Esperanza Spalding Says Grammys Is Not A Competition

Billy Johnson, Jr.
Stop The Presses!

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Last year, Esperanza Spalding became the first jazz artist to receive the best new artist Grammy award, beating out Justin Bieber, Drake, Florence + The Machine, and Mumford & Sons.

But the humble 27-year-old bassist and singer from Portland doesn't like to view the prestigious awards program as a competition. "Well that's a testament to how this gets easily misrepresented as a competition," she told Yahoo! Music in an exclusive interview. "You're not against anybody. There's obviously room in the world for all the different styles of music that are represented here."

Spalding's honor came on the heels of the release of her 2010 album, "Chamber Music Society."

Spalding said the win was a pleasant surprise. "We actually had a party Saturday night before the Grammys to celebrate the nomination," she said.

During the Grammy pre-telecast, she performed with Bobby McFerrin, and announced a category. But her good day became more exciting during the main show.

"I'm sitting there with my brother and sister-in-law, and I'm like, 'Man!' John Legend says my name, and I was totally shocked."

Spalding hopes her win sparks dialogue about more jazz artists receiving mainstream attention. "There's such a thriving movement. I mean, it's live and well. It's not an archaic art form," she said. "So yeah, Why is it that this is the first time--in however many decades--a jazz artist is acknowledged in this way on this stage, in this arena?"

Good question.

Interview courtesy of Dial Global's "Backstage at the Grammys" brought to you by Turbo Tax and Mastercard.