Artist to know: Gregory Porter
Label: Motema Music
Who he’s worked with: Jools Holland, James Spaulding and Chip Crawford are a few.
How he got his first big break: Working with world-renowned flutist Hubert Laws on his song, “Smile.” He also worked with Hubert’s brother and sister, Ronnie and Debra Laws, on a song titled “Journey.”
Who he has been influenced by: Nat King Cole, Joe Williams and Donny Hathaway, as well as the pastor of the church he attended when he was a child
On his finding out his CD “Water” was nominated for a Grammy: I was out by myself when I was initially notified, and it didn’t become a reality to me until I got a message from a really personal friend of mine congratulating me. As soon as I heard the news, I went to a nearby restaurant where, initially, security would not let me enter because they said they were shutting operations for the night. So, I told him, “Look, man, I just received a nomination for a Grammy,” and they let me in shortly afterward, but it was definitely a special feeling.
Advice for young up-and-coming jazz artists: I would advise them to always stay hungry no matter what the circumstances are; also, not to become too complacent at the first sign of success because that happens frequently in our race. People get caught up in the glitz and forget that dedication and hard work are what originally got them where they are. So, always stay motivated.
On other music he enjoys besides jazz: I currently reside in Brooklyn, NY, so there is no denying the talented hip-hop and R&B artists here. There are times when I leave my window open and hear the diverse music that NY offers. I’m fond of all varieties of music. Jazz just resonated with me more because I have the voice, style and personality that mesh well with jazz music.
On describing his style of music: I would say I am your classic jazz artist with a much more soulful touch. There is also a lot of R&B in my style of music. It’s very peaceful and relaxing.