NEW YORK (PIX11) —  Even before sitting down to talk about his celebrated achievements, musical genius Jon Batiste made a stop at the piano.  

When it comes to making music, he sees colors sometimes, visions many a time and crazy stories, he said in an interview with PIX11 News. Batiste will be joining the cast of the film adaptation of the 2005 musical “The Color Purple.”

Batiste did a few of Spike Lee’s films and a few of David Simon’s “Treme,” which is filmed in New Orleans, but this will be his feature film acting debut, in the supporting role of “Grady.” 

He got a call from record producer Quincy Jones who helped with his “We Are” album and has been a mentor for the last decade. Jones had his hand in the original adaptation, but this time, he really wanted someone who can play this role and incorporate some of his music into the soundtracks.  ‘

Batiste will be joining a star-studded cast, which includes Danielle Brooks and Taraji P. Henson. He says the film is a canon of American culture for Black America and it’s a canon of culture that each generation gets to experience. Viewers see him nightly on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” but the depth and breadth of the composer and educator go far beyond the bandstand.  

On winning five Grammys, Batiste says “it was more of a feeling of affirmation that we made all the right decisions; it was this feeling of, ‘Wow, that is really the power of trusting yourself and knowing that you are enough.’” 

Even before winning those five statuettes, he took home a statue called Oscar for best score in the animated musical “Soul.” Whether it was about the pandemic or social unrest, when everything was fraying at the edges, he says the film really spoke to the deeper question; it connected to people of all ages when we really needed it. He arranged, composed and performed songs for the soundtrack, bringing to life a remarkable story narrated with the sounds of modern jazz. 

“It is an incredible legacy of putting this music, jazz, this sound, this celestial, transcendental feeling into the world,” Batiste said.

He also believes it’s healing and educational, and at the same time, it’s entertaining. He gets inspired by moments and people — the creative process of experiencing life and translating that into music.

Batiste is still inspired by a moment with Andrea Bocelli when he was a guest on his show at MSG in December. He was also inspired to compose a symphony that has been four years in the making. It debuts at Carnegie Hall on May 7.

He played a part of his composition during the interview.

“If you imagine that with 200 musicians, folk singers, guitar players, marching band players, jazz players, classical musicians, electronic musicians, poets, all these people on stage,” Batiste said.

That is what his vision of a 21st-century orchestral symphony would be.