It’s a tradition during the Oscars telecast to pay respect to Hollywood’s fallen talents… And, Esperanza Spalding’s tear-jerking performance during the “In Memoriam” montage at Sunday’s Academy Awards proved to be fitting tribute.
The 27-year-old part-Mexican singer—who won Best New Artist at the 53rd Grammy Awards, making her the first jazz artist to win the award—sang a restrained and powerful rendition of Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World” while backed by the Southern California Children’s Choir.
During Spalding’s performance, the names and faces of Hollywood’s lost legends were projected in stark black and white behind her, including Whitney Houston, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, Tim Hetherington and Jane Russell. The moving montage closed with a clip of Elizabeth Taylor as “Cleopatra.”
It was a pitch perfect performance that allowed millions around the world to see what Grammy voters had already seen in Spalding last year—a true talent with a glorious voice!
Spalding upcoming studio album Radio Music Society is scheduled to be released on March 20, 2012.