Jon Batiste is an albums artist through and through, and spoke with Billboard News to prove it. The Grammy award winner sat down with Billboard in the latest episode of the program to discuss his latest project, World Music Radio, and to divulge his approach to success in light of being a highly decorated artist.
Speaking of World Music Radio — which was released on Friday, Aug. 18 — Batiste revealed that he worked with producer Jon Bellion on the project, which allowed several unintentional themes to make its way into the record.
“Water is a theme in the album. There’s many different themes that recur, and we didn’t even really realize when we were making it, some of the themes were subliminal,” the five-time Grammy winner told Carl Lamarre, Billboard‘s deputy director of R&B/hip-hop. “I was working with the great Jon Bellion…he had this thing for his son for in terms in living life and the world’s crazy and just the idea of self care, being in the world living your life, sometimes you just gotta take pause. And relating that to my life and the thing we’ve been trough and all the stuff we’re trying to create in this album is a mantra.”
Creating a new body of work, following the success of his 2021 effort WE ARE (which earned him four out of his five total Grammys) could seem like a daunting task, but Batiste revealed that the accolades do not factor into his approach to making music.
“I really make bodies of work. The singles are crazy, that’s important, but I’m a top to bottom album artist. I create bodies of work and I create worlds that you immerse yourself in, so that requires people who not only know how to connect to what’s in the culture and reinvent it and make it our own, but also speak to it through my voice and understand that there’s a world that’s being built that’s bigger than just me,” he explained.
Batiste added that instead of the pressure coming from “trying to outdo any public perception or even in awards,” it comes from wanting to “build something that’s even more bespoke, even truer to my artistry that takes everything that I’ve done so far, synthesizes it and adds to it.”
World Music Radio, preceded by singles “Calling Your Name” and “Drink Water,” is available to stream now.
Listen to Batiste’s full interview with Billboard in the video above.