By Deepa Lakshmin
Jon Batiste’s We Are. Tony Bennet and Lady Gaga’s Love For Sale. Justin Bieber’s Justice (Triple Chucks Deluxe). Doja Cat’s Planet Her (Deluxe). Billie Eilish’s Happier Than Ever. H.E.R.’s Back of My Mind. Lil Nas X’s Montero. Olivia Rodrigo’s Sour. Taylor Swift’s Evermore. Kanye West’s Donda.
The Recording Academy nominated all of the above for Album of the Year at the 64th Grammy Awards, and though Jon Batiste ultimately took home one of the night’s most coveted Gramophones, he wants the audience to know there are no superlatives when it comes to art. In fact, as you can see in the video below, he appeared genuinely confused when presenter Lenny Kravitz revealed the winner on Sunday (April 3) at Las Vegas’s MGM Grand Garden Arena. Of course, that shock gave away to pure joy soon after.
“I believe this to my core: There is no best musician, best artist, best dancer, best actor,” Batiste said after taking the stage for his acceptance speech. “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 almost has a radar to find the person when they need it the most.”
Batiste led the 2022 Grammy nominations with a whopping 11 nods, including Record of the Year for “Freedom,” which he performed earlier in the night. His energizing set started with a piano, included backup dancers galore decked out in multicolor suits, and ended with him dancing on Billie Eilish’s table, as one does.
“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,” he continued, shouting out his family members and hugging producer Ryan Lynn for helping him with We Are. “I didn’t do it by myself.”
He went on to thank his fellow nominees, spreading positivity to the whole crowd: “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, that’s it. I love you even if I don’t know you! Goodnight!” Find all the winners here.