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.

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.

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."