Jon Batiste, 35, a multi-instrumentalist who graduated from St. Augustine High School and the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, took home five Grammys during the 64th annual Grammy Awards, including album of the year for “We Are.” Batiste has recorded numerous albums since he was a teenager, including “Hollywood Africans,” produced by T Bone Burnett, “Anatomy of Angels: Live at the Village Vanguard,” and “Meditations,” a collaboration with guitarist Cory Wong.
“I was having such a good time,” Batiste said backstage after the show, describing the moment when Lenny Kravitz announced his best album victory. “I was hanging with my family, when my name came and the ‘We Are’ title was said by Lenny — such a full circle moment because we played together when I was 16. It was surreal.”
Batiste looked surprised and humbled as he took to the stage to accept the award for We Are, a song addressing the COVID-19 pandemic and Black Lives Matter protests following the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
“I believe this to my core: There is no best musician, best artist, best dancer, best actor,” he said. “The creative arts are subjective, and they reach people at a point in their lives when they need it most. It’s like a song or an album is made and it almost has a radar to find the person when they need it the most.”
He also paid respect to his fellow nominees, saying, “I actually love and have had out-of-body experiences with your music. I honor you.”
“This is for real artists, real musicians,” he concluded. “Let’s just keep going: Be you.”
According to reports, Jon Batiste secretly married his partner Suleika Jaouad in February before she underwent her second bone marrow transplant following her diagnosis with leukemia.