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Colin Porter: An Artist to Watch

Updated on March 24, 2014
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I started working in the performing arts industry after attending Colgate University in 1981. My early work was as a personal manager.

Colin Porter on guitar.
Colin Porter on guitar.
Colin Porter is a soft spoken artist with a "big" singing voice.
Colin Porter is a soft spoken artist with a "big" singing voice.
Bob Marley single handedly made Reggae music accepted around the world.
Bob Marley single handedly made Reggae music accepted around the world.
Beres Hammond is the Jamaican crooner that has helped solidify 'Lover's Rock' music genre.
Beres Hammond is the Jamaican crooner that has helped solidify 'Lover's Rock' music genre.
British R&B crooner, Billy Ocean, hit the big time with his 1984 Grammy Award win for, 'Caribbean Queen'.
British R&B crooner, Billy Ocean, hit the big time with his 1984 Grammy Award win for, 'Caribbean Queen'.

The Crooner of Reggae to R&B Music

While vacationing in Jamaica, one of the first sounds I heard while exiting the plane was a group of men playing those steelpans (or steel drums). As the musicians, or "pannists" as they are called, drummed out a pleasant sound, I immediately felt welcomed to Jamaica, a country steeped in rich and distinctive traditions.

Jamaicans have a musical heritage that stems from their African and European roots with Reggae music being the most recognized sound. These thumping sounds are rich and infectious and encompass expression of personal freedom, independence and religion.

Undoubtedly, Jamaica's most famous musician is Bob Marley whose influence helped bring Reggae music into the American musical concious. There have been many great and influential singer/musicians to hail from Jamaica since, such as Freddie McGregor, Beres Hammond, Barrington Levy and the legendary Jimmy Cliff.

"Bob Marley, for me, and probably for most performing artists, is the standard of musicianship to strive towards, because not only did his music help revolutionize a country politically [Jamaica], but it endeared Reggae music and Jamaican folk music to hundreds of millions of people globally. And his presence is still an influence today. That goes to his musical genius and how universal music really is just that. Transcending all color lines, social/economic boundaries, political and religious dogmas. That this man of mixed heritage, from a 'third world' country such as Jamaica, could take the world by storm where we are still feeling the winds of that storm some 33 years after his death", Colin Porter says.

Colin Porter is a musician and singer who comes from that rich musical heritage. The minute he opens his mouth to sing, one immediately can hear the depth and breadth of his rich, full-bodied, mellifluous tenor-baritone voice. It is safe to say that Colin Porter is in essence a singer’s singer.

From Ballads, 'Lover’s Rock', and Standards, Colin Porter does wonderful turns on songs from Luther Vandross, The Bee Gees, Al Jareau, and Ray Charles, Jimmy Cliff and Bob Marley, to name a few. It is with his own unique style of song interpretation that we see his gift as a singer.

"I like the great crooners of all the genres of music. If you are talking about standards, Nat King Cole, Tony Bennett and Frank Sinatra were iconic. R&B music, perhaps my favorite is Luther Vandross, whose music last I heard, is the most sought after by couples choosing wedding songs. Lovers Rock, which I grew up on in Jamaica, I'd have to say, Beres Hammond is my all time favorite, but certainly people like Sanchez and Bitty McLean as well as the ladies, Louisa Mark and Janet Kay, are all influences", according to Porter.

Although Colin Porter is now pursuing the U.S. market of R&B, he says Lovers Rock music is the foundation of his music. Lovers Rock is a style of reggae music noted for its romantic sound and content. While love songs had been an important part of reggae since the late 1960s, the style was given a greater focus and a name in London in the mid 1970s.

"Listen, good music, and the great singers of old and of present day, transcend all genres of music", says Colin who is writing music for a new CD in the works paying homage to all the greats as mentioned.

Of course, the last big Top 10 musical success in the United States who came from the islands, by way of Britain, was Billy Ocean. With his Grammy Award for Best Male R&B Vocal performance for 1984's 'Caribbean Queen', Billy Ocean possessed great vocals that brought us several hits in the 80s. There really has not been a success on the level of Billy since that time.

Porter feels the time has come for another singer from the Islands to emerge. Hailing from Philadelphia in the parish of St. Ann’s, Jamaica, Porter has been singing since childhood.

He began covering songs of those great artists in and around South Florida clubs, after moving to the states in 2000, where he constantly wowed audiences. This has led Colin to perform as a back-up artist for professional bands in South Florida in the studio and on stage at concerts.

Before leaving Jamaica, Colin regularly performed in cabarets in north coast resorts, and was the lead vocalist for the resident band at the Wyndham Rose Hall Hotel set on the beautiful 18th century Rose Hall Plantation in Montego Bay.

A quiet, reserved, some might say almost shy man, Porter is full of energy with his musicianship and his strong tenor vocals on stage.

His first taste with professional singing began with the Bricks Incorporated band in Brown’s Town, St. Ann’s, Jamaica. From there it was with another band, Vital Roots, at the Club Caribbean in Salem, Runaway Bay, Jamaica.

In the late 80s, Porter performed with the Ocho Rios Band at the Shaw Park Beach Hotel and at the former Franklin Delano Roosevelt Hotel, and the Breezes Runaway Bay Hotels.

Porter steadily cut his chops with house bands at the San Souci Hotel and Mallards Beach Hotels, and regularly performed at the Cabaret Club Caribbean and the Caribbean Ambiance Hotels respectively. In 1993, Porter became a regular at the Enchanted Gardens Resort in Ocho Rios.

As a studio artist, Porter did backup vocals on an album by Jamaica recording artist, Don Bloom, which gave him the opportunity to perform live at the Jamaica Ocho Rios Jazz and the Mutual Life Jazz Festivals, and then later with Jamaican Jazz sensation, Ms. Karen Smith.

When he’s not performing professionally, Porter can be heard entertaining audiences at his favorite hangout at Tropix Lounge in South Florida on any given Friday night.

It is Porter's mission now to follow his favorite artists success as he takes his singing to that next level. With a finished original song he penned for an upcoming studio release of an album featuring various artists, Porter says, "I want my music to be able to make people enjoy themselves".

With his rich musical heritage and determination to make a name for himself here in the states, Colin Porter is poised to have many people enjoying his music.

See more and booking info for Colin Porter at: http://www.leroydecostaonline.com/


Your Secret Love

Billy Ocean's 'Caribbean Queen'

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