Some of you may know who Gregory Porter is and some of you may not but I assure you that Beyonce, Anita Baker, Melanie Fiona, and SWV probably have an idea about who he is being that he was nominated in the same Grammy category as these musical giants. With major success of overseas and rising success in the United States, Gregory is just beginning to crack the surface and what a hell of way to crack it but making his way into the Grammys. Before the Grammys aired on Sunday we had the chance to speak with Jazz musician, Gregory Porter, who was nominated for a Grammy for “Best Traditional R&B Performance” for his song “Real Good Hands.” Although Mr. Porter boldly makes the the claim that he is a jazz musician, he was quite honored to be nominated in the same category as Beyonce, Anita Baker, Melanie Fiona, and SWV. We have now found out that Gregory didn’t win the Grammy but after interviewing him, I honestly believe he isn’t disappointed due to the fact that he was elated to even be mentioned amongst the other heavyweights in the category. Besides, losing to Beyonce’s “Love on Top” that was all over the radio, isn’t that bad at all.
RadioFacts: Being that you are nominated amongst some huge artists in the game, do you feel like this Grammy nomination solidifies your hard work or is the symbol of the culmination of everything you put into your music?
Gregory Porter: I would say yes because it is a validation of my music and my style of music. I classify myself as a Jazz singer but I’m nominated in the R&B category. What I do is quite natural, it’s not something I calculated. I use styles and things musically that come from Blues, Gospel, R&B, Soul, Folk and all the many facets of American music. In the end, I feel like (For More Gregory Porter Click Next) I fit right end but I’m still amazed and honored to be nominated amongst such great talent.
RadioFacts: In another one of your songs, “On My Way to Harlem” you say, “I was baptized by my daddy’s horn.” It seems as if you are saying you are immersed in the culture but explain the significance of that that lyric.
Gregory Porter: It’s interesting, sometimes I don’t say everything I’m trying to say in a song and “On My Way to Harlem” is one of them. Harlem is making a whole bunch of changes, some good and some bad. A lot of mom and pop shops are closing. It’s great that Starbucks and the Gap are in Harlem but in some ways it pushes the ordinary Harlemite out and they can no longer afford to live in neighborhood they grew up in. Basically It’s saying I was baptized by my daddy’s horn meaning I was born into this so I have a right to it and a right to voice my opinion. I wasn’t born in Harlem; I grew up on the west coast but I still have a right to the culture. I’m even using it as music, I was born into Gospel, Jazz, Blues, and Soul music so (For More Gregory Porter Click Next) I have a right to it and I’m staking my claim to the neighborhood and to Jazz.
Gregory Porter: Quite frankly I would have to laugh. First of all Beyonce is huger that huge and the other giant in the room is Anita Baker and she has played the backdrop of my life story for the last 30 years. I’m just hoping I can take pictures with everybody in my category. Then I actually can say I arrived! Seriously, I would be honored. When the lyrics came to me for “Real Good Hands,” and I said, “Momma don’t you worry about your daughter cause you are leaving her in real good hands. Poppa don’t you fret and don’t forget that one day you were in my shoes,” those lyrics suggested a classic kind of soul feel. I don’t think I could have made the music any different, it had to be that way. Sometimes the lyric determines how you write the music. I’m glad to be in the (For More Gregory Porter Click Next) category that I’m in and yes I’m a Jazz singer but I believe my music is open to any genre that will accept it.
Gregory Porter: It’s from a personal experience. My then girlfriend’s father, gave me a threatening phone call. He wanted to know my intentions with his daughter. This was my response to him because I couldn’t respond to him at the time of the call. I wrote this song like two days later and I think I basically conveyed my message in this simple song. “Poppa don’t you fret and don’t forget that one day you were in my shoes.” I understood though because he loved his daughter the same way I did. I eventually did marry her and now everything is all good and I got (For More Gregory Porter Click Next) a Grammy nomination out of it.
Gregory Porter: I’m writing for the next album. I’m not calculating or trying to jump on some pop stuff now. I’m just writing my music and hopefully it will be something interesting for the people to listen to. I want to continue to write about this human condition of love, protest, joy and pain. I’m trying to keep it on a level where it is thoughtful and soulful. No disrespect to anyone that does what they do because every tub sits on it’s own bottom but for me I want to be positive and make strong statements about art, the human story, and makes us a little more thoughtful about our lives and what we do.