I have stumbled upon a one in a million artist. Seems I may be late with knowing of this woman, but what a better time when I am evolving, maturing, have a better appreciation for art in all forms and discerning critique of real music.
Esperanza Spalding is an American jazz bassist and singer, who draws upon many genres in her own compositions.
By the time Spalding was five, she had taught herself to play the violin and when she was about eight, her mother briefly studied jazz guitar in college; Spalding says: “Going with her to her class, I would sit under the piano. Then I would come home and I would be playing her stuff that her teacher had been playing”. She also played oboe and clarinet before discovering the bass in high school.
When asked in 2008 why she plays the bass instead of some other instrument, Spalding said that it wasn’t a choice, but the bass “had its own arc” and resonated with her.
In February 2011, at the 53rd Grammy Awards, Spalding won the “Best New Artist” award. In November 2011, Spalding won “Jazz Artist of the Year” at the Boston Music Awards.
Spalding says she loves fusion music and was influenced by a “wonderful arc that started 40 years ago where people kept incorporating modern sounds into their music”. She has expressed concerns that jazz has wandered from its roots, suggesting that jazz has lost its street value and its relevance to “the Black experience to the Black Diaspora and beyond” now that has been co-opted by the “seasoned ‘art’ community”. She notes that, in its early days, jazz was “popular dance music” and “the music of young people who considered themselves awfully hip”, and believes “hip-hop, or neo-soul is our ‘jazz’ now as far as the role these genres play in the music genre lineage”. Spalding, who has expressed a desire to be judged for her musicianship rather than her sex appeal, believes that female musicians must take responsibility to avoid oversexualizing themselves, and that, in order to write original music, one must read and stay informed about the world.