Grammys' Best New Artist? Not Bieber or Drake

Jazz bassist Esperanza Spalding takes the trophy in an upset win.

Esperanza Spalding (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

A Canadian teen heartthrob with serious bangs and a Canadian actor-turned-rapper were no match for an American jazz bassist-vocalist in the Grammy contest for this year's best new artist. Defying expectations, 26-year-old Esperanza Spalding (also a 2010 Root 100 honoree) beat out Justin Bieber and Drake, as well as Florence and the Machine and Mumford & Sons, for the trophy.

If you don't know who she is yet, check out her August 2010 interview with The Root -- Esperanza Spalding on Taking a Big Risk -- and check out the video below of her 2009 White House performance.

Sheryl Huggins Salomon is senior editor-at-large of The Root and a Brooklyn, N.Y.-based editorial consultant. Follow her on Twitter.

Like The Root on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.