Esperanza Spalding

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About Esperanza Spalding

A wellspring of ever-flowing rhythm, Esperanza Spalding is a Grammy-winning American jazz bassist, singer, songwriter, and composer from Portland, Oregon. She was born in 1984 and raised by a mother who juggled work and family with her own music studies, often with her daughter in tow. The younger Spalding’s talent manifested itself early: She started playing violin professionally in the Chamber Music Society of Oregon at five, later picking up guitar, oboe, and clarinet. At age 15, she fell in love with the bass and began performing regularly at a local blues club, an experience that sharpened her skills before heading to Berklee College of Music. With her 2006 debut album, Junjo, and 2008’s self-titled follow-up, Spalding emerged as a new force in modern jazz, melding blues, hip-hop, and Brazilian music with a gauzy, upbeat voice. She became a favorite of former U.S. President Barack Obama, who selected her to perform at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremonies a year later. Her third LP, Chamber Music Society, was a commercial success and earned her a Grammy for Best New Artist in 2011, setting her up for a bold funk-rock turn on Emily’s D+Evolution (2016) and her appointment as a Professor of the Practice of Music at Harvard University.

Portland, OR, United States of America
October 18, 1984

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