2022 Grammys: Jon Batiste

Written by: Gabrielle

Edited by: Jessica

Visual by: Mischka

Jon Batiste: The Champion of the 64th Annual Grammy Music Awards

“I believe this to my core, there is no best musician, best artist, best dancer, best actor. The creative arts are subjective … it’s like a song or an album is made and it’s almost like it has a radar to find the person when they need it the most,” Jon Batiste stressed as he received the Grammy’s Album of the Year award for his album, “We Are.” These powerful words coming from the Oscar, Golden Globe, and Grammy winning artist who swept the awards show with 5 wins resonated with the audience who gave him a standing ovation. While Batiste’s popularity may not be at the same level as his fellow nominees Olivia Rodrigo and Billie Eilish, his music rooted in funk, soul and New Orleans together with his eclectic style make him a unique artist worth knowing. Batiste was nominated in 11 categories, the most of any artist in the 64th annual Grammy Music Awards. He was nominated across diverse genres of R&B, improvisational jazz, American roots, film scoring, and contemporary classical. 

Awards won by Jon Batiste in the 2022 Grammys:

Album of the Year for We Are

Best Music Video for Freedom

Best American Roots Performance for Cry 

Best American Roots Song for Cry

Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media for Soul

Music runs deep in Batiste’s veins as he belongs to a prominent musical family in Louisiana. He studied at the prestigious Juilliard School and went on to release his first debut album at the age of 17. Now at 35 years old, he has released 11 albums, is bandleader of Stay Human at The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, collaborated with other well-known artists such as Stevie Wonder, Prince, Willie Nelson, Ed Sheeran and Mavis Staples, and serves as Music Director of The Atlantic and Creative Director of the National Jazz Museum in New York. His work has earned him numerous honors and accolades in the film and music industries, such as the American Jazz Museum Lifetime Achievement Award and an Annie’s Outstanding Achievement for Music in an Animated Feature Production. Recently,  he brought home an Academy Award for Best Original Score for the Pixar film, Soul, making him only the second Black composer to win in this category in the award’s 86-year history. 

Batiste’s impressive success may stem from his approach to music as a spiritual experience. In an interview in Forbes magazine, he defined music as a “form of community that brought people together and gave them a common purpose. I think before anything else, the common purpose was to connect to something that couldn’t be expressed in any other way: not with words or gestures, but just something that almost transcends reality.” Batiste easily mixes sounds and styles, and composes on his feet as the sound of notes dictate. He does not believe in restricting himself to a single musical genre, and creates his music inspired by the flow of the moment and current energy. 

Batiste’s personality together with his radiant smile endear him to fans and colleagues. In his speeches and interviews, Batiste exudes humility coupled with a dynamic, joyful vibe. This attitude translates seamlessly to the music he creates.  When speaking of his music, he often refers to the words soul, community, joy, and authenticity. Having music as a creative expression is also what carries him through challenging situations such as the one he is currently facing amidst his career high. A week before Grammy nominations were announced, his longtime girlfriend, Suleika Jaouad, received news that her leukemia recurred. Batiste married her in February, and her battle continues after a bone marrow transplant. Due to the covid situation, they were separated during her recovery from the procedure so every evening, he composed and played for her a new lullaby as a way of bringing them together.  In an interview on CBS Sunday Morning, Batiste says that despite his wife’s situation, he is determined to “focus on the light”, and uses his music as a form of healing.

“Find that joy of living, find that moment of transcendence… the joy of living is still available to us,” this mindset encourages others to live by when facing trials and hardships in life. To Batiste, music gives him this joy. His genuine and honest music which crosses all genres and unites them in modern compositions will only continue to captivate audiences around the world. 


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“Jon Batiste Exudes ‘Freedom’ in Colorful, Exuberant Performance: 2022 Grammys.” Recording Academy, https://www.grammy.com/news/jon-batiste-freedom-performance-2022-grammys-video. 

Skyler Caruso By Skyler Caruso Updated April 04, 2022 10:58 AM. “Get to Know Jon Batiste, the 2022 Grammy-Winning Artist Who Took Home Album of the Year.” PEOPLE.com, https://people.com/music/jon-batiste-everything-to-know/. 

Kornhaber, Spencer. “How Jon Batiste Broke Grammys Expectations.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 4 Apr. 2022, https://www.theatlantic.com/culture/archive/2022/04/grammys-2022-jon-batiste-olivia-rodrigo/629471/. 

Goldsmith, Margie. “Jon Batiste: So Much More than Stephen Colbert’s Music Director.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 30 June 2021, https://www.forbes.com/sites/margiegoldsmith/2019/09/09/john-batiste-so-much-more-than-steven-colberts-music-director/?sh=6b4f1c903b77. 

CBSThisMorning. “Musician Jon Batiste on Winning Five Grammy Awards.” YouTube, YouTube, 5 Apr. 2022, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f7TykfMu2H8. 

Feibel, Adam. “Jon Batiste Wins Academy Award for Soul.” JAZZ.FM91, 26 Apr. 2021, https://jazz.fm/jon-batiste-soul-oscar-academy-award-pixar/. 

CBSThisMorning. “Musician Jon Batiste on Winning Five Grammy Awards.” YouTube, YouTube, 5 Apr. 2022, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f7TykfMu2H8. 

CBSSundayMorning. “Suleika Jaouad’s Journey ‘between Two Kingdoms.’” YouTube, YouTube, 14 Feb. 2021, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VQR3edM7lQ.