Meaning of “Lake By The Ocean” by Maxwell

The premise of this song is that of a recovery from a breakup by finding a deeper love connection with another person.

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Maxwell's Lake at

Maxwell uses natural elements such as being burned by the sun, going through storm and having a coffin for a bed to signify the emotional pain he felt. He has been able to overcome this hurt because he found love in another person. Apparently, this new lover is the reason he feels stronger and more fulfilled in life.

The singer likens his love for her to a lake rather than an ocean. By this, he wants to say that he is content with smaller, compact and less turbulent relationships than a bigger, vague and tempestuous one.

 Maxwell further expresses his admiration for his lover and encourages her that they can weather every storm if they keep loving and trusting each other.

Maxwell’s remarks on this song

Maxwell mentioned in an interview on the Tom Joyner Morning Show the meaning of this song. According to him, the song represents searching and failing in love after being hurt, and basically finding happiness in smaller things like a lake, when an entire ocean is nearby.

Lyrics of "Lake By The Ocean"

Facts about “Lake by the Ocean”

  • “Lake by the Ocean” was composed and produced by Maxwell. In producing the song, Maxwell received assistance from his regular musical associate, Hod David. For this reason, David is also credited as a producer.
  • Maxwell made this song available on April 8th, 2016. He released it as a single from his 5th studio album, named, blackSUMMERS’night. “Lake by the Ocean” is featured on this album as the 4th track.
  • The video for this neo-soul single was filmed by the American video director Philip Andelman, who is known for directing music videos for many renowned artists.
  • The song’s video was shot in the Dominican Republic and Haiti. It was premiered on the 26th of May 2016.

Did “Lake by the Ocean” win a Grammy?

Yes. It scooped the award in the category of Best R&B Song at the 2017 Grammy Awards.

How did “Lake by the Ocean” do on the charts?

Despite being good enough to win a Grammy, the track apparently wasn’t strong enough to hit its expected heights on the charts of several countries across the world. However, it peaked at #1 on Billboard magazine’s Adult R&B Songs chart and #50 on the magazine’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs.

2 Responses

  1. Vivett says:

    Great analysis. Would like to read one of your books one day. Thank you. I love this song so much.

  2. Kaye says:

    The meaning of this song is profound! And while he prefers the lake(me too by the way) the depth of this song is…like an ocean.(pun intended)

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