interview: liv warfield tells us why to expect ‘the unexpected’

March 3, 2014

On February 18th, soul singer Liv Warfield released her debut album The Unexpected. After wowing the nation on Live With Jimmy Fallon (backed by New Power Generation Horns), Liv’s debut release has succeeded in blowing everybody away. Her powerful soulful vocals have made her new album the darling of the soul scene and this is just the beginning. She has spent the past few year cultivating her sound with the help of the legendary Prince and the result is something to behold.
Fiery singer/songwriter Liv talked to AFROPUNK about The Unexpected, her creative bond with Prince and NPG, and tells us why she almost walked away from it all.

By Ayara Pommells, AFROPUNK Contributor *

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Everybody is LOVING The Unexpected. How does it feel?

I’m excited about it. I had no clue of how to think about how people are receiving the music. I just wanted to make something that I loved and that truly came from the heart and that was really me this time.  I just really wanted to make a great product, that’s all I really cared about…and that it was live too.

Most of the visuals out there of you are live performances.  What’s the best thing about performing live?

It’s the energy. It’s that pure adrenaline energy that…Man! It’s just so hard to describe. I feel like I’m at peace on stage. Like, that’s my home That’s home for me. It’s just the energy. The fireworks of it. The band and what they bring. A ball of energy. A huge ball of energy.

You have so much energy. What’s your diet like? When you perform you always have so much energy and you’re bouncing all over the place. Is it the reason why or have you always been so energetic?

[Laughs] I think it’s a combination. I feel like I’ve always been like that. I started as an athlete before I even started singing so maybe that has a lot to do with the fact that I’m pretty much bouncing all over the stage that way. I try to attribute a little bit to the diet but honestly, I think it’s the adrenaline and the fact that I love being with those guys and with the band to be honest. I do.

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When was the moment when you thought to yourself “I’ve made it now?”

Ummm… Recently. When I did the Jimmy Fallon show. I think that confirmed a lot of the insecurities. It’s just the human-natural thing to feel like. It’s like, the world’s about to hear my song and watching us perform. I think after that whole show was done, that really solidified that for me. Like, Ok. Like, alright… I do this thing! It’s good!

Where you nervous?

Absolutely. It turns off when I grab the microphone and the nervousness comes right back on after I’m done singing. But yes. I was very nervous.

I grew up listening to Prince. I’m sure he comes up in every interview. But he was one of my first musical influences so I have to ask as a fan, how did you become a part of the New Power Generation?

Well, at the time he was looking for another vocalist. A friend of mine had made a suggestion like, “Maybe you should try looking at this girl” and they sent a video across and it got to him and I’m like “Yeah. He’s never gonna see my video!” It’s kind of a long shot. I would never think…’Cause my path at that time I was going through a lot of – If I still wanted to even sing anymore. Do I want to even deal with the industry piece of it?

Why is that?

The independent part was really hard for me. I was growing up in a time where, just being a new artist really, I wasn’t understanding what I was getting into with some things. Some pieces of the industry can get you down a little bit as an independent and you have to keep pushing through it and I didn’t know if I wanted to keep pushing through it anymore. I wanted to perform live but I didn’t know if I wanted to record and go through all of that anymore. I was in a way ready to give all of that up and three or four months later I got a call and that really changed my life. I think that was me being like, no. You can’t give this up. You can’t give up. I met him and he was just warm and so cool and it really just changed my life. I thought I was a good performer but being around him just enhanced everything. Even the New Power Generation, being around them I just learned how to be a better arranger, performer. I just wasn’t used to the whole atmosphere of being a professional musician. He really taught me a lot about that. A bout being a professional and being a great writer and arranger. Yeah. It’s pretty cool.

Prince had input and wrote a couple of tracks on The Unexpected. What is it like being a songwriter and collaborating with another songwriter versus writing alone?

He wrote the title track “The Unexpected” and we co-wrote “Your Show” together. That experience for me is super sacred only because it’s special and he’s special. I can tell you that was probably the most invigorating, kind of eye opening… It was the best experience ever. I like to write in a way that all of these stories have some kind of “relatability” to me. They’re all my personal stories. I’ve had some of these songs written for over eight years and they finally saw the light of day. I think Prince kind of helped bring it out a little bit better. I had these songs written and they were good, but then he’s like “Try this” or “Try that”. He helped me to become a little more fearless in a sense and take chances with my writing. You know, sometimes my songs come and they go. Like, I could be talking to you right now and I’m like [snaps fingers] “Oh. I have a great idea for the next song!” You may not know it. It just comes whenever.

Speaking of fearless, we have to talk about your fashion sense. It’s very bold. I’m loving some of your outfits. Where do you get your sense of style?

I have a lot of people to thank for that. I have a really good friend named Legendary Damon and he just kind of gets me. I kind of like to try different things. I’m not afraid to kind of go there a little bit. There’ve also been some friend suggestions and the black cape with the long tail (in the “Why Do You Lie video” was made by Magpie. All handmade. All handmade which is incredible. They’re from Toronto I believe, Canada. I just like things that are bold and fun and I’m also very inspired by Cleopatra Jones in the old Blaxploitation movie Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold. So, I kind of like stuff that is different.

Do you have an alter ego whilst you’re on stage?

No. Really. There’s nobody else. That person is just Liv honestly. Yeah. I’m Olivia off the stage and Liv comes out on stage for sure.

If you had to pick one song which warms your heart the most, which would it be?

Ummm…To be honest, that’s such a hard one. The one that comes to mind for me is “Stronger Than Pride” –Sade. That one and… it’s so hard to narrow one down. That’s crazy! Let’s see. “Something In The Water” by Prince. Also Etta James, “Sunday Kind Of Love”. Those three for sure.

What’s your one ‘getting ready for the party’ jam?

Oh my goodness. Oh, that’s so hard! There’s a couple that I like right now. I like “Thank You” right now with Busta and Q-Tip. I really like that song. I also like Willie Hutch, “Slick”. Mother’s Finest – “Give It Up”. Those for sure.

Are there any artists out there who you’d love to collaborate with?

Oh yeah. I would love to collaborate with Lenny Kravitz. He’s like my all time right there. I would love to collaborate with Sade. You know what? Betty Davis would be really hot if I could pull her. That would be really cool if I could do that. So far, those three right now.

Any more videos coming from The Unexpected?

Yes there will. I’m really excited. I’m trying to pick the right song. There’s so many that I jump back and forth between but yes.

When is the next video coming?

Ummm… I’m gonna say…Do I dare say the spring?

Yes! Say the spring so it’s in black and white!

[Laughs] Yes. I will say the spring. We’re gonna shoot for the spring.


Yes. Absolutely. Very, very soon actually.


Yeah. I really wanna do Europe very soon. I’m hoping by the spring/summer. Yes.

Last question. For those who haven’t already been out and purchased their copy of The Unexpected, why should they?

This album has so much life and energy to it. It’s a live album. It’s music that’s so deeply rooted so there’s something for everyone on this album. Everyone can love it and I will dare say that you can listen to every single song and not skip anything. It’s alternative r&b soul with a little bit of rock and roll and I think that encompasses it all. It is The Unexpected. Expect to love it. I think people will love it.

The Unexpected is available here.

* Ayara Pommells is Owner of UK website and a music writer for, & as well as an entertainment writer for Kontrol Magazine. Follow @YahYahNah.