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Esperanza Spalding: Grammy Best New Artist!

Esperanza Spalding: Grammy Best New Artist!

Esperanza Spalding accepts the Best New Artist trophy at the 2011 Grammy Awards held at the Staples Center on Sunday (February 13) in Los Angeles.

The 26-year-old jazz singer beat Justin Bieber, Drake, Florence + The Machine, and Mumford & Sons for the accolade!

“I know I don’t have a lot of time, so first, thank you to the Academy for even nominating me in this category,” Esperanza said during her acceptance speech.

“I take this honor to heart so sincerely, and I’ll do my damndest to make a whole lot of great music for all of you,” she added. “It’s such a blessing and an honor. God bless. Thank you.”

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Credit: Kevin Winter, John Shearer; Photos: Getty, Wire Image
Posted to: 2011 Grammy Awards, Esperanza Spalding

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  • xoKel_Belxo

    i dont mean to be rude but who the hell is she?!?!?

  • ck_always

    @xoKel_Belxo: Well, as far as I can tell from reading. Her name is Esperanza Spalding. She’s 26 years old and is a jazz artist. Further information can be found using search engines such as Google and Wikipedia. Hello, I’m a smartass.

  • what?

    sorry but.. who are you? lol

  • Callie

    Cute shoes

  • english rose

    i’d never heard of her before tonight, but she has the voice of an angel and is super adorable! i will be buying her record, for sure!!!! Black girls rock!!!!! :)

  • Mkhay

    thankgod for google

  • pooh


  • Lalalove

    I love love love Esperanza!! She most def deserves it!

  • ib8

    I love her. I’m so glad she got it. She really deserved it. As long as Justin Bieber didn’t win, I’m happy.

  • Dotti


    You may want to also link to her full-length performance on PBS: This clip is embeddable: (hit the embed button after the ad plays)

  • 90210

    Who is she?
    Beiber should’ve won!

  • lop

    lots of bieber trollies trolling along.

  • lop

    @ib8: agree! i loved her from her single ‘espera’ which she performed at the nobel prize in ’09

  • tina

    Um, who?

  • Sean


  • Alex

    wow seriously?
    Drake should of taken this no doubt

  • http://deleted lovelydee

    I’m gonna listen to her
    music now, because I’m
    not very fond of her.

  • Caroline

    Who’s that chick?

  • DoN.Andris

    Thank God Justin Bieber did not win

  • joann


    She is a 26 year old music professor. She was hired as a professor at the age of 20. She is extremely talented jazz musician.

  • Real Music

    She is a great artist a classically trained Celloist from Julliard’s. The Grammy went for substance rather than fluff in this category.

  • Parisa

    I didnt know who she was either, I am sure she is talented. But no one knows who she is so how could she be the ARTIST OF THE YR??? I think Drake should have taken that, even tho I am not a huge Drake fan I still think he deserved it because he was all over the radio, news and magazines in 2010. So was Justin B. I am not a huge fan of him either but I still think he did good in 2010 – I am not a 13 yr old girl but I can honestly say the kid can sing, play insturments and at least has passion for what he does.

    Anyways I was very shocked at the winner, not because she doesnt have talent but because no one really knew who she was, and as far as I am concerned ARTIST OF THE YR should go to someone who had the MOST hits/made the most $$/ and the person who everyonnnee was sick of hearing about. example (drake and Justin B)

  • amy

    Florence honestly and truly deserved this award. Esparanza is a great artist, mind you. But her album debut was in 2006, and was Lady Gaga not allowed Best New Artist last year for that very reason?Out of the other nominees, Florence and Mumford and Sons were the best artists on the list. But since stunning alt-rock-folk ensembles don’t come around too often, Florence should have been noticed for her electrifying and unique debut album.

  • Mlle


    Technically, the Grammy category was Best New Artist. Grammy awards are not necessarily based on sales or radio play. I think Billboard Awards use those metrics. The Grammy’s try to focus more on artistic excellence rather than commercial success (though often the 2 merge) Consider Herbie Hancock’s 2008 win for Album of the Year for ‘River; The Joni Letters’. That album beat out Amy Winehouse and a few other favorites for ‘the big prize’

  • Mlle


    Wow, I did not know Esperanza was approached to teach @ 20. I’ve read JB has been playing drums and guitar since his pre-school days, but … would he be invited to teach at a prestigious university after the next 4 years (he’s 16 now, right?). I’m so pleased to see her talent recognized.

  • Pam Hatten

    @xoKel_Belxo: Shows you have a very narrow exposure to all types of music. Popularity does not mean talented. Best New Artist, is the most TALENTED, not the must popular.

  • Pam Hatten

    @Parisa: Shows you have a very narrow exposure to all types of music. Popularity does not mean talented. Best New Artist, is the most TALENTED, not the must popular.

  • Mark Seibold

    To the Pop Culture That Doesn’t Quite Get it Yet – Do Your Musical Research and Learn

    As many people know, the Grammy’s are not watched much by serious musicians [aka, real musicians or real fans of real talented musicians. Nor do we see real talent there often with the exception of some of the elder greats.] Unfortunately the general public only knows music that is “popular”, on everyone else’s ipod and Walkman or evening TV Prime time garbage programming. Do you like to like the same stuff that everybody else likes? Think about it. How many here making comments can even play an instrument like her? It is very rare to see a young woman not only sing jazz so well. It is unknown in the musical world to see the likes of a Joni Mitchell, Dianna Krall or Nora Jones perform so well on an instrument while singing simultaneously. Perhaps Mr. Bieber will try a few diminished and augmented jazz chords on his guitar fret board before he tries the Grammy’s again next year.

    When a real star comes along with true talent Like Esperanza Spalding, no less from a neighborhood where I grew up as a child [most of the pop kids culture have heard of Portland Oregon by now] yet the music genre of Jazz is nearly never known by the general pop culture. How many of the pop culture kids here have ever listened to Billy Holiday, Sarah Vaughn, Ella Fitzgerald, Herbie Hancock, John Coltrane, Dave Brubeck Quartet or Miles Davis? Esperanza Spalding is now added to that genre.

    I am proud the she won and was well deserving of this award. Anyone that has seen her play can see it in a few seconds, a couple bars on her base, that vocal range like jazz singers we haven’t seen in many years. It’s about time that real quality music is realized by the otherwise empty pop world of auto-tuners and samplers ala Americana. Listen well, learn, practice a musical instrument and enjoy discovering great music!

    Mark Seibold, Retired IT Tech, Artist-Astronomy Educator, Portland Oregon

  • Liz

    I didn’t know who she was until i looked her up on YouTube last night and she is very talented BUT Artist of the Year should have been someone people have heard of….Florence + the Machine and Mumford & Sons definately deserved it more because while they all have talent, these two groups are actually becoming well-known.

  • Jamir

    She truly deserved da award.gud lyrics,da music s amazing.n ya wat a voice.justin a no match 4 her.her album s wndrful…gud luck my lady

  • liyah

    i never knew about this woman until now, i haven’t seen her music in top charts or anything so i don’t think she should have won the award. She probably worked hard on her music but others too like drake and Justin-B and their music has hit the billboards charts. I think they didn’t want the awards to be predictable that’s why she won, i don’t mean to be a bitch but it’s obvious.


    She is a great artist a classically trained Celloist from Julliard’s.

  • Renee



    I disagree that the award should go to who was played or made the most money. What does that have to do with talent? Popularity does not mean talent, as can be seen by the most popular musical acts today. I’m so proud of the Grammys for choosing talent over entertainment.