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Behind the Scenes with Gregory Porter

This post is a part of a series of playlists curated by artists, UMS Staff, and community. Check out more music here.
Photo: Gregory Porter. Photo by Shawn Peters.

NPR Music has hailed Gregory Porter as “the next great male jazz singer.” His album Liquid Spirit, which has gospel, blues, and R&B influences, was recently awarded the 2014 Grammy Award for “Best Vocal Jazz Album.” We can’t be more excited to present Gregory Porter at the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor on October 15, 2014.

We asked Gregory to share a few of his favorite tunes with us, and to tell us about why these songs inspire him. Check out his selections and listen along below.

Nature Boy – Nat King Cole
Gregory Porter: Because he’s a favorite of mine. His lyrical expression, the depth and tone of his voice is extraordinary. He was also a great song-smith, and a great song craftsman and song selector in a way. Because with “Nature Boy,” the entire construction is about that last line, “the greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.” That’s something that’s a good thing to walk through life with.

Compared to What – Lester McCann 
Gregory Porter: This is a statement of his personality. Although he didn’t write the tune, the way he expresses it is as though you’re reading from his personal journal. It is also a mix of soul, gospel and blues, and in a way, this is the school that I’m coming from. It’s just so so so soulful!

In a Sentimental Mood – Duke Ellington
Gregory Porter: It’s just classic and beautiful. When I hear it, it reminds me of open windows during spring and fresh air blowing through the house. I can’t explain why, that’s just the way it is for me!

What did you think about this playlist? Share your thoughts or song suggestions in the comments below.