The reunion of former members of the New Power Generation (NPG) – including a number of those in the original configuration – was born out of the official Prince Tribute concert in October, 2016. The longest-running member of the NPG, keyboardist Morris Hayes, who also served as Prince’s Musical Director for many years, was tapped to do the same job for the official tribute concert held in honor of the legendary artist. Hayes brought many of the original band members back together to serve as the house band (where they were joined by other NPG alumni throughout the night) for the epic musical celebration and the feedback from the fans was that the official tribute concert was both exhilarating and healing. “Exactly what we needed” was a typical comment.
Given the overwhelming response to that historic event, Morris, Sonny T, Tommy Barbarella, Tony M, Damon D, and Levi Seacer met with one of Prince’s former managers to discuss an official reunion in order to bring a live celebration of Prince and his music to ‘fams’ throughout the world. Their intent: to honor their boss, their mentor and his music. Thus, the birth of the NPG’s tour featuring the music of Prince was underway. The band has since joined forces with other Prince alumni and world class artists to perform their own tribute concerts to their legendary mentor and brother, Prince.
After touring with several different guest vocalists during their first year out, the band stumbled upon its official lead singer in the soulful and charismatic MacKenzie – an LA-based singer, originally from a small town in Virginia. With his incredible vocal range, commanding stage presence and beautiful voice, MacKenzie has wowed both audiences and critics alike. Even more important, the ‘fams’ quickly embraced him. MacKenzie’s immense talent coupled with his unique and reverent approach to the songs never strays into an impersonation. Instead, his own gifted artistry shines through in a way that the band is confident Prince would approve. Just like the NPG, the man is funky!
Respecting the music is the philosophical approach that guides the NPG. Few other artists are known to have the work ethic that was a defining characteristic of Prince. He was a consummate live performer and his concerts with the NPG were legendary for their tight arrangements, stellar sound and electrifying pace. The NPG continue to play as if their famous boss was front and center. Their shows are a non-stop musical kaleidoscope of the most iconic chart-topping hits from all eras of Prince’s career. Classic NPG songs like “DIAMONDS and PEARLS,” “GETT OFF,” “CREAM,” “7,” and”SEXY MF,” are intermingled with hits from throughout Prince’s illustrious 4-decade-long career like “1999,” “LET’S GO CRAZY,” “POP LIFE,” “SIGN O’ THE TIMES,” “PURPLE RAIN,” “U GOT THE LOOK,” and “KISS.”
When Prince first formed the band in 1990, he drafted a press release in his own handwriting to introduce the NPG to the world. Writing that his new band was his “best band ever,” this new band took him down a new path – one that was soulful, electrifying and funky! In fact, they soon became known by their fans as ‘the funkiest band in the land.’ It was a pivotal time for Prince – creatively and professionally. The New Power Generation were words that likely had a meaning deeper than ‘just’ the name of his new band. It seemed to represent a philosophical approach to life. A statement to the world. Although he parted ways with The Revolution in 1986, Prince recorded and toured as a solo artist for nearly four years before introducing the NPG to the world in the summer of 1990 when most of the members made their live debut on his Nude Tour. (Although the NPG was also the name of his band in the film, Graffiti Bridge, which included the song, “New Power Generation” on the accompanying soundtrack album.)