Born to Jewish parents in Worcester, Massachusetts, Porter is the great-granddaughter of prominent Worcester rabbi Joseph Klein. Her grandmother ran the Charlotte Klein Dance Center. Porter's father, Ric Porter, was co-founder, lead singer, and songwriter of the Worcester-based band Zonkaraz. Her mother, Laura Klein, also taught dance, coaching Diane and Elaine Klimaszewski, who appeared on Star Search in 1987 in the junior dance category before they became known as the Coors Light Twins. While in Los Angeles for the twins' appearance on Star Search, the show's producer heard Porter singing in the hotel lobby and booked her to appear on the next episode. Porter has been singing and performing since age three; at age five, she became the youngest Star Search participant ever to win the competition.