Liv Warfield has burst onto the scene like a fireball from the sky – hitting the Jimmy Fallon Show, the Arsenio Hall Show and the Late Show with Letterman! That’s a late show trifecta.
Musicians dream about a run like this.
Where did Liv Warfield come from? And where has she been? The powerhouse from Portland (Oregon) was discovered on YouTube by his Royal Purple Majesty…Prince. I first met her at a pre-show Prince press conference at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut in late-December 2013. Liv Warfield and 3rd Eye Girl perform with Prince and were fielding questions from the handful of press folk in the room. Then to close out the chat, they played a sneak peak preview of the new Liv Warfield video “Why Do You Lie?”...and I almost fell outta my chair!
From that moment on, I had become a certified believer in this incredible singer that has tinges of Chaka Khan, Tina Turner and Janis Joplin in her style. I mean, backed by the New Power Generation horns, a funky rhythm section and a screamin’ guitarist named Ryan Waters – this group has it all! Everything and a bag of chips!
I had the opportunity of going to the Late Show taping featuring Liv Warfield on April 4, the day David Letterman announced he was retiring. (Thanks to Ron McGugins for the invite.) The performance was more than anybody expected – including Letterman and Paul Shaffer. Chants of praise and applause came from Letterman, Shaffer and the audience as they broke for commercial.
So after this tease, I had to get to the show two days later at the B.B. King Blues Club in NYC for the full performance by Liv Warfield and her army. The 42nd St. club stage was wall-to-wall with musicians. Ten horn players, bass, drums, keyboards, guitar, two incredible backup singers and Liv. I mean, it was sheer power! Thumping bass, pounding drums, bursts of brass, a screamin’ guitar and we were off to the races!
Liv’s stage presence is R&B bravado. A powerful woman (a high school track star with Olympic aspirations), Warfield moves like a lioness and sings with spirit-filled gospel passion. During this Big Apple performance she ripped through her new CD entitled “The Unexpected” (a song written by Prince himself.)
Warfield has been performing with Prince since 2009 and you could see she has learned well. She has opened for Al Green, B.B. King, Dave Matthews and, of course, Prince. Liv remains a current member of Prince’s band, New Power Generation. She is described as Soul with a little bit of Rock and Roll. Originally from Peoria, Illinois, she moved out to Portland, Oregon for college and today calls New York her home. Her musical heroines: Nina Simone, Etta James, Tina Turner, Sade and Mary J. Blige. The result is a funky mix of R&B soul-style.
The B.B. King club performance was standing room only. New York came to see what she’s got…and this young lady brought it. From her explosive national TV debut on Jimmy Fallon in January to her NYC return home on the Late Show with Letterman – Liv Warfield is well on her way. A star is born. To me, she represents the strongest performance artist to come along in two decades.