The music world has a new star in Esperzana Spalding. She recently lit up the stage with her rendition of “What a Wonderful World” at the 84th Annual Academy Awards. Last year, she beat teen superstar, Justin Bieber, for the “Best New Artist” Award at the 54th Annual Grammys. David Letterman said, “This is the coolest act we’ve ever had on the show,” after her performance for his audience. The funny thing is most people still don’t know who this 27 year-old musical protégé is. This is surely going to change with the release of her new production, Radio Music Society. This new album is targeted to cross-over to the mainstream market, but knowing her true soul, it will not disappoint her jazz peers.
A small musical army collaborated to make this production possible. Five guest vocalists, two guest guitarists, two teachers from Portland, a bunch of her students, and even two jazz drum heroes, Jack De Johnette and Billy Hart, all came together to bring Spalding’s vision to life. Let’s not forget to mention that Q-Tip, member of the legendary hip hop group, A Tribe Called Quest, produced 2 of the album’s tracks.
The first single ,“Black Gold,” is a feel-good song which allows her fans to really enjoy the texture of her silky voice. She even does a cover of Michael Jackson’s classic song, “Can’t Help It”, completely smoothed out. MJ would have approved. To say Radio Music Society is widely anticipated is an understatement. Based on the musical stylings of this new album, I predict her fan base will grow and her star will continue to rise.
Words by JCM