The Mahogany Minute is designed for those who haven’t got a huge amount of time on their hands, and artists who have even less. Every artist continues the same lines, and we all get to learn a little bit more about them.
After his meteoric ascent in 2014, we have no doubt that Gregory Porter is a man with a busy schedule. However, we were lucky enough that in between accepting Grammy Awards and performing at renowned venues such as the Royal Albert Hall, he found a spare moment to answer the Mahogany Minute.
Hi, my name is… Gregory Porter.
My parents… are Ruth and Rufus.
I was born… in Sacramento California, and shortly after that I moved to Los Angeles, but I grew up in Bakersfield California.
Now you can find me… in Brooklyn, New York, I’ve lived in Brooklyn for the last 11 years.
It all started when… I was in church, my mother was a minister and she encouraged me to sing in church.
Music has… sustained me and given me an emotional outlet ever since I was about four years old… so it’s been well over 35 years now, and it’s been great.
If I’m not in the studio or on stage… I enjoy spending time with my family and my friends, I love dinner parties, I love to cook and sample and savour all the flavours of life, including really good wine…
The music industry… is an interesting place and at an interesting time. I think everyone is trying to figure out and find out what that means and their place in the music industry, because it has changed so dramatically. For me, music is music. Without it being heard by a million people a song is still a beautiful song.
I’ve never been… to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro.
I wish… I will be able to sing again in the future with Stevie Wonder. That was an extraordinary experience that I had last year.
One song… that I wish I had written and that I hope to record, is a song that was written for it’s last line, The greatest thing you’ll ever learn, Is just to love and be loved in return, Nature Boy, that’s my song (first performed by Nat King Cole).
If I’ve learnt something in the past three years… it is that the personal is universal. I used to think, maybe a little longer than three years ago… that no one wanted to hear my particular story because it only relates to me, but that’s not true because everyone has been through some deep pain, some great joy, some broken heart and in a way everyone likes to know that they are not alone in some personal emotion. So one thing I have learnt in the last few years is that the personal is the universal and your singular story that you manipulate into artistic endeavour, it is something that can be a universal thing for everybody.
This year’s highlight… I’d say two. Sold out show at the Royal Albert Hall, but not just that, the response of the audience and the feeling we generated in the room, it is an iconic place and a place where all of the masters of music have been, and so it was a really extraordinary night for me. The other was again, being on stage with Stevie Wonder, it was an incredible year, not to say winning the Grammy was some small thing though… last year was an extraordinary year for me.
If you listen to my music for the first time… I think you will come across with the understanding that jazz and soul music is emotion first, it’s about the music, it’s about the melody and the harmony, but what should capture you first is emotion, it has to be something that strikes to the heart in order for you to care about it. And so… emotion, emotion, emotion.
Gregory Porter’s ‘Liquid Spirit’ Deluxe Edition CD/DVD (also available digitally) is out now, available to purchase on Amazon. ‘Liquid Spirit’ Expanded Deluxe Edition is also out now and available to purchase on iTunes.