Take A Note From Esperanza Spalding’s Eclectic Playlist

Photographed by Tawni Bannister. Hair: Andrita Renee at Crosby Carter Management. Makeup: William Murphy at Atelier Management using Diorskin Star.

like nothing you’ve heard before

The following feature appears in the March 2016 issue of NYLON.

Esperanza Spalding is all about pushing boundaries and confounding expectations of what a jazz artist can create. The 31-year-old singer, bass player, and composer found international acclaim after grabbing a Grammy for best new artist in 2011, and has since been unleashing albums that fuse her classical jazz roots and soaring voice with genre-splicing tendencies. Her latest project, Emily’s D+Evolution (out March 4), presents a fresh persona to the world, using her own middle name. “I realized the Emily character needed to come through and speak,” says Spalding from her Prospect Heights, Brooklyn apartment, where she lives when she’s not in her hometown of Portland, Oregon. “While writing this project, I was continually asking myself how I could express myself as Emily.” The 12-track, self-produced album is true to Spalding’s freewheeling spirit, blending neo-soul influences with fierce funk-guitar licks and expansive jazz rhythms, while filtering the songs through “a theatrical lens” that she says will take the experience to a whole other level when performed live. 

Taking a cue from her rebellious approach to traditional musical boundaries, we asked Spalding to curate a list of songs that boldly defy fusty genre definitions. After the jump, she waxes poetic on the tracks that she’s chosen.

Photographed by Tawni Bannister. Hair: Andrita Renee at Crosby Carter Management. Makeup: William Murphy at Atelier Management using Diorskin Star.

“O Superman,” Laurie Anderson

“I first heard this when I was about 12, when I visited my uncle in San Francisco. He showed me a [video of the] performance and I couldn’t believe it was real. It was the best of everything you didn’t even know you loved, by this badass woman with short hair.”

“Hungarian Rock,” György Ligeti

“This is played on harpsichord, and it’s this sensory kaleidoscope…. At times you’ll try to notice the beat—and I’m not even sure I like it—but you can’t help but trance out to the vibe.”

“Três Coisas,” Hermeto Pascoal

“He’s a Brazilian composer, and the seminal genius of our time. He came up with his own notation system that includes color, and through his art he lets us know language is music. This song is so intricate, but I couldn’t pick a color to describe it.”

“Water Walk,” John Cage

“There’s a video for this where he’s on a talk show, and to hear him introduce it is inspiring. This is his study into ideals, and it’s delightful. The host [warns that the audience might] laugh during the performance. He says that’s OK, [if] it means there’s been a reaction. This teaches us to just go for it.”

“Einstein on the Beach,” Philip Glass

“This is like an opera, but it’s not an opera at the same time. It’s a multisensory wonderwork, and it creates this abstract, surreal landscape. There’s really no reference for it."

“My Pal Foot Foot,” The Shaggs 

“A teacher at Berklee College put me on to this. It was an experiment by The Shaggs’ father, as they had no musical references or training. He wanted to see what they would do, left to their own expression.” 

“Mama Rosa,” Brian Blade

“This is a quote-unquote jazz drummer who decided to do a song as a singer-songwriter. I don’t know what planet he’s from, but I want to inoculate myself with his blood. It’s magical.”

 “Sincerely, Jane,” Janelle Monáe

“Janelle sounds like no one else. She has a new sound and a new way of making music. She’s in that camp of artists who will take a couple of decades to get their genius appreciated. It’s exploratory shit.”

“Breathing Underwater,” Hiatus Kaiyote

“This is like Janelle Monáe because I can hear the genres, but it’s not a case of them sounding like those genres. There’s no category for it. It’s not a mash-up of five genres, like rock or whatever. What they’ve created is something more than that.”

“Just the Way You Are,” Urszula Dudziak

“She’s a crazy Polish jazz artist, and her vocals were [among] the first to use loopers and samplers in the ‘70s. On this song, she goes for it. It’s powerful.”

We also see Margot Robbie take on Sharon Tate

The new trailer for Quentin Tarantino's upcoming movie Once Upon a Time in Hollywood gives a look at the Manson Family. In the previous clip, we saw Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio at their funniest. Now, we get to see Margot Robbie take on actress Sharon Tate, Lena Dunham become a cult member, and how the fictional and real-life story lines will intersect in the film.

Per a press release, the film—that follows a fictional story set around the time of the real-life Manson murders—"visits 1969 Los Angeles, where everything is changing, as TV star Rick Dalton (DiCaprio) and his longtime stunt double Cliff Booth (Pitt) make their way around an industry they hardly recognize anymore."

In this clip, after being introduced to Dalton and Booth, viewers get to see how the latter ends up mingling with the Manson Family. As Booth picks up a girl (Margaret Qualley) on the side of the road, he unknowingly welcomes a Manson family member into his life and begins to visit their ranch. The fiction and real-life stories intersect when we find out that Dalton lives next store to Tate, who was murdered by the members of Charles Manson's cult in 1969.

Watch the new trailer for Once Upon A Time In Hollywood ahead of its July 26 theatrical release, below.


Photos by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

This photo proves that they are the chillest onscreen family

Sophie Turner just posted a photo of herself, Maisie Williams, and Isaac Hempstead Wright—aka the Stark siblings—to her Instagram, showing just what the three used to get up to when the Game of Thrones cameras weren't rolling.

The photo shows Wright looking quite pleased with himself while sitting on a makeshift throne, wearing no pants. As he should be, seeing as (spoiler) his character, Bran, won the Iron Throne this weekend. Williams, meanwhile, is looking way too cool to be involved in the shenanigans, wearing a pair of black sunglasses and staring absently off-camera. As for Turner, she's looking away from her onscreen brother, too, nervously smoking a Juul.

"The pack survived," Turner captioned the photo.

This photo just goes to prove that the Stark siblings are the chillest onscreen family. (It also proves, yet again, that Turner's social media is an absolute delight.)

We're actually a little sad that this footage didn't make it into the final season, considering how many modern-day objects have been spotted in the show's last few episodes.

Photo via @mileycyrus on Twitter

Meet Ashley

Miley Cyrus shared the trailer for her forthcoming Black Mirror episode, and it's basically Hannah Montana set in a dystopian future. Cyrus is a pink wig-wearing pop star named Ashley who is rolling out an in-home virtual assistant, named Ashley Too, that looks like her and shares her voice. But, as is the case with every Black Mirror episode, this technology is not as cute and fun as it's advertised to be.

In the trailer, we get the idea that Ashley is all about wanting fans to "believe" in themselves—but underneath that pink wig, maybe she doesn't feel that same self-love. After Ashley Too introduces herself to fan and new owner Rachel, promising to be her friend, we get a look at Ashley's darker side. She's depressed and tired of the pop star life. A record label executive says to several people in the room, "She doesn't understand how fragile all this is." As they consider upping her dose of medication, Ashley's life is on a downward slope. "It's getting so hard to keep doing this," she voices over glimpses of a police car chase, performances, and breakdowns backstage.

But back to the technology: Does Ashley's breakdown also mean the breakdown of Ashley Too? Looks like it. We see Rachel's virtual assistant screaming, "Get that cable out of my ass! Holy shit! Pull it out," breathing a sigh of relief as soon as they pull it out. A title card then reveals the episode name, "Rachel, Jack, and Ashley Too."

Watch the full trailer and get a full view of Cyrus' cyborg-esque pop star look, below. Black Mirror returns to Netflix on June 5.

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Photo by Paras Griffin / Stringer / Getty Images.

Several actresses allegedly had "issues" with him

Lena Waithe's Showtime series, The Chi, just lost one of its main characters. Jason Mitchell, who was also set to appear in the Netflix film Desperados, has been dropped from both projects following multiple allegations of misconduct. He has also been dropped by his agent and manager.

Hollywood Reporter heard from a source "with knowledge" of The Chi, who says that Tiffany Boone, the actress who plays Mitchell's girlfriend on the show, is just one of several actresses who had "issues" with him. She eventually told producers at Fox21 that she could no longer work with him after filing several sexual harassment complaints. Apparently, her fiancé, Dear White People co-star Marque Richardson, would join her on set when she would shoot with Mitchell.

While news of Mitchell's alleged misconduct is just now beginning to surface, it looks like the ball started rolling on the fallout weeks ago. He was dropped from Desperados and replaced by Lamorne Morris before filming began. A source from the production team said that the producers received "specific information" that they reviewed and acted on quickly. Similarly, a source familiar with Mitchell's former agent, UTA, said the decision to drop him a few weeks ago was very quick following the allegations.

Photo by Rachel Murray/Getty Images

Prior to the college admissions scandal, she said she doesn't "care about school"

Apparently, Olivia Jade wants to go back to school despite all those YouTube videos that suggested otherwise. Back in March, it was revealed that her mom, Fuller House actress Lori Loughlin, and dad, Mossimo Giannulli, had scammed Jade's way into the University of Southern California. Now, Loughlin faces jail time, and Jade lost out on plenty of lucrative ad partnerships.

According to Us Weekly, "Olivia Jade wants to go back to USC," per a source. "She didn't get officially kicked out and she is begging the school to let her back in." Another source though ousted Jade's real motivation to the publication. "She knows they won't let her in, so she's hoping this info gets out," they shared. "She wants to come out looking like she's changed, learned life lessons and is growing as a person, so she for sure wants people to think she is interested in her education."

Jade previously shared in a YouTube video she's in college for the "experience of like game days, partying" rather than the education. She also said, "I don't know how much of school I'm going to attend... I don't really care about school, as you guys all know." Though these statements were made prior to the scandal coming to light, her brand partnerships didn't come into question until her parents were indicted.

Right now, despite previous reports that Jade and her sister would both be dropping out of USC, Jade's enrollment has been placed on hold—meaning she cannot register for classes, or even withdraw from the school—until her parents' court case comes to a close. Then, the school will make its own decision as to how Jade will be affected. I think, either way, she should have to pay off a few of her classmates' loans for all the BS she pulled.