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Stephanie Porter: biography

Stephanie Porter

 

 Bio (Extended Version)

Seattle native Stephanie Porter, a naturally-gifted vocalist, has had a passion for music her whole life.

 “It’s in my inner fabric,” said Porter. “Most of my childhood memories are associated with music in some way.”

 When she was a baby, Porter’s father made her a reel-to-reel tape of “The Wizard of Oz,” which she listened to almost every night for years.

 “Judy Garland’s voice amazed me and I would sing along with the tape,” she said. “Not surprisingly, ‘Somewhere over the Rainbow’ was one of my first songs.”

 Her mother, who has always loved Ella Fitzgerald, would pick Porter up and dance with her on her hip to Ella records.

 “I think listening to the freedom of Ella’s voice soaring over melodies inspired me and helped open my mind at a young age,” said Porter. “We had stacks of records too. I would listen to album after album and heard so many renditions of songs. I didn’t have a favorite. I loved hearing all the expressions each artist had. I listened to them all.”

Porter was brought up in a house rich with music. Her family is filled with musicians – from vocalists to pianists to horn players. Her grandfather, Pietro Carrabba performed in bands at the first-ever world’s fair. He played in theaters and was a well-respected teacher. He passed his gift on to three of his children. Their children are now working in the music industry as well.

 “We had parties that would often turn into jam sessions. They loved to play and I loved to listen,” said Porter. “A grandmother born in 1899, my parents the 1930’s, brothers and sisters in the 1950’s and 60’s and then myself in ‘73. …From room to room, there were different genres of music playing and all were welcome. Opera, big band, jazz, classic rock, disco… you name it. I would sing everything, entertaining anyone who would listen.”

At 19, Porter started sneaking into jazz clubs and sitting in with bands. She would go to jam sessions at different clubs in town, from Mindamen’s in Renton to Sorry Charlie’s in Seattle – anywhere she could listen, learn and participate. Her first live jazz experience, outside of the family, was at Laferno’s where legendary bassist Buddy Catlett led a jam session.

 “My heart was racing because I was under age,” said Porter. “I was wearing hiking boots and jeans and was invited to sing a song. I stood on stage in a pose that could have been mistaken for a runner just before the gun goes off.”

 Porter quickly grew as an artist. The following year, in 1993, she was hired for her first paid gig, performing with award-winning pianist Zyah Ahmonuel, at Cheers West in Tacoma. By the time she turned 21, she was working regularly at a number of clubs. Porter was Tula’s first weeknight entertainer, singing jazz with a Trio every Monday night.

It was in the mid-90’s that Porter proved her versatility, when she was selected, out of over 150 vocalists who auditioned, to join the popular disco group, “Hit Explosion.” She performed with Hit Explosion from 1996 to 2000, opening for a multitude of national acts (including Chaka Khan, Living Colour, Cameo, Glen Fry, Michael McDonald and Kansas). During this time, she also continued to perform jazz, her favorite medium, recording “My Heart Belongs to Daddy,” which ascended to the top 100 of the Gavin Jazz Chart. 

Harvey Siders (Emmy Award winning producer, composer, and jazz critic of Down Beat and Jazz Times) wrote about her critically-acclaimed album, Mood Swings, “Stephanie Porter is one of the most complex individuals and unpredictable singers I’ve ever met. But, to know her is to love her; she’s the paragon of honesty … Lord, how this lady sings.” National Public Radio station, KPLU (88.5 FM), still features a number of songs from this classic album nationwide. The album has been sold in over 25 countries.

A longtime figure in the Northwest jazz scene, Porter has worked with over 50 groups as a freelance vocalist and is often spotlighted as a featured or special guest artist. She has worked in some of the top venues in the region including Jazz Alley, the Triple Door, Tula’s and El Gaucho’s Pampas Room. She is an outstanding jazz vocalist with a clear, sultry tone and a bright and appealing stage presence.

 “Seattle musicians encouraged me, and I have had a lot of support working with great band leaders and musicians,” said Porter. “There is a wealth of knowledge in this town and many well-traveled, experienced musicians find their way here.  I have had the opportunity to work with many of them, which has been a great experience.”

Over the years, she has performed at numerous festivals and special events. She has also headlined at high-profile galas for such organizations as the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. In addition to the Northwest, she has performed in venues across the country, as well as Canada, France and England.

“I can’t imagine not singing,” she said.

Her latest album, How Deep is the Ocean, is a brilliant showcase of her amazing talent as a vocalist. Porter delivers each note with purpose and honesty.

 

Bio (condensed version)

Seattle native Stephanie Porter, a naturally-gifted vocalist, has had a passion for music her whole life. Porter was brought up in a house rich with music. Her family, filled with musicians – from vocalists to pianists to horn players, would often host jam sessions that she would sing in. At the young age of 19, she began sitting in local jazz clubs. Porter quickly grew as an artist, opening for a multitude of national acts (including Chaka Khan, Living Colour, Cameo, Glen Fry, Michael McDonald and Kansas), as a member of the popular disco group, “Hit Explosion” from 1996 to 2000. During this time, she also continued to perform jazz, her favorite medium, recording “My Heart Belongs to Daddy,” which ascended to the top 100 of the Gavin Jazz Chart. 

 Harvey Siders (Emmy Award winning producer, composer, and jazz critic of Down Beat and Jazz Times) wrote about her critically-acclaimed album, Mood Swings, “Stephanie Porter is one of the most complex individuals and unpredictable singers I’ve ever met. But, to know her is to love her; she’s the paragon of honesty … Lord, how this lady sings.” National Public Radio station, KPLU (88.5 FM), still features a number of songs from this classic album nationwide. The album has been sold in over 25 countries.

 A longtime figure in the Northwest jazz scene, Porter has worked with over 50 groups as a freelance vocalist and is often spotlighted as a featured or special guest artist. She has worked in some of the top venues in the region including Jazz Alley, the Triple Door, Tula’s and El Gaucho’s Pampas Room. She is an outstanding jazz vocalist with a clear, sultry tone and a bright and appealing stage presence.

 Over the years, she has performed at numerous festivals and special events. She has also headlined at high-profile galas for such organizations as the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. In addition to the Northwest, she has performed in venues across the country, as well as Canada, France and England.

 Her latest album, How Deep is the Ocean, is a brilliant showcase of her amazing talent as a vocalist. Porter delivers each note with purpose and honesty.

 

Bio (Very Condensed)

Seattle native Stephanie Porter, an outstanding jazz vocalist with a clear, sultry tone and a bright and appealing stage presence, has had a passion for music her whole life. From 1996 to 2000, Porter opened for a multitude of national acts (including Chaka Khan, Living Colour, Cameo, Glen Fry, Michael McDonald and Kansas), as a member of the popular disco group, “Hit Explosion.” During this time, she also recorded “My Heart Belongs to Daddy,” which ascended to the top 100 of the Gavin Jazz Chart. National Public Radio station, KPLU (88.5 FM), still features a number of songs from her critically-acclaimed album, Mood Swings, nationwide. The album has been sold in over 25 countries.

A longtime figure in the Northwest jazz scene, Porter has worked with over 50 groups as a freelance vocalist and is often spotlighted as a featured or special guest artist in some of the region’s top venues. She has also performed at numerous festivals and special events. In addition to the Northwest, she has performed in venues across the country, as well as Canada, France and England.

Her latest album, How Deep is the Ocean, is a brilliant showcase of her amazing talent as a vocalist.

-Jessica Davis