So exciting! During Stephen Colbert’s first night as host of ‘The Late Show,’ his bandleader, Jonathan Batiste, also made his big debut. Here’s some important things you should know about the young musician!
Jonathan Batiste, 28, really impressed in his first night as leader of Stephen Colbert’s house band on their first episode of The Late Show! The young bandleader had big shoes to fill when he replaced Paul Shaffer, who worked on the network with Dave Letterman for more than 30 years — and he looks like he’s well on his way. Check out five fun facts about the up-and-comer!
1. He’s in a band.
Jon began performing throughout New York City with two of his friends beginning in 2005, and a few years later, they added a fourth member to their group, which they named Stay Human. The band recorded an entire album — which you can buy here — on running NYC Subways in 2011, and has been known for their impromptu performances and engagement with audiences. They performed on The Colbert Report in 2014, which is when Jon met Stephen and they formed an instant connection.
2. He’s had great music education.
After growing up in Louisiana and taking an interest in music beginning from the young age of eight, Jon attended the New Orleans Center Of Creative Arts and graduated in 2004. From there, he went on to study at the Juilliard School, which is arguably the most prestigious learning centers for musicians. He received his Masters from the school in 2011.
3. He’s also done some acting.
Jon appeared in two seasons of the HBO series Treme, and was also cast in a Spike Lee film called Red Hook Summer, in which he plays a musician who’s also a cab driver and becomes the main character’s confidante throughout their drives together.
4. He’s worked with some artists you’ve probably heard of!
The 28-year-old already has collaborations with Harry Connick Jr., Aloe Blacc, Jimmy Buffett, Prince and many more under his belt, and now that he’s on this MAJOR new platform, there’s no telling who will come along next!
5. He has plans to totally redefine the role of a late night TV bandleader.
Jon may still be easing into things now, but with a five-year contract, he already has big plans for his new job. “I’ve been working on my comedy,” he admitted in an interview before the premiere. “I’m talking to Stephen about improv, talking to Jason Sudeikis, trying to get as much coaching as possible.” He’s also planning on leaving two seats open in his band for a plethora of rotating musicians to come by and join the group on the show. Sweet!
HollywoodLifers, do you think Jonathan is a good addition to the show?
— Alyssa Norwin