Born in 1984, bassist, singer and composer Esperanza Spalding began playing in small jazz and blues venues around her hometown of Portland, Oregon. Soon after picking up the acoustic bass at the late age of 14, she helped form Noise for Pretend, an eclectic band fusing jazz and pop for which she sang and played bass (often simultaneously). The group signed with indie rock imprint Hush Records, which released two albums of their original compositions.
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