A blazing bundle of Old World talent, youthful enthusiasm and endless drive, Esperanza Spalding is one of the leading lights of modern jazz and soul. A jazz bassist, bandleader, soul singer and musical ambassador, Spalding was raised in one of Portland, Ore.'s tougher neighborhoods by a devoted single mother who exposed her children to a multitude of arts, music and languages. A multi-instrumentalist who concentrates on the double bass, Spalding led the Portland indie-pop band Noise for Pretend and played on an album by M. Ward before she won a scholarship to Boston's prestigious Berklee College of Music. While still a struggling student, Spalding was embraced by jazz masters such as Joe Lovano, Pat Metheny and Gary Burton. Though she keeps busy touring and recording with other artists, Spalding's own recordings sell in big numbers that elude most modern jazz artists. A rare crossover phenom, Spalding has been embraced by everyone from David Letterman to Barack Obama. In 2011, she stunned the pop world by deservedly winning the Grammy for Best New Artist.