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Jon Batiste Is Saving The World One Note At A Time …

Written by on January 22, 2021

Courtesy of the Artist

From the Stephen Colbert Show to Pixar’s Soul, Grammy-nominated multi-instrumentalist and activist Jon Batiste uses music as a tool to change the world.

With a new year and new music in the horizon, Jill Hopkins sat down with Batiste to talk about his upcoming projects, his collaborations and his earliest musical inspirations. 


Photo by Abby Ross

Jon Batiste is not a stranger to constantly creating. 2020 alone gave us a full-length album as well as his musical contributions to Disney Pixar’s film Soul, all meanwhile remaining bandleader for Late Night With Stephen Colbert, and leading several protests during the summer. But while plenty would be satisfied with even half of this, Batiste kept creating; writing and fine-tuning new music for the upcoming year.

We are in my dressing room at the Ed Sullivan Theater with a mic and a laptop and all my instruments, and we made the blueprint of it in six days. SIX DAYS. And that was in between doing a bunch of other stuff… And then, over nine months, going from that dressing room session until the global pandemic and the protest marches that I was leading in NYC, that’s when I finished the record.

Jon Batiste

Though Batiste’s forthcoming album “We Are,” set to release March 19, found its inception in his dressing room, time and outside influences helped finalize it. With “over one-hundred creatives” involved in the record’s production, Batiste embodies the collaborative spirit of his music.

Jon Batiste carries his melodica with him pretty much all the time. “I always have it,” he says. “It’s kind of like my murse — a man purse

One of the most notable collaborators of the record is Chicago’s own Mavis Staples.

Mavis is everybody’s grandmother. She’s got a very very nurturing and wise presence. And I just wanted a taste of that to be shared with people through this record… I’ve seen it and I’ve experienced it, but to share it with people, it’s a gift.

Jon Batiste

Despite its collaborative nature, the album is purely Batiste and draws from deeply personal wells. Batiste’s own father contributed his musical talents to the new album, bringing Batiste’s musical upbringing full circle.

The record has a lot. It holds so much life.

Jon Batiste

Listen to our entire interview with Jon Batiste below.


Follow Jon Batiste on Twitter and Instagram!

Written By Luis Mejia Ahrens