Jon Batiste was the BIG WINNER at the 64th Grammy Awards Show.
Personally, I feel he also WON for “BEST ACCEPTANCE SPEECH” too…if you missed it, just keep reading!
Jon Batiste has had an amazing couple of years with his film score for “SOUL,” and his solo career.
He also is the Musical Director for the “Late Show with Stephen Colbert.” Some of you may not know Jon since the “Late Show” airs on Mondays through Friday at 11:35 p.m.
I started watching “The Late Show” because of Colbert but now I find Jon Batiste to be just as important as Stephen to the show. Every night I tune in or record the show just to see what this “musical genius” Jon will be performing that night.
The “Musical Director” gig could be enough to keep a musician busy for hours each day with the planning, rehearsing, and taping of 5 shows a week but Jon’s work does not end there. Jon is usually working on other projects while fulfilling his duties to The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. When Jon accepted the position of Bandleader and Musical Director of the show he was already on his way to stardom with 5 albums under his belt. It was a tough decision for Jon to commit to such a prominent position, but he does not see his job as work or just entertainment. In the beautiful words of his Grammy Award acceptance speech, Jon said,
“It’s more than entertainment for me, It’s a spiritual practice” (keep reading there are more gems from Jon’s amazing speech)
Jon was nominated for 11 Grammys at this year’s award show. You may wonder why and how Jon received so many nominations since he is not the guy you hear on the radio all day or would see as a headliner at Coachella.
Could it be that Grammy voters know him from late night TV?
Could it be that Jon offers something different and unique compared to the other nominees?
Jon’s album “We Are” stretches beyond the normal categories and genres of the Grammy’s. “We Are” appeals to an extremely wide audience. Jon probably appeals to the perfect audience of voters…a little older…voters that like genres outside of the basic pop/rock genres. I also just described voters that are highly likely to take their voting privileges very seriously.
Could it be that the voters are comprised by a lot of fellow musicians that have paid close attention to the talent and gift that Jon brings to the table? Fellow musicians respect and love Jon’s dedication and passion for his craft. He is often referred to as the “musician’s… musician.”
And in the end…wouldn’t “all” voters check out the artist that has 11 Grammy Nominations?
We may not check out every nominee but if you add the words “11 GRAMMY NOMINATIONS” to our consumption of press and media, it’s a good chance we would “ALL” check out the artist with “11 nominations”. With Jon’s impressive music and a lot of eyes and ears on his album and video, there will be massive voting interest that “WILL” lead to “WINS” for Jon.
And….THIS YEAR JON BATISTE WON 5 GRAMMY AWARDS
ALBUM of the YEAR “We Are”
BEST MUSIC VIDEO “Freedom”
BEST SCORE SOUNDTRACK for VISUAL MEDIA “Soul”
BEST AMERICAN ROOTS PERFORMANCE “Cry”
BEST AMERICAN ROOTS SONG “Cry”
Between Jon’s work on the original score of Disney PIXAR’S “Soul” in 2020 and his solo album “We Are” that was released on March 19, 2021, Jon has been the leader at several high-profile award shows. (Academy Awards, Grammy’s, Golden Globe Awards, Bafta Awards, NAACP Awards, Critics Choice, and many more)
In 2021 Jon Batiste along with Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross took home the Oscar for “Best Original Score” for “SOUL”. The film also won the Golden Globe Award and the Bafta Award for “Best Animated Feature Film.” The film revolves around a middle school music teacher who has a strong passion for Jazz music. The film leans heavily on great music throughout the movie. Since music was so important to the story and success of the film, Disney needed a dream team of musicians and producers to write and create the score. This dream team took home the Grammy for “Best Score Soundtrack.”
Jon gave an epic performance of his infectious song “Freedom” at the 64th Grammy show. Jon brought the audience to their feet as they danced, sang, and clapped along to the song. This was a high point of an evening that was already loaded with astounding performances. Directly following his performance there was a Gap ad that also featured “Freedom.”
Batiste was the star of the night, but there was much, much more to enjoy. After the strong praise Trevor Noah received from hosting the 63rd Grammy Awards in 2021, he was asked to return to host again this year. Trevor is now established as an excellent host. He did not waste any time on bad, tasteless jokes. He did not make much reference to the mishap that happened only one week prior, at the Academy Awards. There was no “slap-stick” comedy for Noah (and that is my only reference to that “THING” that happened last week). Trevor allowed the music and the artists to be the focus of the program. He kept the show light, classy and moving at a good pace.
The Academy Awards could take some notes and tips from this years Grammy awards. The “In Memoriam” segment was tasteful and perfectly presented by four amazing singers who are also actors. Ben Platt, Cynthia Erivo, Leslie Odom, and Rachel Zegler performed three songs that were appropriate and touching for that moment.
The show ran seamlessly for 209 minutes. The 20 live performers were often introduced by their own crew members.
It was nice to hear from the people that know them best.
All the introductions were heart felt and it put a face to the ordinary workers who do extraordinary work behind the scenes of the stars they work for.
The Grammy staging and sets for each performance was stunning. This is the first time in years that I had my thumb on the replay button throughout the entire show. I woke up the next day wanting to replay some of my favorite performances and highlights of the show.
My favorite performances came from the following artists:
- Chris Stapleton was the BIGGEST COUNTRY WINNER of the night. Chris swept his 3 country nominations with 3 WINS, to include the coveted “Best Country Album” for “Starting Over”, “Best Country Song” for “Cold”, and “Best Solo Country Performance” award. Chris gave a great live performance of his Grammy winning song, “Cold.” I find Chris to be one of the most soulful voices and performers in country music. He also gave a heart-felt acceptance speech. I especially loved him telling his peers….
“Hopefully, we are doing this to make the world a better place, and the people that live it in will love each other, have a good time together, and come together”
You can pick up Chris Stapleton’s album “Starting Over” and see why he took home all the Top Country awards of the 64th Grammys show.
I also recommend picking up Chris’s full catalog at www.deepdiscount.com
- Jon Batiste gave a rollicking performance of his award-winning song “Freedom.” Jon may be new to you, but his fans have been loving all his albums since 2005… At the end of this feature, I will tell you why he gave the “BEST ACCEPTANCE SPEECH.”
Due to Jon’s astonishing success at the Grammys, his music is selling fast. If his album “We Are” or any of his other amazing albums are showing as “backorder” items, check back often as the label is frantically producing more copies.
You can find all of Jon Batiste’s music here.
Tune into “Late Night with Stephen Colbert” to witness Jon Batiste in action every weeknight at 11:35 p.m.
- Brandi Carlile hit the stage after a beautiful introduction from two of her close friends who are also legendary singer songwriters. Joni Mitchell and Bonnie Raitt gave that introduction. After her introduction, Brandi gave her typical stunning performance. She performed her newest Grammy nominated song “Right On Time.” I loved how she began with a solo piano and moved to guitar with her full band. Brandi is often asked to perform at shows and events due to her effortless ability to captivate her audience. Her performance always ends with a standing ovation and the audience shouting for more.
You realize just how stiff the competition was this year when an artist like Brandi Carlile has 5 nominations but received, no wins. I will say that her new album “These Silent Days” was worthy of the nomination and a…..WIN.
This year Joni Mitchell was also honored as “MusiCares Person of the Year.” There was a star-studded gala and tribute concert to honor Joni, just two nights prior to the Grammys.
If you are an avid reader of my BLOG or a friend you know what Joni Mitchell means to me. I have written about her or mentioned her many times.
Joni also received a Grammy for “Best Historical Album” for her “Joni Mitchell Archives Vol. 1, The Early Years 1963-1967” which you can pick up here.
“Joni Mitchell Archives Vol. 2, The Reprise Years 1968-1971” is also a MUST FOR ALL JONI FANS! It’s available here.
Browse all of Joni’s titles here and add your favorites to your collection….Need a gift for someone that loves singer songwriters, I highly recommend the following Joni titles:
- H.E.R., Lenny Kravitz, Travis Barker, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis gave the one of the most energetic performances of the night. H.E.R came out first and performed two songs from her digital only release (Back of My Mind). At the end of her two songs the curtain opened and out came Travis Barker and Lenny Kravitz to perform a rockin’ rendition of his song “Are You Gonna Go My Way.” Lenny and H.E.R. traded lead guitar riffs that were pure fire! At age 51 Lenny looked and rocked like a man half his age.
If you have not heard H.E.R’s debut album, I suggest picking it up here.
If you find yourself in the mood for ROCK….Lenny Kravitz is your man. Take your pick, all his albums are GREAT or if you just want the hits, Lenny has a fantastic “Greatest Hits” collection. You can find Lenny Kravitz’s music here.
- Justin Bieber also looked and sounded amazing. His solo piano opening to his hit song “Peaches” was beautiful and captured the full attention of the audience. You could have heard a pin drop in the venue.
Justin Bieber (Catalog and Justice) is available here.
- Billie Eilish hit the stage wearing a t-shirt in tribute to the Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins who died on March 25. She gave a breath-taking performance of “Happier Than Ever.” It started in typical Billie fashion and led to an electrifying ending with her brother “FINNEAS.” Check out all the impressive music from Billie Eilish and her brother FINNEAS
Billie Eilish (catalog and Happier Than Ever) is available here.
FINNEAS all titles available here.
- The most important appearance of the night came from a pre-recorded message by the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky. He delivered an emotional plea to continue to give support to his country. He included some sobering statistics on the number of children that have been injured or killed by this war.
After President Zelensky delivered his message, John Legend sat solo at the piano and poured his heart and soul into his song “Free.” Three Ukrainian artists joined john. A vocalist, a poet and a musician that played the bandura, which is a traditional Ukrainian folk instrument. At the end of the performance there was information on how we ALL could help support the Ukraine….www.ForUkraine.com
John Legend has proven to be one of the most prolific songwriters of the last 20 years.
Check out his catalog here.
TONY BENNETT and LADY GAGA
- Tony Bennett recorded a message to introduce Lady Gaga who performed songs from their album “Love For Sale.” Gaga brought some Big Band realness to the Grammys. She performed two songs as photos and videos of her and Tony played in the background. This was an emotional performance for Lady Gaga. It ended with her sitting on the steps of the stage with tears in her eyes. She said, “We Miss You Tony.”
Lady Gaga has recorded two albums with the legendary Tony Bennett.
NOW, AS PROMISED…Here is one of my FAVORITE ACCEPTANCE SPEECHES EVER……
Delivered by Jon Batiste when he WON the Grammy for “BEST ALBUM of the YEAR”
“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’s almost like it has a radar to find the person when they need it the most.”
“I’d like to thank God. I just put my head down and I work on the craft every day. I love music, I’ve been playing since I was a little boy. It’s more than entertainment for me, it’s a spiritual practice.”
“Every single artist that was nominated in this category I actually love and have had out-of-body experiences with your music. I honor you and this is for real artists, real musicians. Let’s just keep going. Be you!”
Those were a few of my favorite moments from the 64th Grammys. All performers were outstanding, and Trevor Noah should return next year. I am sure that all eyes were on this show to compare it to the Academy Awards. I always enjoy both shows but this year I can say that I am enormously proud of the music industry that I lived and loved for so many years.
After watching that hyped performance from Lenny Kravitz, I am ready to talk about some of the LEGENDS of ROCK this month…DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE ROCK ARTIST?