Jon Batiste is an internationally acclaimed musician, bandleader and composer. As an educator and television personality, he spreads his unbridled optimism coupled with a profound understanding of the arts. Born into a long lineage of New Orleans musicians, Batiste is a graduate of The Juilliard School with a master's degree. After graduating, he toured globally with his band Stay Human and currently appears nightly on national television as the bandleader and musical director for "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert." Jon is a Forbes 30 under 30 honoree, Musical Director for The Atlantic and Creative Director of the National Jazz Museum in Harlem. He balances a demanding performance schedule with speaking engagements, curating events, occasional acting and producing opportunities, all while relentlessly composing new music. Jon is also a coveted brand ambassador–featured in campaigns for Chase, Apple, Lincoln Motor Company, and numerous fashion brands including Bonobos, Ralph Lauren, Barney's and Nordstrom. He has worked with famed photographer Annie Leibowitz, among many others, and his personal style has been profiled in various fashion publications including GQ, Vanity Fair and Vogue. Jon's mission is to share his faith, hope and love with the world around him.
HOLLYWOOD AFRICANS, a nod to the 1983 Jean Michel Basquiat painting by the same title, is both an indictment and reclamation of the long history of discrimination faced by artists of color in the entertainment industry, and in American society at large. This record is a release from the pressures I've felt as a black musician, and an homage to the long lineage of ancestors before me who managed to create transcendent art while often being forced to wear a mask and to dim their lights. They tapped into their God-given gifts while under absurd duress, remixing the culture into a fuller, newer, better, more united one. They left us with superpowers-blues, rock and roll, boogie woogie, jazz, gospel, and so many more-all of which suffuse this record. Because of them, I don't have to wear a mask. I get to be who I am. QUOTE FROM JON BATISTE
On this record, I want us to bop, dance, laugh and cry together, unified as one people, while we also remember our black ancestral heroes and wield the superpowers they left us with. To be happy-as artists, as people-we have to identify the most authentic version of ourselves and to embrace it. Along with my fellow artists, I hope to write the next chapter of American Music. This is just the beginning.