Conrad Sewell
Conrad Sewell | Credit: Brittany Long/WireImage

Love Letter to a Record: Conrad Sewell on Maxwell’s ‘Pretty Wings’

Music Feeds’ Love Letter to a Record series asks artists to reflect on their relationship with the music they love and share stories about how it has influenced their lives. Here, Conrad Sewell confesses his love for Maxwell’s 2009 single ‘Pretty Wings’.

The rollout of Conrad Sewell’s upcoming second solo album got off to a rocky start. The album’s lead single, ‘God Save the Queen’, dropped on 9th September, just as Australians were waking up to the news of Queen Elizabeth II’s death. But Sewell made up for this unfortunate coincidence by releasing a further three singles before the end of 2022 – the arena pop-rock song ‘Make Me a Believer’, the Americana slow-burner ‘Caroline’ and the power ballad ‘Rolling Thunder’.

Conrad Sewell’s Love Letter to Maxwell’s ‘Pretty Wings’

Conrad Sewell: My friends will all laugh when they hear this because this song is my ringtone. It’s the song I play when I’ve had one too many. It’s the song I’ve made 20 grown men dance around a pool to at Christmas time. It’s the song I play when I’m trying to make my wife dance with me. For some reason, since the day I first heard it, it’s spoken straight to the love-making, R&B crooner inside my soul.

I first found Maxwell when he covered Kate Bush’s ‘This Woman’s Work’. I was immediately touched by his voice and right after this, I discovered ‘Pretty Wings’. I remember watching him perform it at the BET Awards in 2009, dressed in an immaculate white Tom Ford suit. When the chorus hit, white feathers dropped from the roof and floated down all over the audience. I knew in that moment this song was something special.

From the minute you hear the 6/8 beat, you’re immediately drawn into the rhythm of the song. Pair that with the soft entry of Maxwell’s sultry tone, and it immediately transports me to a room that is pure white, with white doves flying around. One of the predominant things in the arrangement are the horns, which is my musical guilty pleasure. There can never be enough and in this song they are perfection.

Skip to three minutes in, and for the next 45 seconds, close your eyes, lean back and let your arms flop to understand what I’m talking about. The beauty, sexiness and pure genius of this song culminates at this very moment as the horns come in. Just when you think it’s all about to be over, the horns take the lead and fly you to another planet.

This song will get you through the worst times and create the best times. Thank you Maxwell for blessing the world with this masterpiece.

Conrad Sewell – ‘Rolling Thunder’ (Live at The Village)

Further Reading

Conrad Sewell Announces ‘An Intimate Evening With…’ Shows For November & December

Georgia Maq on Her Favourite Cover Songs: Lana Del Rey, Jamie T and More

The Best Australian Albums of 2022

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