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But she talks as if it's a totally different person: "I'm the instrument Emily's playing," she says.
Spalding’s fifth album, Emily’s D Evolution, is available now.Her hair teased out to her shoulders, she's wearing a wild orange coat and gold glasses.Standing out is nothing new for the 31-year-old, but she seems extra radiant after taking two years off from a rapid, Grammy-stacking rise.' That's so rare," she says."Ugh -- I'm getting tears in my eyes. But a lot of stuff that means the world to me musically, people in suits don't give a shit about." : "Damn straight, Mr. Be yourself.") She sees the closest analog to her new music, however, in the old sounds of psych-blues band Cream -- "three jazz nerds who wanted to be loud and feel free," she says. She didn't come here to make albums, do shows, to 'be somebody' -- that's my prerogative as Esperanza.Her current group is also a power trio (she used to front a 12-piece), but they're building an elaborate, wacked-out stage show, possibly involving puppets, in order to illustrate the world of Emily. Announces Summer Season With Chaka Khan, Lucinda Williams, Esperanza Spalding"She's like a fairy," says Spalding. I'm working for Emily, making the right circumstances for her to feel free to come out and play." On , Esperanza-as-Emily is naïve -- "She's new here," says Spalding -- but blunt, calling things as she sees them in her lyrics, which confront a complex snarl of issues surrounding faith, gender, race and class."I just want to say, if you're going crazy, take a break," says Esperanza Spalding.
The Oregon-based jazz singer-bassist sits at Beverly Hills' Avalon Hotel, lit from behind by a window that opens onto a small courtyard.
At 4, Spalding reproduced Beethoven by ear on her mother's piano.
After seeing Yo-Yo Ma on , she taught herself violin and, by 5, was playing it in the Chamber Music Society of Oregon.
"There's a guy I used to pay to work with me who'd call me 'kiddo.' I said, ' There's nothing that justifies you expressing that to me, your boss.' " An older player was flabbergasted that Spalding could keep up during a session.
"He doesn't have a place to put me in his world, so he offers the nicest thing he knows: ' Wow, you're more than just a pretty face -- you actually worked!
Incredulous tweens made her a trending topic on Twitter and vandalized her Wikipedia page, which at one point read that she should "die in a hole." The win seems all the more incredible considering the other nominees: Drake, Florence & The Machine and Mumford & Sons.