esperanza spalding grammys Grammys 2011: Esperanza Spalding beats Justin Bieber to best new artistJustin Bieber, all dolled up in his white tuxedo, probably thought that he had best new artist in the bag at the Grammys. But it’s Esperanza Spalding, a lesser-known jazz bassist and singer, who now has bragging rights to one of the Grammys’ biggest kudos.

Spalding beats out Bieber, Drake, Florence & the Machine and Mumford & Sons for the honor that’s previously gone to icons like Mariah Carey, Carly Simon and the Beatles — and some less aspirational acts such as Milli Vanilli and Evanescence.

But who is this woman who has no doubt made several hundred thousand
teenage girl enemies? The 26-year-old Oregonian has been playing almost
her entire life, having taught herself the violin by the time she was
five. She’s recorded three solo albums (“Junjo,” “Esperanza,” and
“Chamber Music Society”), and, at 20 years old, became the youngest
professor at Berklee College of Music — a position she continues to
hold when she’s not touring.

Here’s the video for “Little Fly,” one of the singles off of her Grammy-qualifying “Chamber Music Society”: