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Esperanza Spalding facts for kids

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Esperanza Spalding
Esperanza Spalding, 2009.jpg
Spalding performing in 2009
Background information
Birth name Esperanza Emily Spalding
Born October 18, 1984 (1984-10-18) (age 36)
Portland, Oregon, U.S.
  • Musician
  • composer
  • educator
  • bandleader
  • Double bass
  • bass guitar
  • guitar
  • vocals
Years active 2000–present
  • Ayva Musica
  • Heads Up
  • Concord
Associated acts

Esperanza Emily Spalding (born October 18, 1984) is an American jazz bassist, singer, songwriter, and composer. Her accolades include four Grammy Awards, a Boston Music Award, and a Soul Train Music Award.

A native of Portland, Oregon, Spalding began playing music professionally in her childhood, performing as a violinist in the Chamber Music Society of Oregon at age five. She was later both self-taught and trained on a number of instruments, including guitar and bass. Her proficiency earned her academic scholarships to Portland State University and the Berklee College of Music, both of which she attended, studying music.

Spalding released her first album, Junjo, in 2006 on the Spanish label Ayva Musica, after which she signed with the independent American label Heads Up, who released her 2007 self-titled album. Her third studio album, Chamber Music Society (2010), was a commercial success, charting at number 34 on the Billboard 200, and resulting in Spalding winning her first Grammy Award for Best New Artist; Spalding was the first jazz artist to win in this category. She saw further acclaim for her fourth release, Radio Music Society (2012), which earned the Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Album, as well as the track "City of Roses" winning for Best Arrangement, Instrument and Vocals.

After spending the following several years performing as a supporting band player, Spalding released her fifth studio album, a funk rock-inspired concept album titled Emily's D+Evolution, co-produced by Tony Visconti, on Concord Records. The following year, she released the album Exposure, which was limited to 7,777 copies. Her subsequent sixth studio record, 12 Little Spells, was released in 2019, and peaked at number one on Billboard's Top Jazz Albums. The album also saw Spalding nominated for two Grammy Awards, winning in the Best Jazz Vocal Album category.

In addition to writing and performing music, Spalding has also worked as an instructor, first at the Berklee College of Music, beginning at age 20. In 2017, Spalding was appointed professor of the Practice of Music at Harvard University. In 2018, Spalding received an honorary doctorate of music from her alma mater, Berklee College of Music, and served as commencement speaker at the ceremony.

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