Jon Batiste has had a momentous year. The Louisianna native took home five awards at the 64th Grammy Awards, including the coveted Album of the Year (We Are). He was the most-nominated and most-awarded artist of the night.
Batiste says he’s still processing that milestone. “I think it takes a minute to process the work, let alone recognition for the work on the highest level,” he tells Rated R&B.
“You think about putting your work out into the world — it’s this meticulous, painstaking process of bearing your soul. For it to be received on such a level and to see an incredible response, I felt like it’s hard to process, let alone think about what that means for what I create next.”
TIME also named Batiste as one of the world’s most influential people of 2022, joining the likes of Mary J. Blige and Oprah Winfrey. Later this year, Batiste will make his Carnegie Hall debut with American Symphony.
As Batiste gears up for his highly anticipated performance, the Oscar-winning singer/musician has partnered with Amazon for its Prime Day campaign. (Amazon Prime Day is July 12-July 13.)
For the campaign, Batiste reimagined Billy Ocean’s 1988 hit “Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car” and filmed an accompanying music video.
In Rated R&B’s interview with Jon Batiste, the award-winning musician/singer talks more about Amazon Prime Day, creating “Get Into My Cart,” his next project and more.
How did you team up with Amazon for its Prime Day campaign?
I have some great friends, now collaborators, who are in the building there. When [the idea] landed on my desk, I was really excited about doing some musical collaboration with Billy Ocean’s song because I’m a fan of Billy. I read the deck, and it had this comedic element to it. [We had] one week to put it all together from the time we decided to do it. I’m obviously used to that with film and TV. I just started to dream up what I could do and how I wanted to approach it. We made it happen, and it was a beautiful collaboration.
What inspired the idea to reimagine Billy Ocean’s “Get Into My Car” to “Get Into My Cart”?
It’s a great play on words. The video itself is also spot-on for [how] we wanted to do [our] video. When you watch his original video and then you watch what we did, it’s almost parody. It feels amazing how it all came together for what we’re trying to push people towards, which is this Prime Day. I think it worked out great.
Speaking of Prime Day, what three items do you plan to get?
I have a lot of stuff that I get consistently. I’m always getting books, CDs and even vinyl. I’m still one of those people who collect CDs. But I probably would get a moisturizer like cocoa butter. Also, I’m one of those people who loves to look at posters. I don’t buy a lot of posters, but if I find something I like, I’ll get it.
TIME recently named you as one of the world’s most people. How do you view your influence?
I think there’s a real opportunity to give people a wider cultural palette, musically. Even when I think about R&B and I think about the history, the incredible pioneers of R&B and what it has evolved into today and how it’s continuing to evolve into the future, there’s just so much culture that we’ve maybe lost touch with. We don’t think about or connect with, and it’s just awesome. You can reintroduce it to the next generation and you can connect the dots between past, present and future. I have this incredible opportunity in the culture to do that on so many levels. It’s a beautiful thing, not only for culture but for what it will inspire in the next generation.
Have you started working on a follow-up to We Are?
I always work on things year-round. I’m someone who gets up with melodies and I’ll document it — put it on a recorder, my phone or whatever it is that I have and the next project emerges from that. I’m living a creative life. I’m walking around and I’m processing the world through creativity and all these things happen in the world that make you want to create. Eventually, an album emerges from all of that. I let it tell me when it’s ready. I don’t force it. There’s no real authentic art that can come from forcing. You gotta just let it come to you.
How do you know when to pull yourself out of that creative moment to package it as an album? How do you know when it’s time to share it with the world?
Great question. It’s so interesting. It’s a mystery every time. I’m still trying to figure that out myself. I think it has something to do with what we were talking about with culture how there may be a void in culture that you feel called to fill. It feels like you’re being pulled in a direction to put a project out that fills this void because it feels needed.
It’s almost like you’re a doctor and you see the remedy to heal somebody, except that somebody is culture. There’s a knowing that you have. It’s hard to explain it. I see when artists make incredible albums and it changes direction. I saw that with my friend Leon Bridges with his first album [Coming Home]. Or you see it with Beyoncé. She just put out the single “Break My Soul” [and] it feels like music that people are missing. People collectively have this feeling that they want this thing and they don’t know how to say it, and you say it.
Is there anything else coming up that you’re excited about?
Yes. Besides this great collaboration for Prime Day, I’m honored to have this incredible collaboration with Oprah [Winfery], Steven Spielberg and Quincy Jones for The Color Purple musical film that’s coming up. We are wrapping up filming, which will come out next year. Later this year, I’m collaborating with some incredible musicians for my American Symphony premiere at Carnegie Hall, which a lot of the musicians who I collaborated with for the symphony are featured on the track “Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Cart.”
We’ve been working on the symphony for the last three years and this is a real mix of musicians. It’s not just classical musicians, it’s electronic musicians, marching band musicians and Native American musicians. It’s all types of really incredible artists and culture bearers that are redefining what it means to put a symphony together and what it means to listen to it. That experience is gonna be completely redefined. That’s an exciting project that I’m looking forward to this fall.
Watch Jon Batiste’s “Get Into My Cart” commercial for Amazon Prime below.