I was the first to tell the “Best New Artist” winner that Justin Bieber’s fans were attacking her Wikipedia page… how did she react?
When Esperanza Spalding won Best New Artist there was a collective gasp and “WHAT!?” in the Grammys press room (followed by some mean-spirited laughter directed at favored-to-win Justin Bieber). After that, frenzied action ensued. The woman in charge of the press room ran around saying Esperanza would be coming back soon to speak to us. She printed “cheat sheets” entitled “Who is Esperanza Spalding” with facts about the beautiful artist. The jazz bassist was the only musician of the night for whom a “cheat sheet” was given.
When Esperanza, 26, came backstage I was incredibly impressed with her poise, grace, and obvious dedication to her art. “It’s just a blessing to be acknowledged on this stage by doing something that’s usually seen as sort of as an underdog craft,” exclaimed a happy Esperanza. “I identify with the art form deeply, more so than some of the other pop artists, although I love their music.”
I gave my congratulations to the musician whose mother named her “Esperanza”, the Spanish word for “hope”, because she was going through a tough time in her life and wanted hope in her daughter’s life. I had to ask, “Have you seen that Justin Bieber fans are attacking your Wikipedia page?”
Esperanza’s eyes widened and she looked absolutely shocked before a few reporters laughed and she recovered. “They’re asking ‘WHY??!’ she guessed, understanding what Bieber’s fans must be saying.
“How does it feel to beat someone like Justin Bieber?” I asked.
“It doesn’t work like that. I know we like people to lose and win and all that fun stuff. When this is all over we are all colleagues again just like we were before,” Esperanza graciously explained. “He sold more records than me did he beat me? We are doing our things in our respective fields and he’s unquestionably a talented young man.”
And as for all of his fans? “He’s going to do a lot of more things in the future, his fans are going to be getting lots more CDs to sink their teeth into. I didn’t beat him. I’m taking that thing home and that’s what it is.” Then she smiled mischievously and joked “And he has great hair and I have great hair!”
Esperanza was lovely, and Justin, 16, was equally as professional when he came into the press room. “I’m really happy for Esperanza and I had a great night and I got to perform with my mentor which is amazing and that’s all I got to say.” A reporter then asked Justin if she needs to “watch her back” because of his intense fans. Justin laughed and said “Like I said I’m really happy for her and hopefully she has a good year. My fans have brought me to this position and I don’t know what I would really do without them.”
Usher added that he “would have preferred” if Justin won new artist “obviously” but also sent his congratulations to the jazz bassist.
What do you guys think of Esperanza’s response to Bieber fans? Are you happy she and Justin are dealing with everything so professionally?