Maxwell, Jill Scott Gear Up for 'Summer' Tour
Eric Johnson

Maxwell says that his upcoming tour with Jill Scott is "my dream come true, basically."

The two R&B singers kick off a 20-show run on May 21 in Cleveland. Maxwell will close each night, but he tells Billboard.com that he's hoping he and Scott will collaborate at some point during the night. "I would love to. I think it would be great," Maxwell says. "I think it would be great to create something special like that because she's just so good, you know? It's two different shows; she's got her own look and her own thing she's doing visually and stagewise, and I have my own thing. But hopefully we'll be able to overlap the show, somehow. I think people deserve that, something special like that."

Maxwell says he's met Scott on a couple of occasions, including a 2008 BET Awards tribute to Al Green and this year's NAACP Awards, but is looking forward to getting better acquainted during the tour. "I'm sure we'll be hanging out and, y'know, she'll probably teach me what to do on stage, vocally," Maxwell notes. "I could probably benefit from her wisdom."

He'll also have some recording gear on the road with him, just in case. "Y'know, I work with very few (guests) on my albums, but it would be great. I just hope I can hold up, 'cause Jill is just a monster."

Maxwell, meanwhile, is still feeling "incredibly good" about his own monster -- 2009's "BLACKsummers'night," his first album in eight years, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 last July, went platinum and won two Grammy Awards. Maxwell also made history as the first male artist to score three consecutive No. 1 hits -- "Pretty Wings," "Bad Habits" and "Fistful of Tears" -- on the Urban Adult airplay chart. He predicts that another one or two singles are possible from "BLACKsummers'night" ("Love You" and "Stop the World" are the odds-on favorites), but he's also putting the finishing touches on its follow-up, "BlackSUMMERS'night," which he expects to release some time between September and February, possibly previewing one of the new songs in his upcoming live shows.

"I don't want to given exact date," he explains, "because I don't want to have people wait and have it get pushed back. Then it looks like you're nervous or something's wrong when there's nothing wrong. You're just trying to make sure all the ducks are in a row."

Maxwell, who will complete the trilogy with "Blacksummers`NIGHT," says he has all the songs together for "BlackSUMMERS'night," with "some overdubs" still left to record. He describes the set as "a hybrid of music," with "a little bit of a rock element" influenced by groups such as the xx, Temper Trap, Fleet Foxes and Animal Collective. "There's a Coachella festival guy in me that loves all the indie rock stuff," Maxwell says. "So I want to put that in there in a really subtle way -- sprinkle it on there but keep the soul, keep the blues. That's what I'm known for, so why go too far off the beaten path, y'know?"

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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