The Unusual, Accidental Pop Success of Portugal. The Man

The Portland stalwarts became Grammy-winning chart-toppers in under a year. Here's how they did it


The Unusual, Accidental Pop Success of Portugal. The Man

Two bearded guys in jeans and old T-shirts come down the backstage stairs at the McDonald Theatre in Eugene, Oregon, carrying a hot-dog roller—one of those gleaming, grease-lined contraptions that spin ad infinitum in convenience stores. As they set it up I watch them from the nearby couch I’m sharing with two of the founding members of Portugal. The Man, a band whose eccentric psych-pop has allowed it to float just underneath the mainstream for more then a decade. Last year the group surprised everyone, including themselves, with the massive success of “Feel It Still,” an infectious Motown-inspired jam that has garnered praise from the likes of former president Barack Obama, who included it on his “favorite songs of 2017” playlist.

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