Music man Jon Batiste on the song that soothed his soul, the life advice he got from Prince — and how Madonna made him perform a live set … at 4 a.m.

Grammy-winning musician Jon Batiste has been to a few places, seen a few things and knows a few people, and on tonight’s episode of Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen, he was more than happy to share a few of those things.

For example, when asked by host Cohen what his favorite summer 2023 jam was, without hesitation, he answered Beyonce’s “Break My Soul,” but not necessarily because it has a great beat and you can dance to it.

“I was on a helicopter,” said Batiste. “I don’t like helicopters, and I needed some emotional comfort. The helicopter ride was three hours (roundtrip). Looking around, you can’t see anything but the ocean. And I’m not a great swimmer. I put on the headphones, and I listened to “Break My Soul” — probably 56, 57 times!”

Sound advice the next time you find yourself on a three-hour, transoceanic helicopter ride.

And speaking of good advice, Batiste shared the greatest he ever got from the late, legendary Prince, back in 2010 when Batiste was a young musician early in his career and on tour with the Purple One. And it was almost as confoundingly concise as the “plastics” admonition Mr. McGuire famously gives young Benjamin in The Graduate. For Prince, the sole bon mot he offered up to Batiste: Privacy. “That was his musical advice and life advice. I was a kid. I was about 19 or 20, so I wasn’t having a dialogue with Prince. I was with Prince,” he said with a chuckle, “but it wasn’t like we were having a conversation. But whenever we did speak, I tried to get some nuggets of wisdom out of him. And he said, “Privacy,” and I remember that because he was talking about more than just music.”

Finally, as a musician, Batiste had plenty to say about, well, music. And one standout anecdote involved the Oscar party he performed at for Madonna. “The best part,” said Batiste, “was hearing from people the next day—and still to this day—that ‘You woke me up … at 4 a.m.” He explained how people were so angry at having been made to wait that long, but that Batiste’s performance totally turned the night around. “It was supposed to be at midnight,” he said, “but M (goes to her own time).”

Jon, the next time Madonna makes you stay up until almost sunrise to go onstage, may we suggest you de-stress to a few spins of “Break My Soul”?

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