Jazz star and Grammy Award winner Gregory Porter 'super excited' to be playing at Scarborough's Open Air Theatre

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Jazz singer-songwriter Gregory Porter says he is “super excited” about his gig at Scarborough’s Open Air Theatre this summer – and may even find his personal winner of a fish and chips competition started with another music icon, Jools Holland.

Speaking to the Scarborough News from his home in Bakersfield, California, two-time Grammy Award-winner Porter said of his gig on Monday July 1:

"I heard the description [of the OAT] and seen the pictures and I’m very much looking forward to it.

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"Sometimes venues can inspire something in the artist, beautiful scenery and who knows what’ll happen.

Grammy Award-winner Gregory Porter is coming to Scarborough Open Air Theatre.picture: Erik UmpheryGrammy Award-winner Gregory Porter is coming to Scarborough Open Air Theatre.picture: Erik Umphery
Grammy Award-winner Gregory Porter is coming to Scarborough Open Air Theatre.picture: Erik Umphery

"I’ve done a lot of intimate gigs and larger venues – my favourite is the Royal Albert Hall in London – but there’s something about playing outdoors, there’s something special about an outdoor arena.

"I’m super excited to be coming to Scarborough.”

One of the main draws of being in the resort is, of course, the fish and chips – where they could become the jazz star’s personal favourite.

“I did a bunch of seaside gigs with Jools Holland and we had a competition to find the best fish and chips, from Skegness to everywhere else,” he said.

"I love fish and chips. And I love sticky toffee pudding.

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"I’ve been to Whitby before too, it’s a cute name and a name I can’t forget.

“I went there with my manager and we had a walk along the beach and spent half a day hanging out.”

He said his first ever gig in the UK was at a Pizza Express in London which he described as his “launching pad”.

"There was only room for 150 people, we invited a mix of regular fans and a few seats for the media and it was a wonderful launching pad in the UK.

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“I graduated to the Royal Albert Hall and did three to four shows there last year but Pizza Express was a great place to launch music.”

His advice to people aspiring to be in the music industry who want to have a crack at stardom?

“The thing to do is not try to sound like a person who they like or listen to on the radio.

"They can be influenced by that great sound but personal musical charisma is super important,” he said.

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"Whatever quirky little thing you have, put that into your music – it makes you unique.

"I tell young artists ‘use that thing that you have’ like the seasonings you have in your kitchen, something exotic but you got it already and it’s unique to you.”

Porter’s last five albums have all reached the UK Top 10, with Take Me To The Alley (2016), Nat King Cole & Me (2017) and All Rise (2020) hitting the Top Five, while amassing cumulative streams of 1.6 billion and counting.

The Californian has played at numerous festivals, including Glastonbury, where he wowed the Pyramid Stage, and Radio 2’s Live in Hyde Park.

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He will be joined in Scarborough by singer-songwriter JP Cooper, who described it as “an honour to be invited to perform with such an amazing artist”.

Porter joins artists including Tom Jones, Simple Minds, Anne-Marie, and Paul Weller among headliners announced for TK Maxx presents Scarborough Open Air Theatre’s season for 2024.

The season kicks off on June 2 when Status Quo rock the venue – and singer Francis Rossi said he can’t wait to be back in town.

Visit scarboroughopenairtheatre.co.uk for tickets.

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