- Oct 16, 2014
- By WSAATL Writer
- In Awardees
- Comments Off on Paul Porter
Take a little bit of the soulful styling’s of Al Green, a generous splash of that traditional Gospel quartet sound, add a pinch of old school R&B with a teaspoon of Urban grooves, stir them together with the silky smooth voice of Paul Porter and you have “A New Day”, Porter’s debut solo release. Porter has experienced his share of trials as well as jubilant moments but each has prepared him for the very moment where he could say…this is a new day.
The youngest child of Reverend Eddie Porter and Ora Porter, Paul Porter grew up in Detroit, Michigan, August 20, 1962. With both parents committed to the work of the ministry, Porter shared in their vision to minister even at an early age, beginning his career singing in the church choir. “My mother started me singing on Easter Sunday when I was 3 years old. She put me up on the table at the church and I sung my first song,” Paul shares. Under his father’s direction, Porter led his first group at just nine years old and became known for his natural vocal ability and versatility.
After school Paul decided to follow his brother, Tyrone, to Suntag, Mississippi for a change of pace from the home of Motown. During their school days the brothers would sing in different quartet groups and together with their cousins, Ronald and Arnold, they formed the original Christianaires. “My father always wanted us to do a little quartet group because he was in a quartet group. He (my father) would get us in the basement and if we got out of key he would pop us upside the head,” Porter remembers with a smile.
Before the Christianaires started a recording career, the group spent long hours touring, performing at churches and conventions, as well as doing concerts and spots on television. They completed their first album, Ain’t No Way I Could Lose in 1984. They later went on to record 10 additional albums most notably The Vision Becomes Clearer, Reaching Out, Saints Hold On, and Standing Room Only.
Throughout his time in the group, Paul lent his soulful, tenor voice to luminaries like the Williams Brothers, the Original Drifters, and the Jackson Southernaires. “I started with Melvin and Doug, and Frank Williams in Jackson, MS, and just around Jackson, MS I ran into a lot of artists. I started playing guitar with the Williams Brothers when they needed a player on some of the same dates. I sang with the Mighty Clouds of Joy. I interacted with a lot of groups during my 30 year career.”
The same passion that Paul felt ministering on stage, he felt working behind the scenes; writing, producing, and arranging for artists such as New Harvest, The Canton Spirituals, and Melvin Williams, to name a few.
In 1996 Porter’s career came to an abrupt halt and his faith was tested when he suffered a brain aneurism. As a result of the aneurism, he lost sight, his voice, his ability to walk, and motor skills. “It was a wake-up call for me and it gave me a sense of closeness to God although the doctors had given me up to die.” It took nearly five years for Paul to completely regain his footing. Confined to a wheelchair and having to attend therapy to regain basic daily functions, Porter persevered and continued to push forward.
Renewing his vision, spiritually and physically, Paul found inner strength and support in a song he wrote, “You’ve Been So Good”. “When I wrote the song it really didn’t hit me as much until I had my sickness and came out of it, it is truly a personal testimony for me.” Paul was a witness that tragedy can be turned into a testimony of God’s faithfulness and mercy. The song simply says that through everything, no matter what happened you have been so good. Paul sings, “He’s been shelter in the time of the storm. He wrapped his arms around me and kept me warm.”
Paul remembers the promise that he made to God when he was sick. “I told Him when I got off my sick bed; I would testify everywhere I went.” His story has touched and inspired others, but long before his sickness Paul served as inspiration for others.
Paul has been a blessing to so many people. He has pushed people out of the storm but even more he has pushed through his own battles to see that today is a new day. “Just as the diamond has to go through the fire to become a precious gem, so do we in our daily lives. This is a new day for me spiritually and physically.”
Overcoming obstacles is a part of the natural progression of life and Paul is on the other side with new faith, vision, and tenacity. Stepping out on God’s promise, Porter is presenting an album that traditional gospel quartet fans will appreciate as well capturing a new generation of listeners. “If there was style called variety that is the category this project would be in.”
Paul Porter has a story to tell that would fill more than just one album which means that his solo career has only just begun. Sure to be one of the most anticipated gospel recordings of 2008, “A New Day” gives that traditional gospel quartet sound an edgy update and those R&B grooves a spiritual injection.
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