Porter at JazzLive International, Pittsburgh, 2013
|Born||November 4, 1971 (age 44)
Sacramento, California, United States
Life and career
Gregory Porter was born in Sacramento and was raised in Bakersfield, California, where his mother was a minister. A 1989 graduate of Highland High School, he received a full-ride athletic scholarship to San Diego State University (SDSU Aztecs). A shoulder injury during his junior year of high school restricted his football career.
Porter moved to the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn in 2004, along with his brother Lloyd. He worked as a chef at Lloyd's restaurant Bread-Stuy (now defunct), where he also performed. Porter performed at other neighborhood venues including Sista's Place and Solomon's Porch, and moved on to Harlem club St. Nick's Pub, where he maintained a weekly residency. Out of this residency evolved what would become Porter's touring band.
Porter released two albums on the Motéma label, 2010's Water and 2012's Be Good, before signing with Blue Note Records (under Universal Music Group) on May 17, 2013. His third album, Liquid Spirit, was released on September 2, 2013, in Europe and on September 17, 2013, in the US. The album was produced by Brian Bacchus. The album won the 2014 Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Album.
Liquid Spirit enjoyed commercial success rarely achieved by albums in the jazz genre, reaching the top 10 on the UK album charts. It was certified gold by the BPI, selling over 100,000 units in the UK.
Since his 2010 debut on the Motéma label, Porter has been well received in the music press.
His debut album, Water, was nominated for Best Jazz Vocal album at the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards. He was also a member of the original Broadway cast of It Ain't Nothin' But the Blues. His second album, Be Good, which contains many of Porter's compositions, garnered critical acclaim for both his distinctive singing and his compositions, such as "Be Good (Lion's Song)", "Real Good Hands", and "On My Way to Harlem". The title track was also nominated for Best Traditional R&B Performance at the 55th Annual Grammy Awards. In his review of Water, Kevin Le Gendre of the BBC wrote that "Gregory Porter has a voice and musicality to be reckoned with."
The New York Times described Porter as "a jazz singer of thrilling presence, a booming baritone with a gift for earthy refinement and soaring uplift" in its review of Liquid Spirit.
Michael G. Nastos of Allmusic.com wrote a mixed review of Water, stating "In hard bop trim, Shorter's 'Black Nile' has Porter shouting out a lyric line that was done many years ago by Chicago's Luba Raashiek, but Porter's voice is strained and breaks up. While on every track Porter sings with great conviction, he's more effective on lower-key compositions", but went on to say that "he's right up there with José James as the next big male vocal jazz star."
Porter has seven siblings. His mother, Ruth, was a large influence on his life, having encouraged him to sing in church at an early age. His father, Rufus, was largely absent from his life. Says Porter, "Everybody had some issues with their father, even if he was in the house. He may have been emotionally absent. My father was just straight-up absent. I hung out with him just a few days in my life. And it wasn't a long time. He just didn’t seem to be completely interested in being there. Maybe he was, I don't know."
Porter always wears a modified flat cap for public appearances. In an interview with Jazzweekly.com conducted by George W. Harris on November 3, 2012, when asked "what's with the weird and wonderful hat?" Porter replied, "I've had some surgery on my skin, so this has been my look for a little while and will continue to be for a while longer. People recognize me by it now. It is what it is." 
|Year||Title||Peak chart positions|
|Year||Title||Peak chart positions|
|2014||Great Voices of Harlem||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|Issues of Life – Features and Remixes||—||—||138||—||—||72||49||—||—||—|
|2014||More Liquid Spirit – Features + Remixes|
|Year||Title||Peak chart positions||Album|
|2012||"Be Good (Lion's Song)"||100||Be Good|
|"The 'In' Crowd"||—||Liquid Spirit|
|"Children, Your Line Is Draggin'"||1999||N/A||It Ain't Nothin' But the Blues|
|"Sweet Home Chicago"||C.E. Smith, Buddy Guy|
|"Do You Feel Like I Feel"||2011||Nicola Conte||Do You Feel Like I Feel|
|"Gogo Soul"||2012||The Rongetz Foundation||Brooklyn Butterfly Session|
|"Hard Bop Merry Go Round"|
|"Love's Work"||Robin McKelle and The Flytones||Soul Flower|
|"Sweet Country Love Song"||Jools Holland and His Rhythm and Blues Orchestra||The Golden Age of Song|
|"No Fundo do Teu Silêncio"||Meeco||Beauty of the Night|
|"Nowhere to Run"||2013||Zbonics||Time to Do Your Thing|
|"She Danced Across the Floor"|
|"Issues of Life"|
|"Just in Time"|
|"Satiated (Been Waiting)"||Dianne Reeves||Beautiful Life|
|"Losin' Our Minds"||Kentyah, M-1, Brian Jackson, The New Midnight Band||Evolutionary Minded: Furthering the Legacy of Gil Scott-Heron|
|"Occupy Planet Earth"|
|"Song of the Wind"|
|"Army of the Faithful (Joyful Noise)"||David Murray Infinity Quartet||Be My Monster Love|
|"About the Children"|
|"Hope Is a Thing with Feathers"|
|"Vida"||Max Herre||MTV Unplugged Kahedi Radio Show|
|"Stand by Me"||2014||Till Brönner||The Movie Album|
|"Let the Good Times Roll"||Andreas Varady||Come Together EP|
|"Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood"||Jamie Cullum||Interlude|
|"Go Tell It on the Mountain / Ain't No Mountain High Enough" (Medley)||Anita Wilson||Motown Christmas|
|"Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"||Renée Fleming||Winter in New York|
|"Central Park Serenade"|
|"Black Is the Colour (of My True Love's Hair)"||N/A||Autour de Nina|
|"Right Where You Are"||Lizz Wright||Freedom and Surrender|
- Christian Broecking, Gregory Porter. Jazz, Gospel and Soul. Creative People Books, Berlin 2015, ISBN 978-3-938763-42-1.
- "Gregory Porter: Prohibice by mi nevadila". Novinky.cz. Retrieved September 13, 2014.
- "Gregory Porter (thevoiceofgregoryporter) on Myspace". Myspace.com. Retrieved 2015-07-12.
- "Gregory Porter: Jazz's Next Great Male Vocalist". Jazztimes.com/. Retrieved 2015-07-12.
- Jeff Tamarkin (May 15, 2013). "Blue Note Signs Vocalist Gregory Porter". Jazztimes.com. Retrieved August 4, 2013.
- "Liquid Spirit cover unveiled". Marlbank.net/. Retrieved 4 August 2013.
- "Best Jazz Vocal Album". Grammy.com/. Retrieved October 23, 2014.
- "That's The "Spirit" Gregory Porter makes UK top ten". Udiscovermusic.com/. Retrieved 2015-07-12.
- Guardian music. "Gregory Porter: The 'In' Crowd – video premiere - Music - theguardian.com". the Guardian. Retrieved September 13, 2014.
- "BBC One - VE Day 70, A Party to Remember". BBC.co.uk/. Retrieved 2015-07-12.
- "Gregory Porter at Nominees Reception". grammy.com/. February 12, 2011. Retrieved 4 August 2013.
- "55th annual Grammy Awards nominees". usatoday.com/. January 16, 2011. Retrieved October 21, 2013.
- "Music - Review of Gregory Porter - Water". BBC.co.uk. 2010-05-11. Retrieved 2015-07-12.
- Nate Chinen, E"voking Older Ideals and Earthly Realities: Gregory Porter Mines Soulful Jazz in 'Liquid Spirit'", The New York Times, September 6, 2013.
- "Review of Gregory Porter's "Water"". Allmusic/. Retrieved 2015-07-12.
- "Gregory Porter: Jazz's Next Great Male Vocalist". Jazztimes.com//. Retrieved 2015-07-12.
- George W. Harris, "Gregory Porter: Living Water", Jazz Weekly, November 3, 2012.
- "Gregory Porter - Chart history". Billboard.com. Retrieved November 29, 2014.
- "Gregory Porter discography". austriancharts.at. Hung Medien. Retrieved September 14, 2013.
- "Gregory Porter discography". ultratop.be/nl/. Hung Medien. Retrieved September 14, 2013.
- "Gregory Porter discography". danishcharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved July 18, 2014.
- "Gregory Porter discography". lescharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved September 14, 2013.
- "Gregory Porter - Liquid Spirit". Retrieved September 13, 2014.
- "Gregory Porter discography". dutchcharts.nl. Hung Medien. Retrieved September 14, 2013.
- "Gregory Porter discography". norwegiancharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved September 14, 2013.
- "Gregory Porter discography". hitparade.ch. Hung Medien. Retrieved September 14, 2013.
- "Gregory Porter discography". www.officialcharts.com. Retrieved September 16, 2013.
- Gregory Porter – official site
- Gregory Porter discography at Discogs
- Interviews: Gregory Porter discusses his life and music on 7th Avenue Project radio show: September 23, 2012 (Pt 1) and June 23, 2013 (Pt 2).
- Gregory Porter at Motéma Music