By DARLENE SUPERVILLE, AP news
NANTUCKET, Mass. (AP) — Musician Jon Batiste is on tap to perform at President Joe Biden’s first White House state dinner on Thursday that will highlight long-standing ties between the United States and France and honor President Emmanuel Macron.
“An artist who transcends generations, Jon Batiste’s music inspires and brings people together,” said Vanessa Valdivia, a spokesperson for first lady Jill Biden, whose office is overseeing dinner preparations.
“We’re thrilled to have him perform at the White House for the first state dinner of the Biden-Harris administration,” Valdivia said.
The black-tie dinner for Macron will be part of what is shaping up to be a busy social season at the White House. The Bidens’ granddaughter Naomi was married on the South Lawn earlier this month. And first lady Jill Biden was set on Monday to unveil the White House decorations that will be viewed by thousands of holiday visitors over the next month.
Reporters returning to the White House on Sunday with the president saw large wreaths studded with shiny Christmas tree ornaments and red bows suspended from the south side of the White House. Wreaths also were hung on the Pennsylvania Avenue side of the building. White lights were draped over the shrubs and other landscaping on the South Lawn. A Christmas tree could be seen through the windows of the Oval Office.
Batiste will be adding White House entertainer to an already long list of roles, including recording artist, bandleader, musical director, film composer, museum creative director and scion of New Orleans musical royalty.
He won five Grammy Awards this year, including for album of the year for “We Are.” During the awards show in April, Batiste ended his dance-filled performance of “Freedom” by jumping up on Billie Eilish’s table.
Batiste, 36, most recently was bandleader and musical director of “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” leaving the broadcast after a seven-year run.
Batiste composed music, consulted on and arranged songs for Pixar’s animated film “Soul.” He won a Golden Globe for the music alongside Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross of Nine Inch Nails. The trio also earned the Academy Award for best original score. For their work on “Soul,” Batiste, Reznor and Ross won the Grammy for best score soundtrack for visual media.
The Washington Post was first to report that Batiste will perform at the dinner.