In this edition of No Treble’s Wonder Women series, we will examine the extraordinary musical path of bassist, vocalist, composer, and songwriter Esperanza Spalding.
Born October 18th, 1984, in Portland, Oregon, she was raised in a single-parent household. Her mother exposed the family to diverse musical genres that would shape Spalding’s career. Since her mother studied jazz guitar, Spalding sometimes accompanied her to her lessons, listening in from a spot under a piano in the room.
A pivotal moment for young Spalding was seeing cellist Yo-Yo Ma perform on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. She was four years old, still too small to hold a cello, so she took up the violin. She took a few private lessons, and afterward, she continued to practice and study independently, becoming skilled enough to perform with the Chamber Music Society of Oregon by age 5. She stayed with the Chamber Music Society until age 15 and left as concertmaster. During that decade, she also learned how to play guitar (from her mother), piano, and she experimented with clarinet and oboe.
Click here to read the rest of this interview at No Treble.