Esperanza Spalding isn't about being a lone star. Above all, the jazz singer and bassist prizes playing with other musicians and sharing the experience. That includes her special performance of Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World" at the 2012 Oscars in February, too.
"It certainly was special, but one aspect of that was it was a surprise. I went just to play bass. It was supposed to be a collective effort that Hans Zimmer imagined," says Spalding of the musical director. "We wanted it to be everyone just playing together. The camera didn't show that, but that's what I signed up for. Then I was asked to sing with the children's choir. That was such a small part. I had played bass all night in the orchestra with these wonderful musicians," the Brooklyn-based artist says.
Spalding's team-player attitude spreads to her spring tour for her fourth album, "Radio Music Society," when her band includes almost a dozen players. Still, it was her Oscar solo spot that gave her big buzz.
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"It was really great exposure for me," she admits. " It was great to be a part of it. I got to hang with Billy Crystal. He did an amazing job hosting; he totally nailed that singing part. He's awesome."
Beliebers, you are all FORGIVEN
Another awards show where Spalding "got noticed" was the 2011 Grammy Awards when she beat favored winner Justin Bieber for Best New Artist. Beliebers in turn hijacked her Wikipedia page and wrote snotty comments in ALL CAPS. But Spalding brushes that off as done with.
"Ah, no one got hurt. It was fine. I'm sure when I was younger there was someone who was my world and I would have been upset like that," she says.
Who? She thinks and thinks, but she's got nada.
"I suppose I was just always into music. I would obsessively go from artist to artist. But I never had posters on my wall. I never had a crush like that."