The GRAMMY Award for Album of the Year is one of the most prestigious and sought-after honours a performer can get.
This year’s nominees alongside Jon Batiste’s ‘We Are’ were Tony Bennett’s and Lady Gaga’s Love for Sale, Justin Bieber’s Justice (Triple Chucks Deluxe), Doja Cat’s Planet Her (Deluxe), Billie Eilish’s Happier Than Ever, H.E.R.’s Back of My Mind, Lil Nas X’s Montero, Olivia Rodrigo’s Sour, Taylor Swift’s Evermore, and Kanye West’s Donda.
Batiste argued that there should be no such categories as a greatest new artist, best actor, or best album because art is subjective. “They have like a radar to reach that person when they need it the most,” Batiste said. In regard to music, “it’s more than entertainment for me – it’s a spiritual practice.” He also left a positive reminder for the audience, “Be You. That’s it. I love you even if I don’t know you.”
The impact of tracks like ‘Freedom’ and the title track itself, was evident from the overwhelming nomination that he received – highest of the year, 11.
Despite the fact that Batiste, who had been nominated for Grammys thrice previously but had never won one, does not have the same name recognition as other candidates Justin Bieber, Billie Eilish, or Olivia Rodrigo, his music has earned international acclaim. His R&B/soul album, ‘WE ARE,’ was released in March.
Batiste won best American roots performance, best American roots song, best music video, and tied for best song composed for visual media with Carlos Rafael Rivera during the show’s pre-telecast event on Sunday. In the music video category, his song “Freedom” beat over a slew of excellent competitors, including Olivia Rodrigo, Lil Nas X, and Billie Eilish.
“I am so grateful for the gifts that God has given me and the ability to share that for the love of humankind,” Batiste said. “We just wanted everyone to see it. Any depression, any bondage or any darkness that was over your life is completely removed by just the love and the joy of the video.”
Many Grammys viewers will be unfamiliar with Batiste, but fans of “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” will recognise him as the show’s bandleader.
Batiste, who has led the late-night comedy show’s band since 2015, also interacts with host Stephen Colbert on-air on occasion. Following Batiste’s recent appearance on “Sesame Street,” Colbert wondered if the children’s show was “full of hellspawn” when Big Bird tweeted about COVID-19 vaccines.
In 2017, Batiste was named music director of The Atlantic, a “newly curated role,” according to the publication. As music director, Batiste will “collaborate with the editors on a range of projects, from writing to video to live events,” according to the journal.
Batiste and novelist Suleika Jaouad secretly married in February after being together for over eight years, according to a TV interview.