A jazz artist’s surprise win of Best New Artist at the Grammy Award’s Sunday night not only infuriated Justin Bieber’s rather devoted fans, it got the nation asking the question, “Esperanza who?”
Esperanza Spalding, a 26-year-old jazz virtuoso who released her first album three years ago, has performed at the White House and was called the “new hope for jazz” in a 2010 New Yorker magazine profile.
But her talents mean nothing to distraught “Beliebers” enraged that their idol lost to Spalding in one of the Grammys’ highest-profile categories. They took to the Internet en masse, vandalizing Spalding’s Wikipedia page. Rogue edits changed her middle name to Quesadilla and proclaimed, “JUSTIN BIEBER DESERVED IT GO DIE IN A HOLE.”
None of this, however, answers the question of who Esperanza Spalding is. We took a look at her career in comparison to Bieber’s, and why she might have deserved to win even though she doesn’t have a vocal coterie of adolescent fans.