Finally! My Esperanza Spalding interview

photo via http://www.flawlesshustle.com

It seriously took me like two weeks to make this. Be merciful, this is the first YouTube video that I made all by myself, so excuse the rough parts and hasty fade outs.

My thoughts upon listening to this for the fifty millionth time…

— wow, I really do sound like an American now. I miss unconsciously speaking like an island girl, instead of this weird proper amalgamated Americanese that I speak. Like I Come From Foreign, I struggle with speaking in my Trini accent in American-only situations. I talk most like myself when I speak with my family on the phone. And once again, I hate being asked “why don’t you have an accent.” I’ve had enough of that question to last me a lifetime.

– I knew very little about Esperanza before this interview, and my rambling non-questions reveal that. This was such an off the cuff, “so…. whaddya think about this?” kind of interview.

– If you listen to the background, you can hear my cat Max meowing a LOT during this interview. In the morning he begs over and over to be let into the backyard. It’s super annoying, especially when I’m working. And he definitely distracted me during this interview.

– Esperanza is so passionate and fun, and I’m so glad the interview went the way it did. She was refreshingly honest about image in the industry, and I dug what she had to say. She surprised me with her forthrightness, as you can hear from my squeal during the Beyonce discussion, and my pause as she revealed her favorite hair products. That’s early morning mental processing at its finest.

So here you have it, 10 minutes of clips from my rambling interview with Esperanza Spalding. All in all, we talked for like 35 minutes about her music, our shared admiration for Jill Scott, pop star image transformations, the future of jazz, and of course, hair.

Whew. So there goes my first foray into the wonderful world of video. What do you think?

Next time, I hope to learn how to lay down a second audio track to fill up the space of those pregnant pauses.

Thanks again, Esperanza — you were real, honest, fun, and an absolute pleasure. Click here to order Esperanza’s debut CD. I told her in one of those audio clips that fell on the cutting room floor — she’s going places. I can tell!

I’ve got a backlog of great interviews coming up, bellas and fellas! Amanda Diva, Janelle Monae, and more in store. Please feel free to give me pointers on the finer points of editing, or to just tell me what you think of Esperanza and what we had to say.

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Comments

  1. That was SUCH a breath of fresh air. You are both so fun to listen to.

    bella I have been a lurker but I gotta show you some love for the video tip. More please!

  2. Good Morning AFROBELLA. Decent job with your first YouTube video. You introduced me to Ms. Spalding a few weeks ago with your previous post, so I think I will have to get her album:)

    P.S. If it makes you feel better, i think you still have an accent. I’m not sure if I would identify it as Trinidadian, but I’m not good at deciphering the “where,” just the “what.” Ms. Spalding sounded like she had one too to me…like she’s Canadian or something:)

  3. Thank you for posting this interview! It’s nice to actually hear the person’s voice instead of just reading a transcript. I can definitely hear your accent. Your cat was too cute in the background.

    I love Esperanza’s music and I recently bought her CD due to your post and an interview I read on YMIB. I’m happy you got to ask her about her hair. I’ve also heard that the ocean is good for curlies.

  4. Congratulations on your first YouTube interview! Esperanza Spalding is a great musician and overall breath of fresh air! I can’t wait to see your future interviews.

  5. “— wow, I really do sound like an American now. I miss unconsciously speaking like an island girl, instead of this weird proper amalgamated Americanese that I speak. Like I Come From Foreign, I struggle with speaking in my Trini accent in American-only situations. I talk most like myself when I speak with my family on the phone. And once again, I hate being asked “why don’t you have an accent.” I’ve had enough of that question to last me a lifetime.”

    You are not alone, I can totally relate! Off to listen to the interview :)

  6. Good job Bella!I will have to try the salt water thing but it will be very hard for me to not wash my hair after.

  7. I love it! Please do more audio interviews. It’s great to match the voice, personality and spirit of a subject. Esperanza has an incredible album and her personality makes it all the better. Thanks Bella!

  8. Hmmmm.....Salt water. says:

    This girl is a talent magnet. She is so blessed, music just gushes from her, instrumentally and vocally. I’ve always looked jazz but she inspires you to understand it. Musicians rule.

  9. Hmmmm.....Salt water. says:

    whoops. typo. I’ve always loved jazz that is.

  10. I know, right? Salt water! I do like how my hair’s all funky after I “take a sea bath” as my mom says… but I was really surprised that she cited it as a styling method. But hey, I’m down to try something new, especially if it involves going to the beach!

  11. Hmmmm.....Salt water. says:

    Natural salt couldn’t hurt, I suppose. Plus it’s money saving. Genius.

  12. Hmmmm.....Salt water. says:

    Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, The first photo of the blog, she reminds me of Sade. Both are beautiful bellas.

  13. Great interview Bella. I’m really appreciating your posts on music. The cat was so funny. I too have a cat her name is Ursula. We have a mutual agreement “if you don’t mess with me I wont mess with you” haha it kinda works most of the time.

    To my British ears you sound American which was a huge surprise. I always imagined a Trini twang. Never mind you still sound cute. Although I was born and bred in Britain my parents are from Jamaica so you should hear us when we get together.

  14. If you do a sea water review says:

    Perhaps these products can be reviewed.Ocean glow Hair and body mist at caycecures.com or I researched Nexxus and they have some called Sea Swell Ocean Air Texture Mist a marine mineral styler with seaweed extract.Nexxus.com

  15. I thought it was a great start. I encourage you do more interviews. Sounds like you two had fun talking together.

  16. Wonderful interview and I love the idea of interspersing some audio into the mix every now and again. Thanks for the tip, there’s still good music out there if we know where to look.

  17. Wow, that was a really great interview. You did an excellent job. Esperanza’s hair is beautiful I am definitely going to check out her CD.

  18. Great interview and I really do love your style.

    I must respectfully disagree with you about the philosophy (I miss unconsciously speaking like an island girl, instead of this weird proper amalgamated Americanese that I speak. Like I Come From Foreign, I struggle with speaking in my Trini accent in American-only situations.) behind losing your accent. I have lived in the US for a number of years and spent long periods of times in other countries also. While I understand that it may be difficult for some people to understand what you say, I have found just slowing down how I speak goes a really long way. Everyone knows that I am not american but once they can understand what I say no one has ever had a problem/issue beyond the initial “where are you from?”. My accent is one of the things that makes me uniquely me, Trinidad is my “home” and being from Trinidad defines me as a person, the same way that my natural hair does. It’s all about getting back to my roots (pun intended!).

  19. It was great interview. She’ll be here in SF in October.

  20. “I miss unconsciously speaking like an island girl, instead of this weird proper amalgamated Americanese that I speak. Like I Come From Foreign, I struggle with speaking in my Trini accent in American-only situations. I talk most like myself when I speak with my family on the phone. And once again, I hate being asked “why don’t you have an accent.” I’ve had enough of that question to last me a lifetime.”

    Ditto for me! Thank you.

  21. BTW, the only time my accent “jumps out” (other than when I’m speaking to Jamaicans or other Caribbean people) is on certain words. Sometimes it comes out when I’m nervous or angry.

  22. Yan — it isn’t a philosophy and it wasn’t a lasting intention… it’s just sort of happened over time, and I’m definitely not pleased about it. My husband’s American, I don’t hang out with many Trinis in Miami, and I know there have been times (like in the classroom when I was a freshman) when I consciously tried to talk more like an American just so I would be understood. Dirty became dirdee, twenty became twenny, etc. Somewhere along the line it sort of stuck, and I find that I don’t sound like a true Trini unless I’m around Trinis, or I’m on the phone with my family, and like Jamerican Muslimah — when I am angry. I’ve become like Michael from Desmond’s (remember Desmond’s?), and it’s an issue I struggle with.

    I will always be a Trini in my heart and soul, I will always see Trinidad as my home, and I agree — Trinidad defines me as a person. But a decade of living in the States has eroded the distinctive accent I always took for granted.

    So glad you bellas liked the interview!! I’ll try to get the next one out quicker. Hopefully it won’t take me two weeks…

  23. LBellatrix says:

    Great interview! I loved how your cat had to make his presence known…

    You gotta do more of these! :)

  24. “FINALLY” is right! I’ve been waiting and so worthwhile. I loved the whole endless list of her fav musicians. Can that be a regular feature in your interviews? It’s a wonderful to discover great artists via other great artists. Also, ladies, get the CD. The whole album doesn’t isn’t like the great single “Precious”, but that’s why I dig it– it shows her musical diversity: bossa/samba tracks, straight ahead-jazz, hip-hop soul that would sit perfectly along side Jilly and India.Arie. Nice start for such a young bright talent!

    Bella, how are you recording these interviews? Is there a way to improve the audio quality? Just curious. Whatever editing program you are using probably has a some kind of EQ-ing option to reduce hiss. Good luck!

    @heartsandflowers: Where she playing? By SF I’m assuming San Fran, and if that’s the case I’ma need to find some ticket information right quick!

  25. Nice blog!Visit me!

  26. Thank you! I don’t know Esperanza is but I want to know more about her. This is how interviews should be. I love to see/hear a connection between the interviewer and interviewee. She was so open and honest and that’s what makes the difference between a fleeting artist/entertainer and a musician with staying power. No gimmicks just realness (is that even a word? but you feel me). I wanted to hear more. Loved the visual element to accompany the interview, which was a little hissy (didn’t notice your cat though). Can’t wait for your next one :o) Also loved that she looked up the blog as she was speaking to you. Again realness, isn’t that something we all would’ve done? Love beautiful brown people keep it coming Bella!

  27. Heyhey,
    I recorded it on my Olympus digital recorder, I have an ear bud thing I got at RadioShack, and this was done over my Vonage phone… so there could be several explanations for hiss. Will work on the quality of my audio, OMG I have a KILLER interview with Sparrow that is almost completely inaudible because of hiss. And that’s a crying shame. Will work on that one. Hopefully Janelle Monae will be a better quality audio clip, I used a different phone.

    Any advice on reducing hiss? I used Microsoft Movie Maker. Still learning the ropes.

  28. ChocolateOrchid says:

    Hi Bella! I really enjoyed your interview. You did great! I also enjoyed Esperanza. She seems to have a wonderful spirit. And that is refreshing! The seawater thing is very interesting. I’ll see what happens next time I go to a beach. Can’t wait to hear your future interviews!

    As usual, I enjoyed your blog!
    Blessings…..

  29. I can’t watch and hear the video yet cause I’m in my school library and I forgot my headphones!..but I will :) I just wanted to comment the whole accent thing. I am from Macon, GA and people always ask me the same question. Where is your countrified accent?! I’ve realized that I have learned to turn it on and off …(this is probably due to traveling and spending my first 5 years in Jersey City) but I think that all of our accents are beautiful and I miss when my southern drawl :)

  30. Bella! I enjoyed this so much. I have been purchasing Esperanza on Itunes ever since you introduced her to me on this blog. I can vouch for the saltwater, I actually have a pic on my Fotki of my hair after an ocean romp and it was awesome.

  31. Loved it!! Love love love your voice! beautiful tone! just like I thought it would :)

    I’ll be seeing Esperanza perform this monday right here in Holland (sadly it’s too cold in this country to go to the beach and get that salt water coupe..)

    I can hardly wait!!

  32. Profound critique, I loved the Finally! My Esperanza Spalding interview section

  33. Brilliant Piece

  34. Well I searched for Finally! My Esperanza Spalding interview title
    and found this, great read

  35. Wonderful critique, I liked the communication devices
    computer examples section

  36. Magnificent Piece of writing

  37. Hello, great advice and an fascinating post, it is going to be interesting if this is still the situation in a
    few months time

Trackbacks

  1. [...] who inspire me through their style, their music, their hair, and their personalities. Like my Esperanza Spalding interview, but better. Seriously, that one YouTube clip took me forever to complete, and I still see SO much [...]

  2. [...] never heard of her before, clearly you haven’t been reading Afrobella long enough! Esperanza Spalding has been one of my favorite artists — and best interviews — since 200… Last night I loved seeing her beautiful natural coif in the audience, and when she won, I screamed [...]

  3. [...] Esperanza Spalding has the whole package going for her. I’ve been a fan for a while now – remember this 2008 interview? Even then I knew she was going to be HUGE. So much has changed for Esperanza since then. She’s [...]

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