Grammy Front-Runner Jon Batiste Wins Album of the Year

Jon Batiste accepts the Album of the Year award for "We Are" at the 64th Annual Grammy Awards on Sunday at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

Jon Batiste accepts the Album of the Year award for “We Are” at the 64th Annual Grammy Awards on Sunday at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Johnny Nunez/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

Singer-songwriter Jon Batiste won Album of the Year at the 64th Annual Grammy Awards on Sunday. The Louisiana-bred composer was the front-runner at the ceremony, amassing 11 nominations, ultimately competing with Michael Jackson and Santana (but falling three short) for the most Grammys in one night.

“I believe this to my core. There is no best musician, best artist, best dancer, best actor,” said the bandleader of “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.” “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 album is made and it almost has a radar to meet someone when they need it the most.”

Earlier in the evening, Batiste won four other awards. His song “Cry” earned him honors for Best American Roots Performance and Best American Roots song, while “Freedom” nabbed the top spot in Best Music Video.

His work on the Pixar movie “Soul” won in a tie for Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media, sharing the category with Carlos Rafael Rivera for “The Queen’s Gambit.” Batiste had also won the Oscar last week for his original score for “Soul.”

Batiste beat out fierce competition in the Album of the Year category, rising above Olivia Rodrigo’s “Sour,” Kanye West’s “Donda,” Taylor Swift’s “Evermore,” H.E.R.’s “Back of My Mind,” Lil Nas X’s “Montero,” Doja Cat’s “Planet Her,” Justin Bieber’s “Justice,” Billie Eilish’s “Happier Than Ever,” and Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga’s “Love for Sale.”

Batiste performed “Freedom” shortly before winning his fifth Grammy. He is the first Black artist to win Album of the Year in 14 years. In 2008, jazz-pianist Herbie Hancock won for “River: The Joni Letters.”

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