Gregory Porter Heads Into the Cosmos in a New Video, Ahead of His Role in a NASA Launch

Jul 23, 2020

Gregory Porter was aboard a plane when he wrote “Concorde,” the opening track from his sixth studio album, ALL RISE.

A song marked both by yearning and a sense of lift — two Porter trademarks — it’s out today as a single, along with an evocative video. “Slicing through the stratosphere / Twice the speed of sound,” Porter booms in the tune. “Life is moving under me / Before I touch the ground.”

The video depicts Porter as an astronaut, getting suited up in a Brooklyn apartment and walking through the neighborhood of Bed-Stuy. It also features Porter’s son, Demyan, who races to catch the spaceman’s launch from outside the Franklin Avenue-Fulton Street Metro.

The release of “Concorde” coincides with some welcome interplanetary news: NASA has tapped Porter to be a part of its latest mission to Mars.

The Perseverance Rover, designed to record audio and collect samples from the surface of the Red Planet, will launch from Cape Canaveral on July 30. Porter will become the first recording artist to perform as part of a Mars mission launch, singing “America the Beautiful” from his home in California as part of the event’s live coverage.

Engineers observe the first driving test for the Perseverance Rover at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., on Dec. 17, 2019.
Credit NASA/JPL-Caltech

“I feel honored to be invited by NASA to perform before this historic launch,” Porter said in a press statement. “I have always been inspired by space exploration ever since I was a boy, and it continues to fill me with awe when I look to the sky at night. It is wonderful to be part of this spectacular event and share in a collective moment of inter-planetary adventure with millions around the world.”

Porter’s accompaniment on “Concorde” includes Chip Crawford on piano, Jahmal Nichols on bass and Troy Miller on drums. The horn arrangement is by Miller and Etienne Charles. ALL RISE is due out on Blue Note on Aug. 28.