Prior to music’s biggest night, Jon Batiste was the most nominated artist at the 64th annual Grammy Awards. He wound up taking home five wins including Album of the Year for We Are and became the first Black artist to win the coveted title in 14 years. Yet, that isn’t the only thing the NOLA-bred crooner is celebrating these days. The 35-year-old musician has revealed he is a newlywed.
After eight years, he and his partner, author Suleika Jaouad, got married on the night before she was scheduled for a bone marrow transplant. Jaouad is battling an aggressive form of leukemia. The transplant and news of his 11 nominations came at the same time, but the pair were determined to find their balance.
“It’s holding the absolutely, you know, gutting, heartbreaking, painful things and the beautiful, soulful things in the same palm of one hand,” said Jaouad to CBS Sunday Morning‘s Jim Axelrod. “And it’s hard to do that, but you have to do that because otherwise, the grief takes over.”
She confirmed their decision to wed despite their reality, “We are married. We’ve been secretly married until this moment. We had this tiny, beautiful, little ceremony. We didn’t have wedding bands; we used bread ties.” Batiste also eased his wife’s concerns that he was proposing because of her diagnosis when in actuality, he had been designing her ring for nearly a year.
Later in the interview, Jaouad reflected on a “lullaby” her husband wrote for her not only because of music’s “healing property” but also to keep her company in the midst of her isolated recovery due to the pandemic’s Omicron variant.
“The quiet moments of, kind of hollow suffering in the hospital where you suddenly sit with yourself and you sit with what’s happening to you—And I expressed something to that effect to Jon,” she said. “And next thing I know, I see him hunched over his computer. And half an hour later, he starts playing this lullaby. And every single day after that, he wrote me a new lullaby. And it felt like he was right there sleeping by my bedside.”
The bandleader on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert chimed in, “Yes, absolutely. And to fill the room with these healing properties. For me, that’s my way. Everybody will have their way, you know, but seek that. Meditate on that. Focus on those things. Find those things.”
Watch a clip of the newlyweds’ sitdown below and the televised interview here.