In the short time since Gregory Porter exploded onto the international music scene with his debut album Water (2010), he has racked up a continuing stream of accolades and awards. His first release garnered a Best Jazz Vocal Grammy nomination (a rare feat for a debut recording), rocketed to No. 1 on both iTunes and Amazon in the UK, made significant sales inroads, and soared on to be included on an international array of year-end Best of 2010 lists in several genres. The happy result is that, in less than two years, these successes have created a formidable draw for Porter as an international touring artist.

Porter's ascending star is viewed most brightly in Europe, especially in the UK, where he has performed on Jamie Cullum's BBC radio program, on Later with Jools Holland, as a featured guest at the London Jazz Festival, and as one of two special guests on Carole King's 2011 BBC holiday television special. The country's Jazzwise Magazine named Water the No. 1 Jazz Album of 2011 (the first time a vocal album has achieved this distinction.). Meanwhile, across the channel in France and Belgium, press and radio have showered Porter with incredible accolades, lauding him as the new "Roi of Vocal Jazz" in both jazz and mainstream press outlets such as L'Express.

In review after review, critics are inspired to comment on Porter as a "leader of the pack," a performer of extraordinary presence who has been compared with the greatest of the greats, such as Joe Williams, Nat Cole, Donny Hathaway, and Marvin Gaye. As musically solid as his recordings are and as powerful and honest as his magnificent voice is, it may just well be the brilliance of his poetry and the unguarded depth of his emotional delivery that is most fueling his rapid rise to fame. On his hotly anticipated sophomore release Be Good (2012), he has crafted a work that not only meets, but is likely to surpass, the heightened expectations of the jazz and soul audiences around the world.

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  • Gregory Porter