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Jon Batiste to perform at President Biden's first state dinner

 UPI News logo: MainLogo UPI News 11/28/2022 Tonya Pendleton

Nov. 28 (UPI) -- The Bidens are hosting their first White House dinner and they've invited a Grammy winner to perform for it.

Jon Batiste, whose 11 Grammy nominations across seven categories set a record, will perform for the Bidens and Emmanuel Macron, the French president.

The dinner will take place Thursday.

Batiste announced the performance on his social media accounts.

"From Kenner to the White House," his caption read.

Baptiste is a native of Kenner, La. The singer/songwriter won five Grammys this year after being nominated in categories including R&B, jazz, classical, and roots music. His album, We Are won Album of the Year.

"It's so much I'm still processing it. First off, the fact that my family is there to witness that is incredible. It's incredible. Just so much went into that moment. Piano lessons, civil rights marches," Batiste told Stephen Colbert in a post-Grammy interview.

Batiste, 36, led the band for the Late Show with Stephen Colbert for the last seven years. He departed in August to more fully pursue music.

"Sharp-eyed viewers may have noticed that Jon hasn't been here this summer," Colbert announced. "Jon has decided to leave the show... But it's for all the best reasons, including to continue to share his art with the world."

Colbert continued, "We've been so lucky to have a front-row seat to Jon's incredible talent for the last seven years. Will we miss him here? 'Yeah!' But we're happy for you, Jon, and I can't wait to have you on as a guest with your next hit record."

Unless they host a flurry of dinners in the next year, the Biden are on track for the fewest of any modern American presidency. By contrast, the Trump administration held the fewest overall with just two. The Obamas held 12 over their time in the White House while the Clintons held the most with 29 over their eight-year term, per The Washington Post.

"President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden will host President Emmanuel Macron and Mrs. Brigitte Macron of France for a State Visit to the United States, which will include a state dinner, on December 1, 2022," said a statement issued by the White House. "This will be the first State Visit of the Biden-Harris Administration. It will underscore the deep and enduring relationship between the United States and France, our oldest ally, that is founded on our shared democratic values, economic ties, and defense and security cooperation. The leaders will discuss our continued close partnership on shared global challenges and areas of bilateral interest."

Despite all the accolades he's received this year, Batiste has had some setbacks. He and his wife, journalist and author Suleika Jaouad, 32, announced last November that her cancer had returned. She was first diagnosed with leukemia 10 years ago. The couple tied the knot in February.

"We built something very, very special. It's the combination of both of us," Batiste told People. His song, "Show Me the Way" is dedicated to Jaouad. "It's the perfect blend of all of our experiences together, and all of our ancestral experiences coming together. And it's amazing that we have that in the midst of this time."

 

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