Esperanza Spalding

Grammy Winning Bass Player & Jazz Vocalist Esperanza Spalding

Daughter of a Black American father and a mother of Welsh, Native American, and Hispanic descent, Esperanza Spalding became the first jazz artist to win a Grammy for Best New Artist, beating out Drake, Mumford and Sons, Florence + The Machine, and Justin Bieber in 2011. She played classical violin as a child, and when she was five, earned a seat with the Chamber Music Society of Oregon, which was only the beginning of the accolades should would accumulate in her youth. She transitioned from violin to the double bass, and in 2009, Spalding was invited to play at the White House’s tribute to Stevie Wonder, which led to her opening for Prince on his 2011 tour. She also played at the Nobel Prize ceremony in Oslo, Norway, where Barack Obama was awarded the Peace Prize. When Spalding was 20, she became Berklee College’s youngest instructor, and in 2017, at age 32, she became a professor at Harvard’s Music Department.

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