ESPERANZA SPALDING IS THE BEST YOUNG SINGER !

Esperanza Spalding is an American jazz singer and multiinstrumentalist who received a Grammy in 2011 as Best Young Singer of the Year. On 10 December 2010 she performed in Oslo at the awarding of the Nobel Prize to Barack Obama, having been personally chosen by the US President.

Esperanza Spalding

Esperanza means ‘hope’ in Spanish, and perhaps this is the most suitable name they could think of when Esperanza Spalding, a double bass player, vocalist and composer, was born. Blessed by a performing talent and fantastic vocals, the 23-year-old young talent will undoubtedly contribute to the future of jazz and instrumental music. This is what Seattle Times wrote about Esperanza: ‘She is a fascinating performer. She combines playing the double bass with singing and turns music into a unique interpreting dance… Her analysis of what is going on in contemporary jazz is perspicacious.’

Esperanza Spalding

Fascinating. Interpreting. Perspicacious. These words stand out in Esperanza’s destiny. She was born in 1984 in Portland, Oregon. Raised by a single mother experiencing financial difficulties, Esperanza learned from her early childhood to be a firm and virtuous person. It was impossible otherwise when she had a role model such as her mother. According to Esperanza, ‘she was very determined and independent’. ‘She has done a million things. She worked as a baker, a carpenter, a caretaker, in cafes, she used to work for a union with Cesar Chaves.

Esperanza Spalding

She was a wonderful person. She knew enough to make sense of the many negative things I saw as a child, even before I fully understood what she meant.’ But even having such an indisputable role model, school was not easy for Esperanza, and that had nothing do with lack of understanding. Her extremely intuitive style of comprehension often clashed with traditional schooling. In addition to that, she was often sick as a child and as a result, she did most of the elementary school program at home. In the end, she was never able to adapt to the mechanical memorization that traditional school offered. ‘It was very difficult to fit in a situation where I was expected to sit in class and swallow everything I was fed,’ Esperanza recalls. ‘As soon as I figured out home school and individualized studies for myself, I could no longer go back to the traditional environment.’

Esperanza Spalding

However there was one thing which made sense to Esperanza from her early childhood; and that was music. At age four, when she saw the performance of cello player Yo Yo Ma in the TV show Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, her life path suddenly became rather clear. ‘That was when I understood I wanted to be a musician,’ says Esperanza. ‘It was definitely that what made me perceive music as a creative chase.

Esperanza Spalding

’ Within a year, she almost independently learned to play the violin so well that he managed to leave a trace at the Oregon Society of Chamber Music, a public orchestra, whose doors were open both for the young and senior musicians. After playing in the orchestra for ten years, she became its concertmaster at age 15. But by that time, he had discovered the double bass and that path unrelated to classical music which that instrument could lead her on. Suddenly playing classical music in a public orchestra became insufficient for young Esperanza. She began playing blues, funk, hip-hop and other styles of music at local clubs. ‘It was funny how I wrote songs, because I had never fallen in love before that. Being a poet and a singer, I wrote songs about red vans, toys and other childhood interests. No one understood what I was singing about, but they liked the way it sounded, so they just bought it.’

Esperansa Spalding

At 16, Esperanza left high school for good. Having a high school diploma and a generous scholarship, she signed up for the musical program at the Portland State University.

Esperansa Spalding

‘I was undoubtedly the youngest bass player in the program’, recalls Esperanza. ‘I was 16 and I had been playing the bass for about a year and a half. Most jazz players in the program had at least had eight years of school, while I was trying to play in their orchestras and perform Bach’s suites for the cello. This was really awkward, and no surprise, but my teachers kept saying: ‘It’s okay, she really has talent.’’ The Berklee College of Music became the place where all pieces finally came together and doors began opening. After moving to the East Coast and three years of accelerating training, she did not only receive a bachelor’s degree in music, but was hired as a teacher in 2005 at the age of 20, which made her the youngest teacher in the history of the college.

Esperansa Spalding

Still in 2005, he was awarded the prestigious Boston Jazz Society scholarship for outstanding musicality. In addition to learning and teaching music, the years spent at Berklee enabled her to build connection in the world of music. After settling on the East Coast, Esperanza has managed to work with some famous artists, including pianist Michel Camilo, vibraphonist Dave Samuels, bass player Stanley Clarke, guitarist Pat Metheny, singer Patti Austin

Esperansa Spalding