American singer-songwriter, bandleader, and reality TV star Jon Batiste was born on November 11, 1986. He has collaborated with musicians across genres, published albums constantly since 2005, and played in over 40 countries. Batiste frequently performs on The Late Show of Stephen Colbert as Bandleader and Music Director, in addition to touring alongside his band Stay Human. The National Jazz Museum of Harlem also has Batiste on staff as its Creative Director, and he is also the Music Director for The Atlantic.
Batiste was born to a Catholic household in Metairie, Louisiana. He was a local of Kenner, Louisiana, where he spent his formative years. Russell Batiste Jr.’s father, Lionel Batiste, leads the Treme Brass Band, and Milton Batiste, who leads the Olympia Brass Band, are both members of the Batiste musical dynasty in New Orleans. From the time he was 8 years old, he was performing with the Batiste Brothers Band, which his family led. It was his mother’s recommendation that he switch to piano when he was 11 years old. Batiste learned the piano by playing classical music and by transcribing songs from video games like Street Fighter Alpha, Final Fantasy VII, and Sonic the Hedgehog.
Batiste’s first album, Times in New Orleans, was out while he was only 17 years old. Along with Trombone Shorty, he is a 2004 alumnus of New Orleans’ St. Augustine High School and the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts. Soon after, he enrolled at Juilliard and graduated with a BM in 2008 and an MM in 2011.
In addition to singing the national anthem at the 2017 NBA All-Star Game and the 2017 US Open Opening Night, Batiste has also performed tributes to Chuck Berry and Fats Domino at the 60th annual Grammy Awards (alongside Gary Clark Jr.). He has also performed at the Kennedy Center Honors in honour of Carmen De Lavallade and the Concert for Justice and Peace in Montgomery, Alabama. Batiste is presently represented by Mick Management, and he has previously coordinated events such as the World Citizen Advocacy Concert featuring Tom Morello and the Louie Armstrong Wonderful World Fest in Queens, New York. Batiste had a recurring role in the second, third, and fourth seasons of the HBO series Treme. The film score for Spike Lee’s Red Hook Summer featured music he composed and performed on the Hammond B-3 organ. He also appeared in the film in the role of T.K. Hazelton. The short movie Melody of Choice and the tv series Duke 91 & 92 one after the other both feature music by Batiste. Additionally, you can catch him in Paul Szynol’s Thrive.
Batiste was chosen Grand Marshal of the 2018 Endymion Ceremony in New Orleans and was listed in Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list for musicians in 2016. He is the recipient of three prestigious awards: the Movado Future Legend Award, the Harry Chapin ASCAP Humanitarian Award, and the American Jazz Museum Lifetime Achievement Award. Batiste was recognised for his musical contributions at Newport’s 2014 International Jazz Day with a honorary title from Salve Regina University in May of 2017. Advertisement campaigns that have included Batiste include those for Chase Bank, Apple Watch, Lincoln Continental, and a slew of fashion labels like Ralph Lauren, Barneys, Nordstrom, Frye Boots, and Bonobos.