Time is a funny thing. When we spoke to Liv Warfield, it just so happened to be two years to the day that she opened for Heart at the Hollywood Bowl. That night would set things in motion and a new band was destined to be created. The R&B singer-songwriter wanted to branch out into rock n’ roll, and who better to take tips from than the guitar goddess herself Nancy Wilson?
Warfield grew up watching Diana Ross specials, dreaming of being a great performer. But it was a dream she kept secret. Her family didn’t even know she could sing…and boy, can she sing. She started opening up about her love of music during her twenties, and when the late, great Prince was looking for new singers, friends encouraged her to send in an audition tape. Warfield never imagined getting a callback, but she did. She was selected as a member of Prince’s New Power Generation. She went on to release two albums: 2006’s Embrace Me, and 2014’s The Unexpected.
Now Warfield and Wilson have embarked on a new rock n’ roll journey with Roadcase Royale. The seamless blend of soul and rock are a perfect combination. When speaking with both women you can hear just how excited they are for the world to hear their collaboration. Just ahead of the release of their debut album First Things First, we spoke with Warfield on how she followed her love of music, and all things Roadcase Royale.
Growing up you were a pretty accomplished gymnast, how did you end up being a musician?
I always knew I wanted to be a performer. I first wanted to be a newscaster. I remember watching and wanting to do the weather. I was put in gymnastics when I was three, but besides that, I was set in front of the television. I would watch these Diana Ross specials and I think that stuck. I wanted to perform, and I wanted to have the luxurious hair and clothes. But I knew I could sing, too, at a young age. I never sang around my parents, they didn’t know I could until after I had moved out to Portland. And that was when I was 20 years old. So, I kept it a secret for a long time. I think when I moved to Portland I felt like I could fly. I felt like I could do anything; I was a free bird. I could try things without people or family telling me what to do. I was really good at gymnastics, it just wasn’t what I wanted to do inside. It took a lot of guts for me. I quit school and did a lot of crazy stuff I shouldn’t have but it’s gotten me this far.
What moment led to you forming Roadcase Royale?
It was actually at the Heart gig, which I was excited to get. I think we did two days together, and I was like, “Look I have to talk to Ann or Nancy. I’m not leaving this place without meeting one of them.” I think Nancy was leaving at the time and I had just caught her. We talked a little bit and I told her I really wanted to write some rock and roll. Nancy said, “Let’s meet up and talk about it more. Let’s go to lunch and do it, not just say we are going to do it.” If Nancy Wilson is going to offer up her time, I better well take her up on it. So I made sure to keep in contact with her and after a couple months, we had dinner together. We just really hit it off, it was like being long lost friends. Felt like I had known her forever, it was great.
When we spoke to Nancy she told us that Roadcase is an even collaboration, everyone is involved on all levels. Was that important for everyone?
I would say, doing things that way now is interesting and different. But back in the day, that’s how everyone collaborated. It just magically jumps off of one person to the next, the energy in this group is something special. When we came together for the first time, we wondered if this was actually going to work. We were all a little nervous, but once we got in a circle and started playing together we knew this was it. Each of us brings something different to the table, and work really well together.
Since it’s an even collaboration, how did you all land on the name Roadcase Royale?
You know, it took us a while to come up with the name. All of us collectively were poking around the idea of royale or the royal side of it, but it was Nancy who had the roadcase part. She wanted to use the roadcase name for her management company she was building. We really threw out so much stuff, it was crazy. This seemed to stick, though. It just really works, and we built our energy around it.
Roadcase Royale’s first album First Things First is out on September 22, which we can’t wait for. First Things First is a great title, where did it come from?
Again, all of us were throwing out different ideas. We had so many names, and names I don’t even want to say. It was Nancy who said First Things First and it felt right. For me, what I take out of it is no matter what’s going on in the world, first things first. Let’s get down to the music. For me, music is healing. What we are doing is first for us. We are putting everything else aside for this project. We are putting our everything into this. I want people to feel the energy Nancy worked so hard to put out, and the whole band has put out.
Do you have a favorite track off the album?
I really love “Cover Each Other.” It’s become my favorite, which was hard because “Insaniac” was my first love. I love “Hold onto My Hand” too. It changes as the days go on. I also really love Nancy’s voice on “Even It Up.” I’m just like, “Yes, girl!” It’s a hard question because I love them all.
I know Roadcase had decided initially to release EP’s instead of a full-length album. What changed your minds?
I think we had seven or eight songs already, so it was so close to being an album. And when we got the offer from Loud & Proud we thought, “Why not? Instead of the EP let’s just go for it.” We had a couple weeks to record a few more songs, “Cover Each Other” was the last song we finished. It all came so naturally.
Some of the Inspirer team were able to make it to Roadcase’s first headlining show in NYC and they were blown away. You have a lot of touring coming up, both headlines shows and with Bob Seger. Are you excited to take Roadcase Royale out on the road?
Yes, I’m very excited. We are going to be out there until the end of the year. We will be out with Bob Seger, and doing a few headlining shows in between. There’s a lot on our plates, but we are so excited. It’s new energy. I’m looking forward to when we start September 10 and see where we are on the last show.
Be sure to check out Roadcase Royale and see them out on the road this fall with Bob Seger and at their headlining shows. First Things First will be released September 22, to purchase head over to PledgeMusic.com