Interviewing Gregory Porter is like jazz. He skips and flits from answer to anecdote – less like conversation, more an improvisation. But the mellow, soulful baritone in which he delivers his words means the double Grammy-winner keeps things beating along comfortably, at once both calm and cool.
“Pizza,” smiles Porter, from beneath his signature peaked cap. “My first ever concert in the UK was in a Pizza Express not far from here. It was a little tiny space – I don’t know if you could get even 50 people in there. But yeh, Pizza Express – that’s when I really arrived.”
Today, just over five years later, Porter is back in Britain with his fifth album, Nat King Cole and Me, in tow. And, although fame may have found the Californian soul singer a little late in life – he had his first worldwide hit aged 41 – Porter believes that the years he spent playing small venues, cafés and even Pizza Express influenced not only his music, but also his outlook on life.