Malaïka Maxwell shuts 'm up with new single and video "Talking"

SAINT MARTIN -- So my five days in Saint Maarten last week went by like a roller coaster with hardly any sleep and my boi Francisco dragging me from event to event, showing off the roster of artists that he boasts at his Karibbean Riddim agency. Friday night April 19 was one such stop on the roller coaster.

I walked into Eden Roof Top not knowing what to expect; I didn’t even know that this cozy little Jazz spot now exists where Airport Road and Simpson Bay Road merge, giving the most perfect view of the airport runway and the Simpson Bay Lagoon and its Causeway. All I knew was what it said on the flyer that Francisco had sent me. It read “Malaïka Maxwell … Talking”. Video Watch Party and Live Performance", with a date, a time and a location.


I asked who that was, but my boi decided to act mysterious.

“Garçon ! See you there at 7.15 pm. PROMPT!” he instructed. “Okay playa!” I responded obediently. Knowing him, I knew I was probably in for a treat.

I walked in just before Malaïka started talking. About people talking.

“People talkin’ they washboard mouth on people without realizing the impact that it has. I myself have been collateral damage of that, so as an artist I needed to find a way to channel the emotions,” she started.

The crowd of about 20 people who all seemed to know each other laughed out loud. And I thought to myself “oohh this is some personal inside island melee goin’ on here boy.” And it didn't matter to me, because by then I could see the treat materializing that Francisco had promised me non-verbally. 

Malaïka didn’t dive into the melee she was hinting at, but rather went from talking to singing. And that voice filled the room as she did some covers. Two I had not heard before, but flawless is a good description of the third,a rendition of Anita Baker’s "Sweet Love" , with a naughty wink at her husband who was enjoying the show with the rest of the crowd.


And then came the moment that we were there for. The moment for which Francisco had lured me out of my hotel room for: Malaïka had gathered us all there for the launch of her new music video for her new single called Talking. 

“I wanted to have a 'man in the mirror vibe' in this video,” she explained before it played on the wide screen.

And if the song was intended to quiet people up, the video certainly did that to the room.

Everyone went mum as Talking went from sweet to playful and then on to naughty, while never skipping the message.

It scored a resounding "WHOA!" from the audience when it ended and then the room erupted in loud applause.

And this definitely ain't no pity clap,” someone remarked on beat.

More laughter.


What a crowd! What a night! What a vibe!

Malaïka is certainly one to watch.

Her website says that she was born on Saint-Martin, she was surrounded by music at home. Her involvement in her father's gospel band helped her to realize her love for music from early on. With years of classical music training under her belt, Malaïka moved to Martinique in 1999, where she made her way onto the musical scene. She has worked as a background vocalist with some of the greatest in French Reggae, among which the group 4 Hard Way, Tiwony, Lusdy, Mounia, Valley, Pleen Pyroman, Mc Janik.

She did occasional background vocals for various local artists such as Percy Rankin and Remo, who both gave her the opportunity to take the stage as a lead singer during their performances. Malaïka is also known for her studio background vocals and has worked for many artists of the island: Jérémie Huot, Twin Monarchy, D.O Gizzle, Fatta and King Vers among others.  She was also an active member of the group AKOUSTYLE.

In 2012 she founded OUALICHI PRODUCTIONS with her sister Heidy Maxwell and lifelong friend and stage partner Shakiya Arrindell (2016 St. Maarten Calypso Monarch). This association aims to put on productions blending diverse art forms featuring artists that are not household names.


Oualichi Productions provides a platform for local talent to showcase their various gifts in an effort to promote the beauty and variety of art in all its forms.

Her growing experience and never-ending hard work have helped Malaika to perfect her singing (even though she often states that she is far from perfection). Her idols are soulful singers Etta James and Jill Scott who serve as very big sources of inspiration to her.

Although Reggae is her first love she has discovered a much more intimate way of communicating with her audience through soul and acoustic music- thus expanding her range.

In 2016 Malaïka received the National Institute of Arts “Emerging Artist Award 2016”, which recognized her “level of discipline, professionalism, creativity and vision” in the Arts.


She performed solo for the first time at AXUM ART CAFÉ in Philipsburg in 2016 and this live performance, “The Journey to Me” spanned over two hours and told her very intimate but relatable story.

The response from the public and press was more than what the singer anticipated, confirming that she could no longer hide in the shadows. She has since then successfully produced and performed at countless live events gathering between 200 to 300 persons each year.

Her first original, “This Journey” was released in 2017 as a spin off from her solo concert series “The Journey to me”. In 2021, her collaboration “Apran Enmew” with French Artist Fred Deshayes took the Caribbean dancefloors by storm. Then she released a zouk/kizomba cover of hit title track from Ella Mai “Naked”.

She left me wondering “is Europe next?”


Marvin Hokstam


Marvin (HOX) Hokstam is a journalist, writer and educator, and a habitual things-upside-down-turner.