And the Grammy goes to…Esperanza Spalding. There have been many discussions about Esperanza Spalding’s recent win at the Grammy Awards as “Best New Artist” of the year. I have witnessed the frustration of many people, tweeting posts of dislike and confusion. Many feel that Esperanza Spalding did not deserve this honor and that the other nominees like Justin Bieber, Drake, Florence & The Machine, or Mumford & Sons were better candidates for this highly anticipated and prestigious award. On the other hand, I have also seen many individuals, mostly from the jazz community, congratulating Esperanza Spalding saying that her musicianship and creativity is finally rewarded on a high level. So, I thought that in this post I would like to share my thoughts and give insight to those that did not expect and were shocked by this news.
The question that many people are asking is: Who is Esperanza Spalding and why did such an unknown nominee end up winning “Best New Artist”?
Esperanza Spalding is known for being an innovative, creative jazz singer/bassist. Combining jazz with other styles of music, her compositions and approach to jazz focus on exploring the balance of her avant-garde bass playing and warm soulful, sultry voice. Her first solo album debut, Junjo, and her highly acclaimed 2008 release Esperanza continues to receive attention both locally and internationally. Esperanza, soon after being released, went straight to the top of the Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz chart and has also been recognized by other reputable jazz magazines and organizations like the Jazz Journalist Association. In addition, Esperanza Spalding is no stranger to President Obama or the White House. She was invited to perform at the Oslo City Hall where President Obama accepted his 2009 Nobel Prize, as well as other White House events. Just recently, Spalding released a unique yet intriguing album, Chamber Music Society, which includes innovative compositions that incorporate styles like folk, classical, and modern sounds.
Here is Esperanza Spalding talking about her latest release Chamber Music Society.