Jazz singer and bassist Esperanza Spalding accepts an award at the 53rd annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles
Jazz singer and bassist Esperanza Spalding accepts an award at the 53rd annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles Reuters

Sunday night's Grammy Award show may have shocked a few viewers. While Arcade Fire winning the award for Album of the Year, was definitely a surprise, the night's biggest upset was Esperanza Spalding taking home the award for Best New Artist.

Spalding, who was up against some of the music industry's biggest names, snagged the award many were sure would go to Justin Bieber since his hits like Never say Never have gained much popularity.

The other nominees in the category were Bieber, British rockers Mumford & Sons, rapper Drake and Florence & the Machine.

Spalding, only 26 years old, is a jazz bassist singer from Portland, Oregon.

From the time Esperanza Spalding appeared on the scene in 2005, the dynamic singer, bassist, composer and arranger has been heralded as jazz's next big thing, the AP reported pre-Grammy Awards.

Spalding dropped out of high school when she was 16, but after completing her GED she attended the prestigious Berklee College of Music, in Boston Mass. At the age of 20, Spalding was hired by her alma matter and was one of the youngest professors in Berklee's history.

Spalding has released three albums -- the first being Junjo in 2006. It was followed by Esperanza in 2008 and her latest Chambers Music Society in 2010.

I've been kind of joking, saying it would be nice that if once in a while, the best new artist would be someone who reads and writes [music], said co-producer of Cambers Music Society, Gil Goldstein of Spalding's nomination.

It would be like a real breakthrough victory if she would win, sort of like when Herbie won Album of the Year, he said, referring to Hancock's win in 2008 for the album River: The Joni Letters.

In 2008, PopMatters wrote that Esperanza is a sprawling collage of jazz fusion, Brazilian and even a touch of hip-hop. The Boston Globe reviewed the album and called it a much more accessible album, and in some ways more conventional.

Her musical skills have not only impressed music critics. Along with praise by legends such as Stevie Wonder and Hancock, Spalding performed at the White House and at President Barack Obama's Nobel Prize award ceremony.

Few jazz musicians get nominated in non-jazz categories at the Grammy Awards, so Spalding thinks it's quite an honor to have been nominated for Best New Artist.

I am new in that I haven't been around that long, and I'm an artist. So it fits. Somebody out there thinks that in their mind that I am one of the best. It's flattering, I'll take it, she told AOL's Spinner in January, following her Grammy nomination.

Don't expect this win to change Spalding's style now that she's flirted with stardom.

The music that I make is pretty sincere; it's from my heart and I love it, and what just happened is more people have started to connect with my heart, and I haven't followed some kind of marketing scheme, she said.

Watch Esperanza Spalding's music video for Little Fly below.