Grammy Award Nominee for "Best New Artist"
You have to have respect for a young artist in this day and age of overnight celebrity being garnered from the likes of You Tube, or shows like "American Idol", who choose to introduce themselves to an audience that is typically outside the scope of their particular craft in their own way and their own time. I usually find that these are the artists that will not only rise to the top of their genre, but will at the right moment be seen and accepted by music lovers of other genres and to do it in their way in their time.
This is an excerpt of an article by the Associated Press:
"Esperanza Spalding is getting the wider audience she had sought, but her terms."
From the time Esperanza Spalding appeared on the scene in 2005, the dynamic singer, bassist, composer and arranger has been heralded as jazz’s next big thing. Her impressive musicianship has won her White House recital dates, praise from the likes of Stevie Wonder and Herbie Hancock, and critical acclaim.
But last year, as she prepared to perform in front of a hug mainstream audience at a tribute to musical mentor Prince at the BET Awards, she started to think about how the moment could catapult her into pop stardom.
“I was really on this mission, kind of in my mind, to figure out how I was going to take my music to turn it accessible to the pop world. ‘How am I going to turn this into like an Alicia Keys thing?’” she recalled thinking.
But when she got to rehearsals with her famous counterparts – including her idol Keys – she decided fame had somehow warped the purity of their artistry, and she didn’t want that happening to her."
To read the rest
All About Esperanza
If “esperanza” is the Spanish word for hope, then bassist, vocalist and composer Esperanza Spalding could not have been given a more fitting name at birth. Blessed with uncanny instrumental chops, a multi-lingual voice that is part angel and part siren, and a natural beauty that borders on the hypnotic, the 25-year-old prodigy-turned-pro might well be the hope for the future of jazz and instrumental music.
Spalding was born in 1984 and raised on what she calls “the other side of the tracks” in a multi-lingual household and neighborhood in Portland, Oregon. Growing up in a single-parent home amid economically adverse circumstances, she learned early lessons in the meaning of perseverance and moral character from the role model whom she holds in the highest regard to this day – her mother.
But even with a rock-solid role model, school did not come easy to Spalding, although not for any lack of intellectual acumen. She was both blessed and cursed with a highly intuitive learning style that often put her at odds with the traditional education system. On top of that, she was shut in by a lengthy illness as a child, and as a result, was home-schooled for a significant portion of her elementary school years. In the end, she never quite adjusted to learning by rote in the conventional school setting.
“It was just hard for me to fit into a setting where I was expected to sit in a room and swallow everything that was being fed to me,” she recalls. “Once I figured out what it was like to be home-schooled and basically self-taught, I couldn’t fit back into the traditional environment.”
However, the one pursuit that made sense to Spalding from a very early age was music. At age four, after watching classical cellist Yo Yo Ma perform on an episode of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, the roadmap was suddenly very clear. “That was when I realized that I wanted to do something musical,” she says. “It was definitely the thing that hipped me to the whole idea of music as a creative pursuit.”
Within a year, she had essentially taught herself to play the violin well enough to land a spot in The Chamber Music Society of Oregon, a community orchestra that was open to both children and adult musicians. She stayed with the group for ten years, and by age 15, she had been elevated to a concertmaster position.
But by then, she had also discovered the bass, and all of the non-classical avenues that the instrument could open for her. Suddenly, playing classical music in a community orchestra wasn’t enough for this young teenager anymore. Before long she was playing blues, funk, hip-hop and a variety of other styles on the local club circuit. “The funny thing was, I was the songwriter, but I had never experienced love before. Being the lyricist and the lead singer, I was making up songs about red wagons, toys and other childish interests. No one knew what I was singing about, but they liked the sound of it and they just ate it up.”
To read more of Esperanza's bio click here
Release Date 2006
Release Date 2008
Label Heads Up Records
Chamber Music Society
Release Date 2010
Lable Tel Arc Jazz