Esperanza Spalding brings eclectic sound to Omaha


July 24th, 2012

Omaha, NE – One singer and musician is combining the fundamentals of jazz and soul, but taking the road less travelled while doing it.

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By the time Esperanza Spalding was five-years-old, she had already taught herself to play the violin. She soon began playing with the Chamber Music Society of Oregon. At the age of 15, she left the group as a concert master. Her tenure with the violin was followed by learning how to play the oboe, clarinet, piano, and guitar. According to an interview with NPR in March, it was one fateful day in a high school band room when she spotted a brand new bass guitar that changed everything.

Esperanza Spalding will perform Friday, Sept. 28 at Holland Performing Arts Center.

“I walked in the room, picked it up, and just started playing,” Spalding said. “At the same time, my music teacher came in and showed me what a blues form was and just started making things up.”
Spalding soon became fluent with the instrument, and has stuck with it ever since. By the time she was 16, she began writing her own music and experimenting with singing.

Now at the age of 27, Spalding has become a successful touring jazz and soul musician. Her style is reminiscent of past greats like Aretha Franklin and Carole King, while still venturing deeply into the world of modern jazz.

To date, Spalding has released two solo albums. Both have received listener and critical acclaim. Spalding has also seen her popularity rise. In 2009, she was personally chosen by President Barack Obama to perform at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert.

In spite of her success, Spalding told NPR she’s tried to keep both her feet on the ground. She explained the lifestyle of a musician is both a challenging and rewarding one. “It’s really important to remember, ‘It’s all a process,’” she said. “You have to run into the wall and fall, trip, ruin things, and make awful mistakes. That’s the joy of making art. You get to look back and realize you learned. Now I know how to do that.”

Esperanza Spalding will be performing Friday, September 28th at 8 pm at the Holland Performing Arts Center in downtown Omaha.

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