Warren Barfield began singing and playing the guitar as
a child in North Carolina, where he grew up as a pastor's son. As he
reached his early teen years, Warren began traveling more extensively,
wherever the doors were opened. It has now grown into a full time ministry.
Warren seems equally comfortable doing hundreds of dates
a year playing at churches and camps across the country. He has also
captivated crowds of thousands during events such as national, regional,
state and local youth conferences, and at various schools and colleges.
Barfield has also had the privilege of opening for a number
of top Christian artists including Clear, Russ Lee, Scott Krippayne,
Anointed and Crystal Lewis.
"It's unreal that I get to go places and sing songs that
He gave me while I was praying in my room about something that I was
going through," Warren admits. "And I get to see these songs, that I
thought were just for me, minister to others from all walks of life.
That's what keeps me going -- I know God's involved!"
It does not take long for the five year old and the fifty
year old to be captivated by the music of Warren Barfield. The passion
that is displayed as Warren plays his guitar, and sings his original
heart-felt songs, is contagious.
An energetic blend of acoustic rock, one is torn between
clapping, dancing, or just closing their eyes and listening as his lyrics
paint the picture of a believer's ongoing relationship with Christ.
Warren is a talented singer, songwriter and musician,
but these abilities alone do not define him. He is an anointed young
minister who regularly stops strumming his guitar in concert long enough
to relay Biblical truth.
He also enjoys the time away from the stage, where he
makes friends of his listeners. This has made him a favorite of both
youth and youth workers around the country. His grounded advice seems
to go well beyond his twenty-three years of life experience.
"When I was growing up, I always said I would do something
for God when I was older," Warren explains. "But God taught me that
I didn't have to wait, that he has a ministry for me now and that He
has a ministry for everyone, no matter how old or young they are. It's
amazing how God has proved that to be true in my life."
The desired path for most aspiring singer-songwriters
is predictable: Move to a music-friendly city, record a demo tape, get
discovered, sign a contract with a major label, and, naturally, become
a star. For most aspiring singer-songwriters, however, this path quickly
proves a mirage. Which is one of the numerous reasons why debut artist
Warren Barfield is such a rare entity.
Instead of taking the predictable path, this young artist
spent five years (between the ages of 18 and 23) logging almost 200,000
miles in his trusty "93 Mustang, carting himself and his acoustic
guitar from church to church, gig to gig, all over the U.S. (as well
as Mexico and Russia), all year round, all by himself, living hand to
mouth while patiently honing his infectious, earthy baritone, complex
instrumental prowess, and expert stage presence" and without a
hint of expectation.
As to why Barfield chose this rarely traveled musical
path in our electronic age of indie-artist websites and lightning-speed
solutions? "I believe it's what God had in mind for me," he
says, matter of factly.
The son of a North Carolina preacher, Barfield developed
his endurance for travel early in life. "I was born in Goldsboro
and have lived in Dudley, Clayton, Spivey's Corner - which, by the way,
is the Hollerin? Capitol of the Universe. Now my parents live in Autryville
- and I live in Charlotte with my wife, Megan."
His folks also instilled in him a love for music very
early on. Since his mom and dad led worship services for the bevy of
tiny, rural churches, it wasn't long before Barfield - along with his
sisters and brother-got into the act as well. "We were the music!"
he recalls. "My mom plays piano by ear, and my dad plays drums
and sings. So they got my sisters Tonia and Rena to lead worship and
sing as well his younger brother Jeffrey took over drumming duties for
his dad, too. And about the time I turned eight, I began picking up
the guitar. Before that, I was singing "Somebody Prayed for Me,"
standing eye-level with the piano keys. I always liked music."
As the years passed, Barfield caught the country bug and
began teaching himself Garth Brooks tunes; then things really shifted
into high-gear when he discovered Contemporary Christian artists like
Wes King and Steven Curtis Chapman. "Learning about Steven Curtis
Chapman especially was exciting because he showed me how to combine
my two main passions-my faith and my music," Barfield explains.
Shortly thereafter, Barfield was found playing at his
parent's church Chapman and King tunes along with songs he had written,
and taking his guitar to school to play during breaks. The talented
teenager received invites to play youth group lock-ins and services
for nearby congregations - he even recruited his mom to chauffeur in
"Every month, it just slowly grew," Barfield
continues. "I remember telling my parents that a youth conference
called and wanted to fly me down to Atlanta for a few days - and they
let me go!" As his reputation expanded regionally, Barfield continued
his homework, graduated high school, and enrolled in a local college
as a religion major. But his academic pursuits wouldn't last.
During my freshman year of college, I realized if I stayed
in school, I'd be stuck with more responsibilities and wouldn't have
time to do music," Barfield recalls. "Besides, I couldn't
imagine looking back years later and imagining, 'What if?'"
So, with little to worry about, Barfield packed up some
clothes, his guitar and hit the highways. A year later, he took stock-and
was pleasantly surprised: 100 concerts in 13 states. "So I booked
more shows in the second year and did it all over again."
Life on the road all by his lonesome not only opened Barfield's
eyes to many realities of the music business - especially when money
he received from Gig A often had to cover gas, food, and lodging on
the way to Gig B?but his full-time musician status also forced him to
improve and grow as a singer and songwriter on a daily basis.
My sound? Warren Barfield notes with a chuckle, "is
the combination of all my influences, Steven Curtis Chapman, Dave Matthews,
Stevie Wonder, Lionel Richie, Edwin McCain, James Taylor, and Pat Monahan
from Train. They all pushed and challenged me in different ways."
Barfield found himself opening for well-known artists
such as Crystal Lewis, Anointed, Clear, Scott Krippayne and Russ Lee.
After opening for Krippayne, Barfield found that Scott was handed a
copy of his songs from a promoter and Scott contacted Warren to fly
him to Nashville, where his most recent chapters have been written -
penning and recording his debut album.
"I've never really thought of myself as a writer,"
Barfield humbly admits, "so when I came to Nashville to start working
on the record, I realized that I have a huge opportunity to express
myself - then everything I saw driving down the road became a song title!
I ended up writing a bunch of songs, and we narrowed it down to 20,
then down to the 11 that made it on the record."
The main ingredient Barfield has been trying to get across
in his songs lately is honesty?and he draws a ton of inspiration from
authors, especially Christian authors like Brennan Manning and Philip
Warren's pastor Tim Aukerman also challenges Warren to
be honest about his faith. "Most Christians want you to believe
they're perfect, but they're just wearing masks and not being very honest
about their lives," he notes.
"But Manning and Yancey challenged me to be honest
in my struggles, even to the point of questioning my faith at times.
Because I believe that Christians who're honest about their lives will
have the greatest impact on the world around them? and at the end of
the day, that's the kind of artist I want to be."