The singer and Late Show bandleader's We Are beat out releases from Billie Eilish, Lil Nas X, Olivia Rodrigo, Taylor Swift, and Kanye West to take the top prize of the evening.

Jon Batiste walked away with the coveted Album of the Year trophy at the 64th Grammy Awards Sunday night for his eighth studio album, We Are.

The singer and Late Show With Stephen Colbert bandleader and musical director beat out a formidable crop of recent releases that included Tony Bennett 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, and Kanye West's Donda.

The win was Batiste's fifth of the evening, after he snagged the awards for Best Music Video for his song "Freedom"; Best American Roots Performance and Best American Roots Song for "Cry"; and Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media for the animated film Soul, which he wrote with Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.

Jon Batiste
Jon Batiste with his five statues at the 64th Annual Grammy Awards
| Credit: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Batiste went into the awards with the most nominations of any artist, having snagged an impressive 11 nods. He was also up for Record of the Year (for "Freedom"), Best Traditional R&B Performance (for "I Need You"), Best R&B Album (for We Are), Best Improvised Jazz Solo (for "Bigger Than Us"), Best Jazz Instrumental Album (for Jazz Selections: Music From and Inspired by Soul), Best American Roots Performance (for "Cry"), Best American Roots Song (also for "Cry"), Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media (for Soul), Best Contemporary Classical Composition (for "Batiste: Movement 11'"), and Best Music Video (for "Freedom").

The list of 2022 nominees for Album of the Year was the largest in Grammys history, after the Recording Academy expanded its four general field categories — Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Album of the Year, and Best New Artist — in November to include 10 nominees each.

Jon Batiste
Jon Batiste accepts the Album of the Year award for 'We Are' at the 64th Annual Grammy Awards.
| Credit: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

Batiste looked surprised and humbled as he took to the stage to accept the award for We Are, an album that tackles the COVID-19 pandemic and Batiste's involvement in Black Lives Matter protests after the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. Rather than focusing on his own journey and career, he spoke to the power of music in general.

"I believe this to my core: There is no best musician, best artist, best dancer, best actor," he said. "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."

He also paid respect to his fellow nominees, saying, "I actually love and have had out-of-body experiences with your music. I honor you."

"This is for real artists, real musicians," he concluded. "Let's just keep going: Be you."

The 64th Grammy Awards took place Sunday, April 3, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas and were broadcast live on CBS.

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