Gregory Porter (born November 4, 1971) is an American jazz vocalist, songwriter and actor. Porter won the 2014 Grammy for best jazz vocal album, Liquid Spirit.
Liquid Spirit marks Gregory Porter’s Blue Note Records debut, which arrived on the heels of two critically acclaimed indie label albums that quickly propelled Porter to the upper echelon of contemporary male jazz singers and earned him two GRAMMY nominations. Don Was, President of Blue Note, encouraged Porter to stay true to his artistic vision. “I firmly consider myself a jazz singer but I enjoy blues, southern soul, and gospel,” Porter says, “Those elements make their way inside my music. And I’ve always heard them in jazz.”
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[clarification needed] 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.
In August 2014 Porter released “The ‘In’ Crowd” as a single.
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”.
His fourth album, Take Me to the Alley, is scheduled to be released on May 6, 2016.