Hell hath no fury like a Bieber fan scorned. Nor does hell know how to pout and throw an online hissy fit so well.
In case you missed the results of this year’s Grammy awards, jazz artist Esperanza Spalding won the award for Best New Artist, beating out Justin Bieber, Drake, Florence & The Machine and Mumford & Sons.
Many students at NW may have cocked their heads to the side and asked “Esperanza who?” I had to stop and wonder: when did she become famous?
I first heard of Spalding a couple of summers ago when I went to the Twin Cities Jazz Festival and saw her perform live. I have to admit, her music is undoubtedly unique. It showcases her feminine voice that sounds like Billie Holiday whispering softly in French, and is backed up by a bass that does not encourage her audience to hum along, or even follow the song too closely.
Spalding gave her concert on a stage set up in a park somewhere in downtown St. Paul, collected no admission fee and performed her music to a crowd mainly composed of long- haired 50-year-old men and women without shoes.
The promotional brochures from the fest hailed her, claiming she was about to make it big. I had to agree she was good, but only about as good as it gets at an outdoor jazz concert.
Obviously, Spalding’s goals of audience recognition and fame have been somehow achieved since I saw her. She was personally selected by President Obama to perform at the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony and Concert, and in 2010, invited to sing with Patti LaBelle, Alicia Keys and Janelle Monae at the BET Awards in a tribute to Prince.
Still, I was shocked to hear that she had beaten out not only NW campus favorite Mumford & Son, but also the beloved little Bieber babe.
Bieber’s fans were shocked as well. That shock quickly turned into anger, which quickly led to multiple defacements of Spalding’s Wikipedia page and hundreds of angst-filled Facebook statuses.
Perhaps the most surprising part of this whole Grammy drama is the fact that Spalding and Bieber were being nominated for the same award. We might as well have a contest choosing a winner between Skittles and watches.
The Grammys should give their viewers a clearer explanation of the qualifications for Best New Artist. Are they basing their choice on who gets the biggest bag of cash at the end of the day or the most prestigious shows? On who has the most willing-to-kill-their-bff-Jill-to-get-a-date-with-him fans or supporters in the White House? On who is newly respected in the world of jazz or newly born into the world?
Perhaps the Grammys have reached the point where Esperanza Spalding is a better artist than Justin Bieber in the same way that “The King’s Speech” is a better movie than “Toy Story 3.” If this is true, it would be nice to know.