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A former track star and gymnast, Peoria, Illinois-born Liv Warfield began building her legend, in of all places, Portland, Oregon. Despite having no formal background in singing, she gained the respect of local superstars and became an icon in her own right.
While she takes cues from musical influences like Nina Simone, Etta James, Sade, Tina Turner, and Mary J. Blige, Warfield has carved out a style all her own, which can best be described as “alternative soul with a lil bit of Rock ‘n’ Roll.” In 2006, she self-released her debut album “Embrace Me.” By 2009, she caught the eye of the one-and-only Prince and ultimately joined his group the “New Power Generation.”
After touring for several years and soaking up as much knowledge as she could from the ultimate music mentor, Warfield made her big splash on the national scene in 2014, first as a featured artist for Vh1’s “You Oughta Know” campaign, and then with the release of her major label debut album “The Unexpected,” which was executive produced by Prince. What followed were show-stopping performances on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” “The Late Show with David Letterman,” and “The Arsenio Hall Show;” a 2014 Soul Train Music Award and nominations for two others; a BET Best New Artist Award nomination; an interview with National Public Radio; and high-profile cosigns from Lionel Richie, Cindy Lauper, and Nancy Wilson of HEART. That same year, Warfield’s performance closing out Essence Fest was hailed as one of the most memorable after shows at the New Orleans House of Blues. In 2015, the accolades only kept growing, with Warfield and the NPG Hornz being named one of the top 10 bands to see at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. It’s no wonder she has left celebrities like Letterman declaring it’s time to “cancel show business!”
In 2017, Warfield began the next phase of her ascension, collaborating with another one of her childhood influences, the aforementioned Nancy Wilson, to create the band Roadcase Royale. Their lead single “Get Loud” was featured prominently in the 2017 Women’s March and they released their debut album “First Things First” later that year. If that weren’t enough, their remake of HEART’s “These Dreams” was featured in the film “Molly’s Game,” which starred Idris Elba, Jessica Chastain, and Kevin Costner and was released in November 2017.
Going forward, expect Warfield’s star to only continue growing.
Nao Yoshioka, SoulTracks’ 2015 New Artist of the Year, combines a powerful voice and New York-styled delivery to create a modern sound still deeply rooted in the history of soul.
Since her single “Make the Change” was released in 2012, she’s received kudos from a number of soul music veterans including Grammy-winning singer and songwriter Gordon Chambers.
In July 2015 alone, her debut album “The Light” was released in North America, in Japan she headlined a sold out Blue Note Tokyo, performed at the hugely popular Summer Sonic festival, and guested with bassist Nathan East at Billboard Live Tokyo.
Nao has performed at venues around the world including Blue Note New York, the legendary Birchmere where she has opened for José James and Rahsaan Patterson, Club Dauphine in The Netherlands where she shared the stage with saxophonist Candy Dulfer, and Hideaway, South London’s award-winning live music venue. In the summer of 2016 Nao performed at her first major US music festival, Capital Jazz Fest, one of the largest festivals in the United States along side legends like Lalah Hathaway and Marcus Miller.
In September 2016, Nao released her 3rd album “The Truth”, now available online and at retail stores throughout Japan.
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