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Esperanza Spalding Wins “Best New Artist” With Stunning Grammy Upset; Orchard Artists Take Home 3 Other Trophies

February 14, 2011 Artist News 3 Comments

Esperanza SpaldingWith all due respect to Arcade Fire, the 53rd Grammy Awards’ most surprising moment came when prodigiously talented but relatively unknown jazz singer and bassist Esperanza Spalding beat out  Drake, Florence & The Machine, Mumford & Sons, and Justin freaking Bieber in the “Best New Artist” category. (Bieber nation was NOT amused).  Jazz lovers might be slightly perplexed at the “new” distinction since she has issued two previous albums, has collaborated with Stevie Wonder, Prince, and Herbie Hancock, and performed at the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize ceremony, at President Obama’s invitation, but we’re thrilled that Spalding is now getting the recognition she so richly deserves. (We’re even willing to bet that some of those Bieber fans come around eventually.) We’ve had her 2006 debut Junjo on repeat.

We’d also like to congratulate the following Orchard artists for winning in their respective categories:

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Grammy Countdown: Esperanza Spalding for “Best New Artist”

February 8, 2011 Artist News No Comments

Congratulations to jazz bassist, vocalist, and Prince buddy Esperanza Spalding, who is nominated for a “Best New Artist” Grammy. On Feb 13, Spalding will go against Justin Bieber, Drake, Florence & The Machine, and Mumford & Sons for the trophy. Beforehand, she’ll co-host a pre-Grammy extravaganza featuring performances from Buddy Guy, Cyndi Lauper, and Mavis Staples.

We first heard of the Portland, OR native in 2006, when the excellent Spanish label Ayva Records issued Junjo, her debut album. On Junjo, Spalding led a Cuban trio through a tasteful Latin-tinged set that earned accolades from the New York Times. At the time, she was a 21-year-old professor at Berklee College of Music, where she had graduated the prior year.

Since then, she has issued two Universal-distributed albums that charted on Billboard‘s Top 10 “Jazz Albums;” received glowing profiles in PeopleUSA Today, and The New Yorker; and performed at the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize ceremony, at President Obama’s invitation. She has also worked with a dizzying list of collaborators, from Stevie Wonder to Prince to Q-Tip to Herbie Hancock.

Oh, and did we mention she has awesome hair?

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