Today, Academy Award, BAFTA, Golden Globe winning musician Jon Batiste releases a vibrant new music video for his single “FREEDOM,” a celebration of Black joy, independence and New Orleans culture and energy. Watch here.
There is no better time for Jon Batiste’s song of the summer “FREEDOM,” a funk-driven 70s-pop banger that Entertainment Weekly called an “exhilarating, horn-heavy celebration of independence.”
In this electrifying love letter to his hometown of New Orleans, Batiste leads the ultimate second line through the streets, linking with the legendary St. Augustine High School Marching 100 (Batiste’s alma mater), the Joyful Choir of New Orleans, Queen Tahj of the Golden Eagles Mardi Grass Indian Tribe, dancers, musicians, and residents alike.
Jon Batiste has had a good year. The Academy Award, Golden Globe, BAFTA winning musician’s hit song “I NEED YOU” reached #1 on the AAA Radio Charts, his album WE ARE debuted in the Billboard Top R&B Charts, Top Album Charts, and Top 200, his “I NEED YOU” music video surpassed 10MM views, he’s appeared on American Idol, Live with Kelly and Ryan, The Today Show, The Late Late Show with James Corden, CBS This Morning as guest and co-host, and of course the Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
“We Are represents a vivid turn from straight jazz to joyful, danceable pop and neo-soul… a bold declaration of conscience…” –Vanity Fair
On WE ARE, Batiste presents a captivating musical experience to the world rooted in catharsis, joy, freedom, contemplation and sensuality. It’s a love letter to his southern roots and the heritage of Black Music with guest appearances by Mavis Staples, Quincy Jones, Zadie Smith, PJ Morton, Trombone Shorty, St. Augustine Marching 100, his father Michael Batiste, grandfather David Gauthier and many more. It is a meditation steeped in the sounds of the times with collaborators including POMO (Anderson.Paak), Ricky Reed (Lizzo), Jahaan Sweet (Drake, Eminem) and others.
“I’m publicly known for some things already,” says Batiste. “But there’s so much more to know about me. It’s always been there. Now is the time to show the world my full artistry.”
Batiste continues, “WE ARE is a message of love for humanity, of humble reverence for our past, and of a hopeful future, in which we are the ones who can save us. The art reveals its motive to you. You just have to wait for the Spirit to tell you what it wants.”
A special thanks to Coach for dressing members of the cast of the “FREEDOM” video.
About Jon Batiste
One of the best-known musicians of his generation, virtuoso pianist, singer, bandleader, educator and television personality Jon Batiste has spent his career bringing that music back to where it started — that is, with the people. From his days at Juilliard, where he established his Stay Human band by playing around New York City’s subways and in street performances he called “love riots,” to his work since 2015 as the bandleader and musical director of The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, the Kenner, Louisiana native has consistently channeled his superb technical skill and deep knowledge of jazz tradition towards a specific, intentional purpose: making people’s lives better and brighter, one harmonaboard (that’s harmonica and keyboard, combined) solo at a time.
Born into Louisiana’s legendarily musical Batiste family, Jon has performed and recorded widely since his teens. His flexibility as an artist, his fluency in jazz as well as popular music of all stripes, has allowed him to collaborate with legends from Wynton Marsalis, a mentor since his Juilliard days, to Prince — as well as many of the widely-varied artists who appear on the Late Show.
Batiste’s marquee performances have ranged from the Grammy’s, to the Kennedy Center Honors, to the US Open and the NBA All-Star Game — in 2015, Batiste and the Stay Human Band became the first group to play the main stage at both the Newport Jazz and Folk festivals.
Batiste played himself on the HBO series Treme and appeared in director Spike Lee’s Red Hook Summer — most recently, his music was featured in the 2020 Disney/Pixar film Soul. Batiste won a Golden Globe and Critic’s Choice Award for his participation in the soundtrack alongside Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, and the trio are currently nominated for an Oscar and BAFTA for Best Soundtrack.
He’s been awarded the American Jazz Museum Lifetime Achievement Award, the Harry Chapin ASCAP Humanitarian Award and appeared on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list; Batiste also currently serves as the Music Director of The Atlantic and the Co-Artistic Director of the National Jazz Museum in Harlem.
Jon Batiste is devoted to the education and mentorship of young musicians. He has led his own Social Music Residency and Mentoring Program sponsored by Chase, as well as master classes throughout the world. He has also led several cultural exchanges, beginning in 2006, while still a teen, with the Netherlands Trust, which brought students from the USA and Holland to perform with him at the Royal Concertgebouw and Carnegie Hall.
Batiste balances a demanding performance schedule with public speaking engagements, masterclasses, brand partnerships, community activism and acting roles. His composing and songwriting will be featured in his large-scale, genre-melding symphonic work “American Symphony,” set to premiere at Carnegie Hall in 2021 and he has been developing a Broadway musical about the life of famed painter Jean-Michel Basquiat.