Gerald Maxwell Rivera, (born May 23, 1973), better known by his stage name Maxwell, is an American singer-songwriter, record producer, and actor. Maxwell's career began after he was bought a cheap keyboard, by 1991 he was performing on the New York City club scene. Following Maxwell's performances he began to draw interests and eventually signed a recording contract with Columbia Records in 1994. Maxwell's debut Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite (1996) was released after being shelved for nearly a year, due to record executives' doubts of its sales potential. Despite an initial lack of mainstream interest, Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite experienced a boost in sales and within a year it had sold one million copies.