Who says that there are no talented female bassists who have what it takes to compete and even play better than their male colleagues? The beautiful Esperanza Spalding is a fantastic bassist who has carved out a niche for herself as the first female jazz artist to win the Best New Artist Award at the 53rd Grammy Awards.
Perhaps influenced by her mother’s love of jazz guitar, Esperanza’s interest in musical instruments began at the age of 5 when she followed her mother to college to learn jazz bass.
With more than fifteen years of experience in jazz bass performance and teaching, the American superstar went home with four Grammy awards and is currently a professor of music practice at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Have you ever met Spalding’s band? Next time you should beware of the bass queen. And if you think she’s overrated, we’ve got plenty to tell you about her. Let’s meet the much-loved jazz bassist.
Biography of Esperanza Spalding
The professional bassist was born on October 18, 1984, as Esperanza Emily Spalding, the daughter of an African-American father and mother of Indian, Hispanic, and Welsh descent.
The bassist was born in Portland, Oregon, in the United States and grew up with her brother in a multilingual household in the King, Alberta. Growing up in a single-parent household was really not easy for Spalding and her brother, but the siblings were able to maintain the moral standards they had grown up with, even given their ugly economic circumstances.
The veteran bassist spent much of her primary school years at home, as she was repeatedly afflicted by illness. When she finished homeschooling, she earned her GED at age 16 and later enrolled in Portland State University with a scholarship to study music, where she became the youngest student at the institution.
After graduating from the university, she went to the Berklee College of Music in Boston to hone her musical skills.
Esperanza Spalding’s Husband
Esperanza could possibly be single because there is no information about her love life and past relationships. Since there is no information about this area of her life, we assume that she is single and is not the wife or mother of a man or children.
Quick Facts about the Musician
1. She is also a multi-lingual vocalist
Blessed with a unique performance style and voice, Spalding sings in three languages – Portuguese, Spanish, and English.
2. Her first musical instrument was a violin
Spalding began playing the violin at the age of five. Her love for this instrument earned her many performances, which led her to fall in love with the jazz bass, which is now her main instrument.
Before she turned completely to the bass, she had tried instruments like oboe, cello, and clarinet. But finally, she decided to go for the bass.
3. She did ‘a million things’ before stardom
Esperanza Spalding did several odd jobs before she made it to the top. She worked in the bakery, nursing homes, catering, and even as a carpenter and work organizer for Cesar Chávez. Supposedly influenced by her background and the negative things she had seen as a child, Esperanza was able to leave her mark in her former jobs.
4. Journey to stardom
As mentioned above, the East Coast bassist played clarinet and oboe before falling in love with the bass in high school. She was also a member of the Chamber Music Society of Oregon and rose to the concertmaster at the age of 15.
On April 18, 2006, the jazz bassist released her critically acclaimed debut album Junjo and later, in 2008, her second studio album Esperanza. The albums and other performances earned her the Grammy Award 2011 for Best New Artist and beat Justin Bieber in the category.
In 2012 Esperanza Spalding founded the Radio Music Society, which is more pop and soul-oriented, and also performed at the Oscars. In 2005, she won the Boston Jazz Society’s prestigious scholarship for outstanding musical achievement and in the same year was named a lecturer at the prestigious Berklee College of Music, making her the youngest faculty member in the college’s history.
Emily also performed at Oslo City Hall in honor of former American President Barack Obama at the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize ceremonies and at the Nobel Peace Prize concert on 11 December 2009.
Throughout her career, Esperanza Spalding has been known for regularly landing hits on stage with her bandmates Otis Brown (drummer) and Donald Harrison Jr. (saxophonist), Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez (a drumming sensation), and the pianist Leo Genovese.
6. She has worked with notable artists over the years
Given the rare talent she possesses, this is not surprising at all. Spalding may not be what she has always longed for, but she has come a long way in her career since she started working in the music industry.
Among the prominent and celebrated artists, she has worked with are Stanley Clarke (a veteran bassist), Dave Samuels (an American vibraphonist and marimba player), Michael Camilo (a Santo Domingo-born, Grammy-award winning pianist and bandleader), Patti Austin (a veteran American pop, R&B and jazz singer) and jazz saxophonists Joe Lovano and Donald Harrison.
7. Her fashion sense
Esperanza Spalding not only has a unique musical style, but also a remarkable sense of fashion that makes her wear things like a headscarf, headband, sassy necklace, and heels most of the time.
While many people think she is somewhat boyish because of her love of men’s outfits, the respected bass player, who is beautiful by nature, looks more like an angel every time she enters the stage.