NASA has today announced that Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter Gregory Porter will perform for the launch of its historic Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover Mission. He will give a special rendition of ‘America The Beautiful’ from his home in California, as part of the live coverage of the launch scheduled for Thursday, July 30. Porter is the first recording artist ever to be invited by NASA to perform for a Mars mission launch.
The announcement coincides with the release of Porter’s new single ‘Concorde’ – an upbeat, soulful ode to flight. It is accompanied by a space-themed music video which sees Porter, dressed as an astronaut, starring alongside his son, Demyan. The track is taken from his forthcoming album All Rise, which will be released August 28 on Blue Note Records/Universal Music Group.
Gregory Porter said, “I feel honoured to be invited by NASA to perform before this historic launch. 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.”
Paul Wizikowski, Executive Producer of NASA’s launch broadcast, commented, “The launch of the Mars Perseverance rover from America’s shore to the Jezero crater on Mars is a milestone in humanity’s history. The fact that this flight must be completed in a moment of America’s story that calls for the very best in us to persevere, we felt it fitting to signal this send-off with a focus on what makes America beautiful. Grammy Award-winning Gregory Porter was asked to sing ‘America The Beautiful’ to remind us that from the fruited plains to the shining seas we are in this grand story together.”
NASA’s Perseverance Rover is slated to launch to the Red Planet on July 30 from Cape Canaveral, Florida. The rover is designed to better understand the geology of Mars and seek signs of ancient life. The mission will collect and store a set of rock and soil samples that could be returned to Earth in the future. It will also record the first ever audio from the planet and test new technology to benefit future robotic and human exploration to Mars. Full mission coverage will air live on NASA Television and the agency’s website, as well as numerous other platforms.
Those who tune into the broadcast will be able to witness the silky voice and exuberant personality which has made Gregory Porter one of today’s most successful male modern jazz vocalists. He has achieved international recognition for his Grammy-winning albums Liquid Spirit and Take Me To The Alley and performed to sold-out venues around the world. His sixth studio album, All Rise, marks a return to his beloved original songwriting – heart-on-sleeve lyrics imbued with everyday philosophy and real-life detail, set to a stirring mix of jazz, soul, blues, gospel, and pop.
‘Concorde’ is the fifth single to be taken from the forthcoming record and was written by Porter whilst he was on board an aeroplane. The opening lyrics reflect his fascination with flight: With a million stars in the galaxy / When I’m floating with them it’s hard for me to see / I’m holding on to this dear earth as it spins around with me. While Porter may not be touring at the moment, his love of travel remains unchanged and his performance for NASA is sure to be out of this world.
Photo credit: Ami Sioux