Now, this is something different that you may not expect from me, but something that you may not know is that I come from a very diverse musical “broughtupsy” (look it up, it’s a word. Webster’s Dictionary doesn’t know a damn thing). My mom played Madonna, U2, Ella Fitzgerald, A LOT OF JAZZ, The Rat Pack, Nina Simone, Aretha Franklin, Sade, sprinkles of Mary J. Blige, and my personal favourite: Classical music ❤
Now, what does this all have to do with my subject profile, Esperanza Spalding? A lot, actually. She is a cross between Jazz & classical, but primarily Jazz, which is one of the genres I grew up listening to, so it all ties in. But in order to start this off on the right foot, we have to take it back to the origin of how I found out about her in the first place.
Remember back in 2011 on the night of the Grammys, and everything was all fine and dandy, and everyone’s predictions for the Best New Artist was either a lock for Justin Bieber or Drake? Shoot, some people thought it would be a tie just because at the time, they both had a crazy amount of buzz, and fan bases through the roof of concerts and on the internet. WELP, see, the thing is, to quote former coach of the New York Jets/Kansas City Chiefs, Herm Edwards “YOU PLAY! TO WIN! THE GAME,” and that quote is usable for absolutely ALL FORMS of competitive events, so in this case, The Grammys.
I was on Twitter (what else is new), and just when they were announcing the nominees, they said Esperanza Spalding, and I was like “who in the hell is that?” just like everyone else as well, so I just brushed it off, and I was like “okay, it’s going to either Bieber or Aubrey (Drake).” Slow down now. As soon as they announced that Esperanza had one, I think a collective SHOCKWAVE went through the systems of every single person watching that awards show – unless you were Talib Kweli, who had said that she was going to win, so unless you were him, but you’re not, YOU WERE STUNNED! STUNNED, I SAY!
Then, the hatred came. People (Beliebers are not people, by the way) were all up in arms, sending out threats on twitter like ignorant hoodrats that just found out that they’ve been impregnated by yet another man who will not claim her children (I’m just saying). It was ugly, it was sad, and yes, not a lot of people in their SLIGHTEST MINDS, knew who she was, but at the same time, just show love where it’s due and move on. After the awards, my mother (out of spite) went out and bought Esperanza’s albums (2 of the 3 that she already has out: Chamber Music Society & Epseranza. Junjo is her 1st album). She had them first, and I hadn’t yet listened to her, but my mother encouraged me to, and I’m glad that I listened to her because what I heard from her was a voice that was reminiscent of the golden years of Jazz, which was before my time.
She has a strong voice, which is rich and soulful. She has that voice that can captivate you and leave you hypnotized in lust, but then again you can just fall into her soft voice like you just put straight-out-of-the-dryer flannel bed sheets and did the Nestea swan dive onto them. It’s exactly like that. It’s like a soft blanket wrapped around your ears and comfortably putting you to into a blissful dream in which you never want to wake up from. I’m not making this up, it’s exactly what her music feels & sounds like. She’s been walking underground so much that there was not room for her to be possibly be flying under the radar. I’m glad that she came into flourishing last year. After listening to her albums, it’s clear to see why she won.
From the first song I heard from her (Little Fly), she has remained consistent with her style, her vocals have always been on point, and her jazz-pop vibe is something that I cannot see myself getting bored with because she’s so versatile, and knows how to switch it up so there she keeps you on edge, and interested in more of her music. It’s the elevator music you’d love to hear while going up 50 floors, or the music you’d want to hear while being on hold with that annoying phone company (no names) that will just make you say “HOLD ON, PUT ME BACK ON HOLD!” She has that type of impact.
She can sing in English & Spanish, she plays the bass (not the guitar) & violin, and her afro is just AMAZING to look at. She’s a beautiful and talented black woman (even if she is half), and I honestly hope that I hear more from her in the future. She’s supposedly releasing an album early this year, so I am definitely excited for that. I’d love for people to get into her music and really broaden their musical horizons to touch on other genres beyond hip hop, R&B, pop, and even rock for that matter. Jazz isn’t dead, it’s alive, but we just have to seek out to find where the talent is at. Esperanza is just one example of that thesis. So, download the albums (buy if need be, because they’re worth it), and enjoy the greatness that is Esperanza. Until then,
That’s My Word & It STiXX