Gregory Porter Receives MOBO 2017 Award
IF THERE IS A VOICE TO DISCOMBOBULATE A NATION OF MEN AND WOMEN, THEN GREGORY PORTER WEARS THE CROWN.
Mi-Soul Radio were among a select few invited to The Gresham Centre last night to witness MOBO, one of Europe’s largest Music Award ceremonies, honour Porter for his Outstanding Contribution to Music.
Hosted by British saxophonist YolanDA Brown, this intimate affair was held at The International Centre of Excellence For Vocal Music Performance. A stunning Wren church located seconds from St Paul’s and notable for its acoustics and rich choral history.
MOBO founder Kanya King presented his award, and the melody maker graced us with two exquisite tracks from his current and fifth studio album, a tribute to one of his biggest influences; Nat King Cole And Me. Accompanied by his long-term pianist, Chip Crawford, the chapel not only encased Porter’s buttery vocal but positioned him just right of the chapel’s pulpit where he effortlessly preached his magic to a diminutive industry-led congregation.
He began with one of Cole’s own favourites; Mona Lisa and followed with self-penned When Love Is King from Liquid Spirit, which receives a new epic arrangement.
Porter manages to effortlessly balance between demonstrating Coles distinct vocal sound and brandishing his own virtuoso talent. Very few artists are able to grant the listener such space and he does this with ease. Imagine you are stood, toes curling around the crumbling rocks of a cliff edge, but instead of a fatal fall, you are magically lifted up into the air and find yourself floating peacefully in the sky. His magnetic and centred performance fueled with his signature, simplistic melodies, carry a hefty emotional weight and quite honestly left us all holding every single breath.
Where does that voice come from, YolanDa asks; “Sometimes I close my eyes and I can feel my mother on my shoulder, and my grandmother. All my people are in my music. Sitting in the front row at church, my brothers watching Soul Train, that’s there. I feel I’m doing it for many that have been before me and I’m going to keep doing it until the wheels drop off.”
Bravo MOBO for honouring such aptitude and thank you Mr Gregory Porter, for keeping the spirit and sounds of a far-flung Golden age alive.