Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Esperanza Spalding won a Grammy award for Best New Artist. She grew up in the King neighborhood of Portland Oregon that she describes as the “ghetto” and “pretty scary”.Esperanza and her brother were raised by their mother. When Esperanza was four years old she was inspired to pursue a life in music while watching Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, and classical cellist YoYo Ma
At the age of five Esperanza taught herself to play the violin and she started playing with the Chamber Music Society of Oregon. Esperanza stayed with the Chamber Music Society until she was fifteen and left as a concertmaster. Esperanza is a self taught musician, she also plays the oboe and the clarinet, but her love is the bass. Esperanza says discovering the bass was like "waking up one day and realizing you’re in love with a co-worker."
At the age of 15 or 16 Esperanza wrote lyrics for a local rock/pop band Noise for Pretend and started doing vocals for them. Esperanza’s vocal style is jazzy with a scanting quality about it.
Esperanza attended Berklee College of Music, but found it hard to meet living expenses even though she had a full scholarship. Esperanza started to give up music and go into political science; but jazz guitarist and composer Pat Metheny told Esperanza she had “the X Factor” and that she could make it if she applied herself. Esperanza toured with Patti Austin for three years and saxophonist Joe Lovano while attending Berklee. Esperanza was awarded the Boston Jazz Society scholarship for outstanding musicianship in 2005. That same year she was the first ever youngest professor in the institutions history, at the age of 20.

 I had not heard of Esperanza Spalding until she won the Grammy for Best New Artist. It is great that she won beating out the other artist in that category, Justin Beiber. To have a real musician who can play an instrument and sing in my opinion is great.
I hope the people who vote for the nominees realize that it’s not always about popularity. Esperanza Spalding is a great Jazz musician and singer and we will be hearing a lot more from her for years to come.

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