It’s been a wild ride of a year for rising jazz artist Esperanza Spalding, who’s become a Grammy winning critical darling as well as the hated bain of Justin Beiber fans. And now that the spotlight is on Spalding, she’s opening up to Vibe about her relationships with Prince and the Obamas as well as her upcoming album Radio Music Society.
In the interview, Spalding discusses her performance of “If I Was Your Girlfriend” at last years BET Awards (which Prince himself requested) and explains how she came to befriend the “Purple Rain” singer
“At the suggestion of Tavis Smiley, I sent a package of all the things I had musically. All my little demos, works in progress,” explained Spalding. “And then a couple of months later I got a call from his people saying, “Would you like to come to Las Vegas and play at Prince’s after party?” I said, “Yes! Yes! Yes!” We hit it off personally, started having shockingly deep conversations right from the beginning. Prince is such a phenomenon. Almost beyond genius.”
Spalding also discusses her relationship with the Obamas and explains the pride she felt in performing for President Obama at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony.
“I wouldn’t be so bold to say we have a relationship as friends or acquaintances. Someone in that administration – be it the president or his wife – took a like to my music,” said Spalding. “When I’m there onstage performing for the president, I’m representing jazz, and that’s a beautiful thing.”
After having already such stellar music accolades, Spalding explains that she hopes to take her career to the next level with her next project Radio Music Society, a project which she hopes will bridge the gap between jazz and contemporary music.
“These songs are pretty funky, drawing on more from the influence of R&B and popular music; working on bringing those songs to their full potential. I’ll be collaborating with Q-Tip, Lalah Hathaway and Randy Brecker,” explained Spalding of the album set to be released in 2012.
What do you think of Spalding’s high-profile friendships? Will you be buying her new album? – nicholas robinson