Gregory Porter is an American singer, songwriter and actor. He is famously known for wearing a flat cap with straps that cover his ears and chin. According to Smooth Radio, he claimed that the hat functioned as a security blanket and referred to it as a “jazz hat.” However, he is known more for his warm baritone vocals. His music contains elements of jazz, soul and gospel. He has often been compared to Donny Hathaway, Stevie Wonder and Nat King Cole. After signing to Blue Note in 2013, he instantly became noticeable after releasing his album, Liquid Spirit. The album became number two on the jazz charts and won the Best Jazz Vocal Album Grammy. Here are the top 10 best Gregory Porter songs of all time.
10. Hey Laura (2013)
This song tells the story of a man who refuses to move on after his breakup. He visits his ex-girlfriend and asks her whether she has someone in her life. Despite finding out that she has a new boyfriend, he pesters her to still pursue a relationship with him. Gregory’s vocals perfectly convey the sadness you would feel during a breakup.
9. Smile (2017)
The song immediately gives you goosebumps as soon as the song begins with him saying, “Smile.” According to AZ Lyrics, this song was originally sung by Nat King Cole. However, if you heard this rendition over the radio, you would mistake it for the original one since Nat’s and Gregory’s vocals sound alike. The song urges its listeners to face their problems by smiling and not crying.
8. Consequence of Love (2016)
Gregory perfectly illustrates how people may fall out of love due to the long distance between them. According to Marriage, long distances typically end relationships due to the lack of social interaction. Since humans are social, they will seek a relationship in close proximity to them. Despite the long distance, the artist claims that he would still fight to keep the relationship alive.
7. On My Way to Harlem (2012)
This soothing jazz song tackles the disappearance of jazz music in Harlem due to gentrification in the late 1990s. Due to the gentrification, jazz venues had to be closed. Gregory got his start performing at St. Nick’s Pub in Harlem but has since been closed. The song is likely about him lamenting the disappearance of the genre. Being a jazz song, you can also see it as an attempt to revive the genre.
6. Illusion (2010)
Gregory plays the role of a man who struggles to accept that his relationship has ended. In the opening verse, he explains how he tries to wipe her memories by sweeping them under the carpet figuratively. However, he begins to revive memories of his past relationship by planting her favorite flowers. This shows how some people claim they have moved on from a relationship when they have not.
5. Insanity ft Lalah Hathaway (2016)
This is a somber ballad about a man who pleads to his lover to remain committed to their relationship. If you listen to some parts of this song, you will notice its similarities to Endless Love by Mariah Carey and Luther Vandross. The man seems to ignore the things going wrong in the relationship. In this song, the two artists detail how close they were as friends and lovers. They begin to question each other why their relationship failed.
4. Don’t Be a Fool (2016)
Despite being a slow song, Gregory manages to convey some authority when he quotes the song’s title. He achieves that by emphasizing the “don’t” part. This song cautions its audience from loving the wrong people. For instance, he talks of a case whereby a person devotes days to people who love them and nights to other people. He mentions that the consequence of faking love to those who love you leads to mistrust.
3. No Love Dying (2013)
The artist manages to use several metaphors in this song. First, he likens a dying love to an injured bird that flies in his house through the window. He helps the bird heal, which illustrates how he will fight for a love that appears to be on its deathbed. Next, he talks of an Asian vase that has only four flowers. Just when you think his other flowers may have died, he shocks us by telling us that he could only afford three flowers. He further reveals that a kind lady gave him one more flower.
2. If Love is Overrated (2020)
The song beautifully begins with strings and a classic score which slowly leads to the introduction of a piano and Gregory’s vocals. Towards the end, the song introduces a saxophone. The song has a lovely old-school feel, and it is precisely the kind you would use for a Christmas advertisement. In this song, the artist refuses to believe that love is overrated. Typically, people claim love is overrated the moment it fails for them. When you read the lyrics, it becomes clear why he is not ready to call it overrated; he is in love.
1. Be Good (Lion’s Song) (2012)
Although comparing people to lions isn’t new in songs, Gregory manages to provide clever metaphors about them. In the song’s beginning, he talks about brushing his mane. The mane represents his unkempt hair. One could also argue that the man becomes unkempt when he lacks a woman’s love. Next, he talks of a lady who compares his man to a biting lion. The biting represents how the man will hurt her by breaking her heart.
Thanks to Gregory Porter, you can say he is keeping jazz alive. His vocals are enough to cure your nostalgia for 1950s jazz. Additionally, his songs also do a great job of highlighting some social issues like love or what to do when you are faced with a problem. If you are tired of listening to songs that promote irresponsible lifestyles and want something informative, this is the artist to listen to.