R&B group brings some soul to Burlington

In a small 1960s North Carolina town, the talent of a local teenager was spotted for the first time.

Lee Fields & the Expressions will be performing Feb. 23 at ArtsRiot.

Initially, Fields did not intend to pursue a music career, he said.

“I was a paperboy, and I wanted to be a businessman,” Fields said.

The artist described singing along to the current pop hits on his transistor radio, but he never expected anything to come of it, he said.

Field’s original plan of being a businessman flew out the window one night, never to return, when a friend dared him to enter into a local talent show, he said.

“I got up and started singing at the talent show, and I got a great response,” Fields said. “Then a band that was there at the talent show hired me to be their singer, and I’ve been singing ever since.”

He was influenced by a variety of musical genres and artists, such as The Beatles, James Brown, Otis Redding, Sam Cooke and Buddy Holly, his primary goals as a musician are to “write what the public is actually feeling,” and to capture “the rhythm of the people,” Fields said.  

The artist’s passion for performance is undeniable.

“Making people happy, that’s my prime objective,” Fields said. “ to see that joy on the people’s faces. That makes me feel so great.”

Fields has not lost any of this passion with age.

“In a curious case of musical evolution, the older Fields becomes, the closer he gets to perfecting the sound of soul that he grew up with as a young man,” stated DJ Oliver Wang on the group’s official website.

While some musicians hit their prime early, Fields, who is in his mid-60s, seems more energized than ever.

“I’m gonna try to give [the audience] the best show that I possibly can give,” he said. “I want to thank them in advance for supporting me, and for supporting me for all these years.”

The concert, “Lee Fields & The Expressions,” will be at ArtsRiot Feb. 23. Doors open at 7:30 p.m., and the show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $18 in advance, and $22 the day of the show.