Esperanza Spalding Takes To Facebook Live To Record New Album 'Exposure'

Sep 11, 2017
Originally published on March 27, 2018 12:12 pm

Starting at 9 a.m. Pacific time on Tuesday, Grammy Award-winning musician Esperanza Spalding will spend 77 hours creating her new album, “Exposure.” The entire session will be streamed on Facebook Live for all her fans to see.

Here & Now‘s Robin Young talks with Spalding (@EspeSpalding) about the experiment.

Interview Highlights

On Facebook Live and responding to music in the moment

“It isn’t just response to self. I mean, it’s response to everything that’s coming into your orbit, you know. I’m a part of the orbit of the people I’m with, too. So it’s also about how my spontaneous engagement supports their exploration.”

On “interference” in the process, her record label and what this mode of creation provides

“My poor label. ‘Interfere’ is sort of exaggerated because I’ve never felt like [the record label] interfered with my mission. It’s just, the motive of investing in a project is to earn a great return on your on your investment, so there are a lot of questions and conversations that revolve around, ‘OK, how we are going to sell it? Like, what’s the angle, what’s the distribution?’ Which are all fine questions if you’re a business person, but if you’re an artist and your mission is to tap into your voice and what it is that you’ve come here to share, I find that really debilitating. What’s really cool about this is certain questions just can’t be answered so they can’t really be asked. So instead of saying we’re going for the urban audience, or the jazz audience or whatever, we’re just saying we’re looking for people who are interested in supporting creative exploration, and whatever comes out of it will be the album.”

On practicing for this type of album experience

“Well, it’s like practicing for a game. No matter how well-rehearsed your plays are, you know full well that when you get onto the field, anything can happen. So, you practice the plays to be ready to move in similar kinds of combinations, right? The reason that we practice is to get used to, kind of the ways that things tend to go, and then we hope that there’s kind of a magical byproduct of that, which is preparation for the unexpected.”

“We’re looking for people who are interested in supporting creative exploration, and whatever comes out of it will be the album.”

Esperanza Spalding

On how she’s feeling going into the process

“I feel very scared. Wondering a little bit why the hell I’m doing this, and, because the project rests on real live exposure with a real live audience, the only way to find out if it’s worth doing is to try it. I know that it’s good that I feel scared, but some little part in the back of my mind is like, ‘I’m just going to make a total fool of myself in front of everybody.’ And hopefully it’ll at least be entertaining.”

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