One of the greatest voices of our generation, two-time GRAMMY® Award winning singing sensation Gregory Porter returns to South Africa this month for his first solo concert tour ‘An Intimate Evening with Gregory Porter brought to you by Liberty’. He performed in Cape Town at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens today, Saturday, 21 January 2023.
Johannesburg concerts take place at Montecasino’s Teatro on 23, 24, 26, 27 and 28 January 2023 at 8pm.
Brought to you by Liberty and Showtime Management in association with Cape Talk and 702, the SA concert tour dates, including two additional Johannesburg shows, sold out within days of going on sale.
Cape Town based South African singer, actress, storyteller, playwright and inspirational speaker, The One Who Sings (Zolani Mahola) is the opening supporting act at Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden and local musician, composer, producer and curator Msaki is the supporting act for the Johannesburg concerts.
“Audiences are in for a special evening of unparalleled entertainment featuring two of this country’s finest singers, The One Who Sings in Cape Town and Msaki in Johannesburg ahead of world jazz icon, Gregory Porter, one of the greatest voices of our time.”
The One Who Sings and Msaki were both born in the Eastern Cape and their vocal talents went on to establish them as household names across South Africa. The One Who Sings is best known as Zolani Mahola, former lead singer of the internationally acclaimed afro-fusion South African supergroup Freshlyground. She performed with Freshlyground as the supporting act for the Robbie Williams 2006 SA Tour and she has also sung with BB King and Stevie Wonder. In 2010 Zolani Mahola, Freshlyground and Shakira performed the official song of the FIFA World Cup, Waka Waka (This Time for Africa) in both the opening and closing ceremonies. In 2020, Zolani Mahola was the supporting act for the multiple Grammy award winning American cellist Yo-Yo Ma at his one-off Kirstenbosch Gardens performance and they subsequently collaborated on the song “Amphibious Soul”. In 2020, after leaving Freshlyground, Zolani Mahola rebranded to become The One Who Sings and released her solo debut album Thetha Mama in 2022. She has since assembled an all-female group known as the Feminine Force, taking her solo career to a new level.
Avid cricket fan and former provincial cricket player, Msaki released her debut EP, Nalithemba in 2013 and her 2016 debut LP, Zaneliza: How the Water Moves was nominated for a SAMA award. Owing to her versatility Msaki has worked with several House DJ’s, namely Mobi Dixon, Revolution, Sun-El Musician and Black Motion. She featured as a songwriter on Black Coffee’s Grammy® Award winning album Subconsciously, and created the song Fetch Your Life for Prince Kaybee. In 2021, the songstress released her double album, Platinumb Heart and in 2022, Msaki won Best Female Artist of the Year and Best Adult Contemporary Album of the Year. Her international collaborations include Ayra Starr, Mariam, Jorja Smith and Diplo who is a regular collaborator and since releasing Tomorrow Silver in 2021 alongside Sun-El Musician, has been on the top 40 charts. Msaki ended 2022 on a high when she was awarded the Standard Bank Young Artist Award for 2022.
“Supporting a show of this magnitude embodies our desire to be “in all of it” with our clients and South Africans. The addition of these two local artists to the concert line-up is exciting and is an opportunity for South Africans to enjoy the incredible artistry of both local and international talent. We’re certain those attending will find joy and great pleasure from the concerts,” says Marees Bostander, Head: Brand Strategy and Sponsorships at Liberty.
Hailing from New York, seven-time GRAMMY nominee, Gregory Porter is easily recognised by his signature cap and “deep booming baritone”. This highly talented musician, actor and recording artist who previously played in SA at the Joy of Jazz Festival in 2014 and 2015, has a long association with the people of this country and the African continent.
“Whether he’s recording, streaming or live on stage, Gregory Porter is big in stature and voice but far bigger in the hearts of his South African fans,” says Showtime Management’s Tony Feldman. “We are looking forward to welcoming this music giant back to the country.”
Over the past decade, Porter has taken the world by storm, bringing Jazz to the masses and collecting numerous accolades and acknowledgements. Known for his warm baritone vocals, singer and songwriter Gregory Porter rose to acclaim in the 2010s with his earthy, cross-pollinated brand of jazz, soul, and gospel. A gifted singer of standards as well as more contemporary soul material, Porter has earned favourable comparisons to his idols Nat King Cole, Donny Hathaway, and Stevie Wonder.
He announced his arrival by picking up a Grammy nomination for his 2010 debut, Water. After signing to Blue Note, he gained even wider notice for his third album, 2013’s Liquid Spirit, which hit number two on the jazz charts, and won the Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Album. Produced by Brian Bacchus, Liquid Spirit album landed at number two on the Billboard Top Jazz Albums chart. It also became the one of the most streamed jazz albums of all time, with over 20 million streams.
His second effort for Blue Note, Take Me to the Alley, was released in early 2016, and featured Porter’s own version of “Holding On,” a track he co-wrote and previously recorded with electronic act Disclosure. Also in 2016, Porter delivered the concert album Live in Berlin. The following year he released an album that paid tribute to the artist who had been most influential on his own music. Nat King Cole & Me featured Porter’s versions of some of Cole’s most treasured classics, including “Smile” and “Mona Lisa.” The concert album One Night Only: Live at the Royal Albert Hall arrived in 2018.
In 2019 the singer launched and hosted his own podcast, ‘The Hang’, which has amassed two successful seasons to date and played host to a range of celebrity guests.
In 2020 Gregory Porter eagerly returned to the studio with the release of his sixth studio album ‘All Rise’, out on Decca Records / Blue Note. ‘All Rise’ marked a return to Gregory’s much loved, heart-on-sleeve lyrics imbued with everyday philosophy and real-life detail, set to a stirring mix of jazz, soul, blues, and gospel.
‘All Rise’ also represents the evolution of Porter’s art to something even more emphatic, emotive, intimate, and universal too. After ‘Nat King Cole & Me’, Porter knew two things: one, he’d bring in an orchestra for his next LP, and, two, music is medicine. In the spirit of that latter revelation, ‘All Rise’ brims with songs about irrepressible love, plus a little protest, because the road to healing is bumpy.
Following ‘All Rise’, Gregory Porter released his debut collection ‘Still Rising’ album a year later, in 2021. This 34-track double album includes brand new songs, covers duets and a handpicked selection of his much-loved songs. ‘Still Rising’ is an exquisite selection box of musical delights. The first disc includes five brand-new tracks, two new arrangements and nine of Porter’s most loved global tracks. The second disc features breath-taking covers and duets, boasting songs with Paloma Faith, Moby, Jamie Cullum, Jeff Goldblum, Ella Fitzgerald and many more.
Of the collection, Porter says: “This is my music up until now, but it’s not a ‘Greatest Hits’. They often come at the end of someone’s career, and I still feel new and young in mine. I have much more to say. There is always something in an artist’s career that people don’t know about; I wanted to bring it to their attention. The album title echoes my last one, All Rise, because I am reiterating something evident in my music and the new songs here – this upward-looking optimism about life and love. It’s an unfinished story for me, both musically and personally. And I’m still learning how to do this. Still rising.”
Early in 2021, Porter released ‘The PorterHouse with Gregory Porter’ Presented by Citi, a six-episode cooking series in which the singer shares recipes inspired by his local community, culinary experiences on tour and his own family cooking traditions.
Early last year Gregory Porter was invited by fellow GRAMMY nominated vocalist, Somi to record the song “Love Tastes like Strawberries” as a duet, on her ‘Zenzile, The Reimagination of Miriam Makeba’ album in tribute to Makeba’s 1965 album “An Evening with Belafonte/Makeba.”
TOUR INFORMATION – ALL TICKETS SOLD OUT
CAPE TOWN: Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, Saturday, 21 January 2023, 7pm. SOLD OUT
Ticket price: R850
JOHANNESBURG: Montecasino’s Teatro SOLD OUT
Monday, 23 January; Tuesday, 24 January, 8pm; Thursday, 26 January; Friday, 27 January; Saturday, 28 January 2023, 8pm
Ticket prices: R750, R850, R1000, R1250, R1500