Album of the Year Awardee Jon Batiste Reflects on His Grammy Wins on ‘Colbert’

Jon Batiste took home five Grammys on Sunday evening — including Album of the Year for his LP, We Are, and Best Music Video for “Freedom.” The musician and The Late Show bandleader sat down with host Stephen Colbert to discuss his wins.

Colbert asked Batiste to recount his day, including the afternoon of the Grammys, when eight of his nominated categories were announced during the pre-broadcast ceremony. The singer-songwriter explained his large entourage and production scheduled caused him to show up fashionably late to the event.

“We were late,” Batiste recalled. “We were late for the ceremony and the pre-broadcast. My whole family was with me. My grandfather — he’s almost 90, he’s 89 years old. My dad, my mom, my nephews, my sister. My friend Ryan, who executive produced the album with me.” He added, “It was a whole bunch of people in the room all the time.”

The musician performed “Freedom” during the Grammys, and added that he had to be in rehearsal while both the pre-broadcast ceremony and the red carpet were happening simultaneously. “They didn’t really work it out for you if you have 11 nominations,” Batiste noted. Colbert replied, “They didn’t plan for that because there was no one else for whom they had to plan that, Jon. You were the only one with 11 nominations.”

Batiste also spoke about what it felt like to win Album of the Year, explaining his deeply confused look when Lenny Kravitz revealed him as the winner. “Man, it’s so much I’m still processing,” he said. “First, I thought the fact that my family was there with me to witness that is incredible. It’s incredible. Just so much went into that moment: piano lessons, some civil rights marches.”

He added, “It was so loud that I almost didn’t know it was me because they didn’t say my name until after the title. I was like, ‘Maybe that’s somebody else’s album that sounds like We Are.’”

Rolling Stone spoke with Batiste ahead of his Grammy wins last week, with the singer sharing that he believes awards are just icing on the cake as long as you stay true to yourself. “That’s a goal of mine, more than winning a Grammy, more than all of that,” he said. “Stay true to that core — that inner child, that spirit that you’ve been given from birth. Take care of that and also evolve but the core of that is who you are. Don’t let any of that pull you away from that. Otherwise, 11 nominations doesn’t mean anything.”