Gregory Porter

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Gregory Porter
Porter on JazzLive in 2013
Porter at JazzLive International, Pittsburgh, 2013
Background information
Born November 4, 1971 (age 44)
Sacramento, California, United States
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • actor
Years active 1998–present

Gregory Porter (born November 4, 1971)[1] is an American jazz vocalist, songwriter and actor. Porter won the 2014 Grammy for best jazz vocal album, Liquid Spirit.

Life and career[edit]

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.[2]

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.[3]

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.[4] The album was produced by Brian Bacchus.[5] The album won the 2014 Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Album.[6]

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.[7]

In August 2014 Porter released "The 'In' Crowd" as a single.[8]

On 9 May 2015 Porter participated in VE Day 70: A Party to Remember, a televised commemorative concert from Horse Guards Parade in London, singing "As Time Goes By".[9]

Critical reception[edit]

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.[10] 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.[11] In his review of Water, Kevin Le Gendre of the BBC wrote that "Gregory Porter has a voice and musicality to be reckoned with."[12]

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.[13]

Michael G. Nastos of 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."[14]

Personal life[edit]

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."[15]

Porter always wears a modified flat cap for public appearances. In an interview with 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." [16]



Solo albums[edit]

List of studio albums, with selected chart positions, sales figures and certifications
Year Title Peak chart positions
2010 Water 40
2012 Be Good 149 144 10
2013 Liquid Spirit 187 25 35 7 24 8 6 35 63 9


List of studio albums, with selected chart positions, sales figures and certifications
Year Title Peak chart positions
2014 Great Voices of Harlem
Issues of Life – Features and Remixes 138 72 49

Extended plays[edit]

Year Title
2014 More Liquid Spirit – Features + Remixes


Year Title Peak chart positions Album
2012 "Be Good (Lion's Song)" 100 Be Good
2014 "Revisited" N/A
"The 'In' Crowd" Liquid Spirit
2015 "Liquid Spirit" 107
"Hey Laura" 189

Guest appearances[edit]

List of non-single guest appearances, with other performing artists, showing year released and album name
Title Year Other artist(s) Album
"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 Bob 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"
"She's Gone"
"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"
"Souls" Magnus Lindgren Souls
"Small Stuff"
"Broken Heart"
"Vida" Max Herre MTV Unplugged Kahedi Radio Show
"So wundervoll"
"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 Christmas in New York
"Central Park Serenade"
"Black Is the Colour (of My True Love's Hair)" N/A Autour de Nina
"Holding On" 2015 Disclosure Caracal


  • Christian Broecking, Gregory Porter. Jazz, Gospel and Soul. Creative People Books, Berlin 2015, ISBN 978-3-938763-42-1.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Gregory Porter: Prohibice by mi nevadila". Retrieved September 13, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Gregory Porter (thevoiceofgregoryporter) on Myspace". Retrieved 2015-07-12. 
  3. ^ "Gregory Porter: Jazz's Next Great Male Vocalist". Retrieved 2015-07-12. 
  4. ^ Jeff Tamarkin (May 15, 2013). "Blue Note Signs Vocalist Gregory Porter". Retrieved August 4, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Liquid Spirit cover unveiled". Retrieved 4 August 2013. 
  6. ^ "Best Jazz Vocal Album". Retrieved October 23, 2014. 
  7. ^ "That's The "Spirit" Gregory Porter makes UK top ten". Retrieved 2015-07-12. 
  8. ^ Guardian music. "Gregory Porter: The 'In' Crowd – video premiere - Music -". the Guardian. Retrieved September 13, 2014. 
  9. ^ "BBC One - VE Day 70, A Party to Remember". Retrieved 2015-07-12. 
  10. ^ "Gregory Porter at Nominees Reception". February 12, 2011. Retrieved 4 August 2013. 
  11. ^ "55th annual Grammy Awards nominees". January 16, 2011. Retrieved October 21, 2013. 
  12. ^ "Music - Review of Gregory Porter - Water". 2010-05-11. Retrieved 2015-07-12. 
  13. ^ Nate Chinen, E"voking Older Ideals and Earthly Realities: Gregory Porter Mines Soulful Jazz in 'Liquid Spirit'", The New York Times, September 6, 2013.
  14. ^ "Review of Gregory Porter's "Water"". Allmusic/. Retrieved 2015-07-12. 
  15. ^ "Gregory Porter: Jazz's Next Great Male Vocalist". Retrieved 2015-07-12. 
  16. ^ George W. Harris, "Gregory Porter: Living Water", Jazz Weekly, November 3, 2012.
  17. ^ a b "Gregory Porter - Chart history". Retrieved November 29, 2014. 
  18. ^ a b "Gregory Porter discography". Hung Medien. Retrieved September 14, 2013. 
  19. ^ a b "Gregory Porter discography". Hung Medien. Retrieved September 14, 2013. 
  20. ^ a b "Gregory Porter discography". Hung Medien. Retrieved July 18, 2014. 
  21. ^ a b "Gregory Porter discography". Hung Medien. Retrieved September 14, 2013. 
  22. ^ a b "Gregory Porter - Liquid Spirit". Retrieved September 13, 2014. 
  23. ^ a b c "Gregory Porter discography". Hung Medien. Retrieved September 14, 2013. 
  24. ^ a b "Gregory Porter discography". Hung Medien. Retrieved September 14, 2013. 
  25. ^ a b "Gregory Porter discography". Hung Medien. Retrieved September 14, 2013. 
  26. ^ a b "Gregory Porter discography". Retrieved September 16, 2013. 

External links[edit]