Spalding was born and raised on what she calls “the other side of the tracks” in a multi-lingual household and neighborhood in Portland, Oregon. Growing up in a single-parent home amid economically adverse circumstances, she learned early lessons in the meaning of perseverance and moral character from the role model whom she holds in the highest regard to this day – her mother.
On February 13, 2011, Spalding won the GRAMMY® Award for Best New Artist. She is the first jazz musician to ever win this award. “People have asked me what significance being a jazz artist particularly brings to the award,” she says. “We all know that jazz artists aren’t typically nominated in this category, so that alone is special about the award this year. But, mainly I hope this will be significant in that the media spotlight will illuminate more than just an edge of the HUGE breadth of all that is happening in jazz music as a whole right now.”
It has not taken Esperanza Spalding long to emerge as one of the brightest lights in the musical world. Listeners familiar with her stunning 2008 Heads Up International debut, Esperanza, and her best-selling 2010 release Chamber Music Society, were well aware that the young bassist, vocalist and composer from Portland, Oregon was the real deal, with a unique and style-spanning presence, deeply rooted in jazz yet destined to make her mark far beyond the jazz realm. That judgment was confirmed on February 13, 2011, when Spalding became the first jazz musician to receive the GRAMMY® Award for Best New Artist. On March 20th, 2012, Heads Up International, a division of Concord Music Group, gives us Spalding’s latest release, Radio Music Society, her most diverse, ambitious and masterful recital yet. 11 songs are accompanied by conceptual short films, which further express Esperanza’s inspiration and story behind each track. Shot in various locations including New York City; Barcelona, Spain; and Portland, Oregon; all videos will be available to purchasers of Radio Music Society as a digital download or a DVD on the deluxe version.
Radio Music Society is a companion, rather than a sequel, to Spalding’s previous disc, which reached No. 1 on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Chart. “Originally I thought it would be fun to release a double album,” she explains, “One disc with an intimate, subtle exploration of chamber works and a second one in which jazz musicians explore song forms and melodies that are formatted more along the lines of what we would categorize as “pop songs.” Those are the two things that really interest me, and it intrigues me to think about different presentation approaches while writing each kind of song. On the pop song side, I think about listeners who aren’t into jazz, but I also think about the people within my musical community who can interpret each idea best.”
“Radio Song,” the new disc’s opening track, both sets the tone and confirms the aptness of Spalding’s “radio music” metaphor. “Everyone has the experience of turning on a car radio,” she explains,” mindlessly flipping through the dial and suddenly a fragment grabs you and you’re totally digging it. I wanted to capture that moment when the music just sinks in. It’s about the power of song, and how at the least it can save the day.” (more @ http://jassed.com/component/content/article/1/903-esperanza-spaldings-radio-music-society-)
- Esperanza Spalding To Host “Groundbreaking Music” Friday Night For Magic Johnson’s “Aspire” TV Network (theurbanflux.com)
- Esperanza Spalding on Why Jazz Isn’t Mainstream and the Benefits of Being Hot (atlantablackstar.com)