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Bakersfield's 2014 Grammy connection - vocalist Gregory Porter

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"Absolutely freaking ecstatic!"

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That was the joyful response of Bakersfield's Lawanda Smith today as she described her reaction to her brother Gregory Porter's achievement at last night's Grammy Award ceremony. His album, Liquid Spirit, earned him the 2014 Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Album. The R&B and jazz vocalist was also nominated for best Traditional R&B Performance for the song “Hey Laura.”

Although he now resides in Brooklyn, New York, Porter was born in Los Angeles and raised in Bakersfield as part of a very talented family. His older brother Lloyd is a successful actor (he will be seen in an upcoming Kit Kat commercial to be shown during the Super Bowl next weekend) and big sister Lawanda Smith is very well known in Bakersfield and the West Coast as a remarkable jazz vocalist herself.

Ms. Smith said jokingly, "I'd like to say that I taught him all he knows, but, that's not true."

She added, "I knew since he was 5 years old that he was destined to reach these heights and even more."

Rarely seen performing without his trademark cap, Porter is no stranger to the Grammy Awards. He has been nominated twice before. His debut album from 2010, Water, was nominated for Best Jazz Vocal album at the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards. His next album, Be Good, released in 2012, had its title track nominated for Best Traditional R&B Performance at the 55th Annual Grammy Awards.

So if you heard a lot of shouting and screaming in your neighborhood last night, chances are that Lawanda was hitting a few celebratory high notes!


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