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Jon Batiste covers ‘InStyle’, talks spiritual roots in music, mentoring youth and more

Written by on September 18, 2023

Brad Ogbonna/InStyle

Jon Batiste let off some good vibrations in his Zoom call with InStyle for his recent cover spread. 

He chatted with the magazine about his latest album, World Music Radio, his time spent as a disruptor at the famed dance school Juilliard, his passion mentoring youth and the spirituality intertwined in his music. 

“I have countless stories of people telling me that the music was lifting them out of some of the darkest things. It helped them not to lose hope,” he said. “It was God saying, ‘Look at all of these people giving you evidence of why this is what you should be doing right now.'”

The Grammy winner said he recalled the moment he realized his artistry was much bigger than just the music.

“You’re creating, healing others and yourself — connecting to all of this ancestral wisdom,” he shared.

Batiste said creating World Music Radio, his seventh studio album, was an act of “taking something that was in my imagination and true to my soul, and making it a reality.” 

Outside of making genre-defying, chart-topping music, Batiste also finds joy in giving back to kids. He does so as a mentor at Brooklyn Music School and Jazz Standard Youth Orchestra.

“Kids are the future and our greatest resource, and we should mine their genius,” he said, adding, “We should invest in fulfilling all of the incredible things they have within them.”

For InStyle, Batiste also participated in a rapid-fire session-of-sorts, answering questions about his childhood crush Mary Tyler Moore, his favorite villain Black Panther’s Killmonger and more.

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