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Esperanza Spalding on Her Alter Ego and Being Inspired ‘By Stuff People in Suits Don’t Give a Shit About’

“I just want to say, if you’re going crazy, take a break,” says Esperanza Spalding. The Oregon-based jazz singer-bassist sits at Beverly Hills’ Avalon Hotel, lit from behind by a window that opens onto a small courtyard. Her hair teased out to her shoulders, she’s wearing a wild orange coat and gold glasses. Standing out is nothing new for the 31-year-old, but she seems extra radiant after taking two years off from a rapid, Grammy-stacking rise. “I felt overwhelmed by stuff that wasn’t satisfying me,” she says, “things I was supposed to do for my career. I stopped and said, ‘Let me get back to the basics.’ I had no plans for the future — until I heard the knock on the door from Emily.”

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