▶ Watch Video: Jon Batiste and Suleika Jaouad sharing life beyond cancer

“Freedom” artist Jon Batiste started and ended the 2022 Grammy Awards with a bang, taking home the night’s biggest award of Album of the Year. 

Batiste, who is the bandleader and musical director of the “Late Show with Stephen Colbert” nabbed the golden statue for his work on the 2021 studio album “WE ARE.” He was the most nominated artist in 2022, with 11 nods for his many musical projects, including the animated film “Soul.”

“I believe this to my core, there is no best musician, best artist, best dancer, best actor,” he said, accepting his award in what appeared to be a state of shock. “The creative arts are subjective and they reach people at a point in their lives when they need it most. It’s like a song or an album is made and it almost has a radar to find the person when they need it the most.”

Batiste is the first Black artist to win Album of the Year in 14 years. In 2008, Herbie Hancock won a Grammy for his work on “River: The Joni Letters.”

“I love you even if I don’t know you! Good night!” he said at the end of his speech.   

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – APRIL 03: Jon Batiste performs onstage during the 64th Annual GRAMMY Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 03, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for The Recording Academy)

Kevin Mazur

In addition to performing his hit song “Freedom,” Batiste won four Grammys before the televised portion of the show even began.

The joyous celebration comes at time of creation during great struggles, according to Batiste. Earlier this week, he and the love of his life, author Suleika Jaouad, revealed in an exclusive interview with CBS News that they were secretly married. Jaouad, a luekemia survivor, also revealed that her cancer had come back in an agressive form and required a bone marrow transplant. 

Even though Batiste couldn’t be with Jaouad following the transplant due to COVID-19 restrictions, the two decided to get married in a secret ceremony the night before her surgery. 

“It’s an act of defiance,” Batiste said. “The darkness will try to overtake you, but just turn on the light. Focus on the light. Hold onto the light.”