Jon Batiste—the visionary Grammy and Academy Award-winning artist behind records like 2021's WE ARE and the soundtrack to Pixar’s 2020 film Soul—has found a powerful songwriting partner in Lana Del Rey.
Recently, Batiste stopped by The A.V. Club to talk about the two artists’ incredibly fruitful collaboration, which has already produced two tracks on Del Rey’s latest album, Did You Know That There’s A Tunnel Under Ocean Boulevard (“Candy Necklace” and the mostly instrumental “Jon Batiste Interlude”) and a third, “Life Lesson,” the closer to Batiste’s World Music Radio, which dropped in full today.
“Her songwriting process is really… it’s beast. It’s great. Amazing,” Batiste gushed to The A.V. Club.
The two work so well together, he said, because they employ a parallel creative technique. “Similar to the way that I’ll sit down at an instrument—mainly the piano or any sound of any instrument, if it grabs my attention—if I’m going the instrumental route and not the vocal route, it’s stream of consciousness,” he said. “[Lana] is like that in terms of narrative threads. Even if it’s abstract narrative threads, she’ll have an idea of a world, or a time and a place, or a person whose singing to another person, and she’ll spin out a song from that.”
“Now the way that we worked together is I would take her cue from that side of things, from the narrative side,” he explained. “Then I’m structuring the song based on the narrative thread that she’s delivering and the emotion of what I think that sounds like and adding sections if needed. So it’s like a real stream of consciousness.”
“It wasn’t something that we planned,” Batiste continued. “She was finishing her record (Tunnel) and I was starting my record. She came into the studio and then all of a sudden we started making a bunch of stuff. It was happening in real-time.”
This was good for Batiste, who also says the artists matched in both their hunger and drive to create. “It’s cool when you find somebody who creatively keeps pace and is complimentary,” he concluded. “I don’t like to ever be waiting in the studio or on the stage or in any creative environment. Constant motion.”
Jon Batiste’s new album World Music Radio is out everywhere now.