Grammy award winner Gregory Porter, aka “The king of cool” (Mail on Sunday) has released his contender for the Christmas #1, a stirring rendition of Nat King Cole’s festive classic, ‘The Christmas Song’.
The timeless classic, ‘The Christmas Song’, was written by Bob Wells and Mel Tormé and was first recorded by the Nat King Cole way back in 1946 one summer’s day in an attempt to feel cool, by thinking cool. The definitive Cole version was recorded with a full orchestra in 1961, and has become one of the best-loved holiday songs ever released.
Speaking of the song, Gregory Porter said,
“Its not Christmas till you smell the chestnuts roasting on the open fire! The Christmas song is a true classic, and for me, Nat King Cole’s version is the definitive. I have fond memories listening to it as a child and to record it in tribute to Nat, is no doubt the best gift I will receive this year.”
Gregory has had yet another landmark year in the UK – becoming the biggest selling jazz artist of the year so far after his new album ‘Nat King Cole & Me’ hit No.3 on the Official UK Album Chart. It is his highest ever chart position and biggest-selling first week. ‘Nat King Cole & Me’ is also Gregory’s fastest streamed album to date, hitting one million streams three times faster than his previous album, ‘Take Me To The Alley’.
Commenting on the success of the album, he said,
“I’m very grateful for the success of ‘Nat King Cole And Me’. This is a deeply personal project and a humble tribute to Nat’s incredible music. I can trace his influence back to when I was five or six years old, when Nat’s music filled a void in me when my father wasn’t in my life and wasn’t showing interest in me. Nat’s words were the life lessons, words of wisdom and fatherly advice I needed.”
The new album marks the first time Gregory has recorded with a full 70-piece orchestra, under the baton of six-time Grammy-winning conductor and arranger Vince Mendoza. Gregory will also be embarking on aUK tour in April next year, including two nights at the Royal Albert Hall where he’ll be joined by an orchestra.
‘Nat King Cole & Me’ is the follow-up to Gregory’s Grammy-winning albums ‘Liquid Spirit’ (2013) and ‘Take Me to the Alley’ (2016). ‘Liquid Spirit’ took Gregory from being the biggest name on the jazz scene to being one of the most sought-after singers around today, performing sell-out shows across the UK and being invited to perform on high profile TV programmes including The Graham Norton Show where he recently performed with movie legend Jeff Goldblum, as well as on Strictly Come Dancing, and the BBC Music Awards. He has become an adopted national treasure in the UK, visiting number 10 Downing Street, and singing for the Queen multiple times, as well as major music festivals including Glastonbury, where he performed on the Pyramid Stage alongside the likes of Muse, Adele and Coldplay.
Gregory Porter’s ability to transcend genres even extends to his surprise dance hit, ‘Liquid Spirit Claptone Remix’, which became one of the most popular tracks in Ibiza. Gregory has even launched his own TV series, ‘Gregory Porter’s Popular Voices’, on BBC4, which started on December 1, focusing on his favourite vocal showstoppers, celebrating Ella Fitzgerald, Mahalia Jackson, Freddie Mercury, Prince, Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey and featuring conversations with artists including Dave Grohl, Beck and Adam Lambert.
After winning over audiences with his rich and soulful voice, there can be no better time for Gregory to return to the music which first inspired him to become a singer. On Nat’s legacy and influence Gregory affirms,
“He was one of a kind. He left such great music – such beautiful things to listen to that you can’t help but be influenced by that extraordinary timbre, style, and ultimate cool.”