Esperanza Spalding Wins Best New Artist GRAMMY! Heads Up International, a division of Concord Music Group, is proud to announce that bassist, singer and composer Esperanza Spalding has won the GRAMMY® Award for Best New Artist. Winners were announced by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) at the 53rd Annual GRAMMY® Awards on Sunday, February 13, 2011, at Staples Center in Los Angeles. All nominations were for albums released from September 1, 2009 to September 30, 2010.
Esperanza Spalding is the first jazz musician to ever win the Best New Artist GRAMMY® Award. She was nominated along with Justin Bieber, Drake, Florence & the Machine, and Mumford and Sons. Her inclusion in this mainstream category signified her considerable appeal to a broad audience.
“Esperanza is a phenomenal artist, and we’re thrilled about her GRAMMY® win,” says Mark Wexler, Senior Vice President and Label Manager, Jazz and Classics Group. “All of us at the Concord Music Group are delighted that she’s been honored by her peers in the music industry, and we’re proud to be a part of her success.”
Concord Music Group label manager Gene Rumsey added, “Esperanza embodies everything a ‘Best New Artist’ should: inspired vision, unique creativity and undeniable talent. The Concord team is extremely pleased to be associated with such an outstanding person and artist. We look forward to what will surely be an important and lasting career in music.”
Spalding combines the imaginative flights of a serious improviser with the musical accessibility of a pop star and within two years of her solo debut has beguiled success at nearly unimaginable heights. Esperanza, her 2008 release, spent over 70 weeks on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz chart and was the most successful internationally selling debut that year.
Chamber Music Society, Spalding’s most recent release, is a brilliant marriage of string and jazz trio, and a showcase for her eclectic sensibilities along with her vocal and compositional talents. In January 2011, Chamber Music Society hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz Albums chart.
Other career highlights include two televised performances at the White House, a Banana Republic ad campaign, features in Oprah Magazine and The New Yorker, numerous awards and high profile tour dates, capped by an invitation to perform at the 2009 Nobel Prize Ceremony in Oslo, Norway.
For nearly 20 years, Heads Up International has been successfully carving its niche in the world of contemporary instrumental music. Heads Up artists and releases have consistently landed on Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz, Traditional Jazz and World Music charts, and have garnered numerous industry awards, including Billboard’s Contemporary Latin Jazz Album of the Year, the AFIM’s Independent Contemporary Jazz Album of the Year, eight GRAMMY® Awards and numerous GRAMMY® nominations. Heads Up was also the winner of JazzWeek’s Radio Programmers Album of the Year Award for two consecutive years, and Gibson Guitar’s Best Female Jazz Guitarist. In addition to the awards and accolades, Heads Up artists have regularly captured the No. 1 slot in national radio airplay.