Jon Batiste
D Dipasupil/Stringer

Jon Batiste is something of a musical prodigy.

He first performed with his family’s band when he was 8 years old, and nearly a decade later he would go on to self-release his first album, Times in New Orleans"There was a spiritual connection to the instrument," Batiste told The Root.

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Batiste attended the prestigious conservatory Juilliard in New York City and would go on to receive a master's degree in 2011. The multi-instrumentalist was mentored by Wynton Marsalis and played among the greats, including Lenny Kravitz and Prince. But Batiste’s big breakthrough was fairly recent. Less than a year ago, he became the music director and bandleader for The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.

All of this and the Louisiana native is only 29.

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We sat down with the effervescent star of late-night TV to discuss breakthroughs and personal and professional choices—and naturally, Batiste also shared some "food for thought."