The 26 year-old jazz singer and bassist from Portland, Oregon shocked the nation when she beat out Justin Bieber and Drake for Best New Artist at the Grammy Awards this past weekend. Many weren’t expecting her to rise above the other popular nominees in her category, and neither did she.
“I really didn’t think it was going to be me,” Spalding told MTV News on Grammy night. “I was one of those [surprised] people. … It was so unexpected, that’s the truth. I’m grateful to all my people in my big musical family that have given me so much support and help over the years,” Spalding gushed. “I don’t really think this is for me; it’s for all of us. And I wish they could all be here to put one finger on this with me.”
Spalding was raised in Oregon by her mother and is of African-American, Welsh, and Spanish descent. At the young age of five, Spalding had taught herself to play the violin and was touring with the Chamber Music Society of Oregon. As she grew up she intended on continuing her artistic practice on the cello, but fell in love with the bass during her one year run at the prestigious performing arts school, The Northwest Academy, from which she won a scholarship to attend. She dropped out of high school because she thought it was boring and later completed her GED at the age of 16 and enrolled in the music program at Portland State University. After encouragement from teachers, she applied to and attended the prestigious Berklee College of Music. She currently lives in Austin, Texas and has recorded three studio albums.
“I am a bassist, composer and singer,” Spalding explained to MTV News. “I guess that’s the easiest way to describe the music I do. You really just have to hear it. It’s rooted in jazz, but there’s a lot of stuff up in there. You just have to have a taste.”
Spalding has performed at the White House and joined Prince on his “Welcome 2 America” tour.