Poster Two people stand together for a portrait; one makes an "I love you" sign
Jon Batiste and his wife, Suleika Jaouad, attend the Telluride Film Festival in Telluride, Colorado.
Vivien Killilea/Getty Images
Rhapsody in Black

Grammy winner Jon Batiste recounts his life in 'American Symphony'

Rhapsody in Black - Jon Batiste

The day after Jon Batiste was handed the album of the year Grammy in 2022 was the culmination of a lot of things.

He had just received the biggest award in music from his mentor, Lenny Kravitz. It was a nice moment, but Batiste has never chased his accolades. In fact, he has a mantra: The end result is not as important as the process.

The day after that historic win, he spent the next three weeks sleeping on a hospital couch. That’s because his wife, New York Times columnist Suleika Jaouad, was receiving a bone marrow transplant for leukemia. The good news is she’s now cancer-free.

For Jon Batiste and his wife, life has been filled with both challenges and success. He’s been named one of Time’s most influential people, and you might have seen him in his previous role as band leader on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Now, he’s featured in the Netflix documentary American Symphony, which chronicles a year in the life of Batiste as he sets out to compose a symphony. It’s a portrait of two artists at a crossroads and a meditation on art, love and the creative process.


Host: Vernon Neal

Producer: Dan Nass

Writers: Andrea Blain and Scott Blankenship

Executive Producer: Julie Amacher

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About Rhapsody in Black

Where we turn up the voices of Black artists in the world of classical music, with host Vernon Neal.

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