Esperanza Spalding may not be as exposed as Justin Bieber, the guy she beat out to win the best new artist award at the Grammys but she may well now be. On Twitter, Bieber fans erupted, demanding to know how a relatively under-the-radar artist could beat the teen pop sensation of the moment, along with fellow high-profile nominees Drake and Florence & the Machine.
Bieber devotees vandalized Spalding’s Wikipedia page, at one point writing, “WHO THE HECK ARE YOU ANYWAY?” I think that is harsh though. She is a musical prodigy with credentials, critical acclaim and has famous fans of her own.
She has rocked with icons. Spalding performed a jazz version of “If I Was Your Girlfriend” for Prince at the BET Awards in June.
President Obama sings her praises. She’s headlined multiple performances for him, one following his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech in 2009, marking the first time jazz was played at the ceremony instead of classical music.
Her 2008 album “Esperanza”, spent more than 70 weeks on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz chart and was the most successful internationally selling debut that year. She recorded her first album, “Junjo,” in 2006.
These are just some of her accomplishments and she is actually the first jazz musician to win the best new artist Grammy. The album that won her the award is “Chamber Music Society,” which reached No. 1 on Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz Albums chart.