The Late Show with Stephen Colbert musical director turned up the party with a thrilling and colorful rendition of “FREEDOM” from his 2021 studio set We Are, beginning the number seated at the piano cloaked in a dramatic black cape. As the song gained momentum, he disrobed to reveal a sparkling turquoise suit, joyfully singing, “When I move my body just like this/ I don’t know why/ But I feel like freedom/ I hear a song that takes me back/ And I let go with so much freedom/ Free to live how I wanna live/ I’m gon’ get what I’m gonna get/ ‘Cause it’s my freedom” as he danced around stage.
Eventually, the onstage dance party spilled out into the audience with Batiste jumping onto Billie Eilish’s table and punctuating the final notes of the song by literally dropping the mic — much to the pop sensation’s delight.
The New Orleans-raised jazz pianist and musical director was the night’s most celebrated musician with 11 nominations including Album of the Year and Best R&B Album for WE ARE, Record of the Year (for “Freedom”), and Best Traditional R&B Performance (for “I Need You”). Batiste is also looking to add a Grammy accolade to his Oscar-winning composition for Pixar’s Soul, shared with Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, in the Best Score Soundtrack category.
Ahead of the telecast, the multi-hyphenate had already taken home four golden gramophones for Best American Roots Performance and Best American Roots Song (both for “Cry”) as well as Best Music Video (for “Freedom”) and Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media (for Soul, in a rare tie with Carlos Rafael Rivera’s The Queen’s Gambit).
This was not Batiste’s first time on-stage at the Grammy’s; he jammed alongside Gary Clark Jr. and Stay Human drummer Joe Saylor for a Fats Domino and Chuck Berry tribute in 2018. See the performance and learn more about the 2022 Grammy’s leading artist here.
Beyond his nightly appearances on The Late Show, Batiste will host a special artist showcase at New York’s Carnegie Hall on Saturday, May 7th. You can book your spot via Ticketmaster.
The 2022 Grammys also featured performances from Silk Sonic, Billie Eilish, BTS, Olivia Rodrigo, Brandi Carlile, and Lil Nas X, among others. Check out the full list of winners here, and find our full coverage here.
— °1824 (@1824Official) April 4, 2022