Meet Larry Batiste: Musician, Producer, Conductor and Mentor
The thrill of having the ability and opportunity to communicate globally with an idea that started in my garage. The song is titled, “Call It What You Want,” co-written by Bill Summers and Kevin Toney of the Blackbyrds; recorded by Bill Summers & Summer’s Heat. [Top 20 Billboard R&B Charts 1981]. There was no stopping after this.
Musical Directing, Writing & Arranging: Directing the music for shows has placed me in a position to work with some of the most legendary and talented artists of all time. I work in all genres of music. The short list includes Al Jarreau, Patti Austin, The Stylistics, Ledisi, Stevie Wonder, Young Jeezy, Keyshia Cole, Steve Miller, Dweezil Zappa, Chaka Khan, Lenny Williams, Tony Bennett, Nancy Wilson, Trombone Shorty, Joe Satriani, Larry Carlton, Lalah Hathaway, Pinetop Perkins, Koko Taylor, Bob Weir, Khia, Orianthi, Steve Vai, Kim Burrell, Kelly Price, and Neil Young.
Charlie Wilson’s “You Are” – I co-arranged and co-produced the horns and strings on this song, along with my musical partner, Claytoven Richardson. This song remained #1 on the Urban AC charts for many weeks and was nominated for a Grammy for Best R&B Song in 2012.
What instruments do you play?
I studied various instruments in school such as violin, flute, brass instruments, as well as conducting. My main instrument is trombone and voice. I played trombone on many recordings, and my voice can be heard on various recordings and jingles. Some of them include movies like The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Stuart Little and Snow Dogs; and jingles for The California Raisins (“I Heard It Through The Grapevine”) and Wendy’s. I use the piano the write songs.
Talk about your involvement with the Grammy organization.
My association with The Recording Academy spans over 32 years. I am a member of the San Francisco Chapter. After joining, I soon realized that I didn’t see many urban events and decided to help produce an educational event that’s focused on R&B music. It was very successful and I became more involved as a volunteer as time went on. I went on to become Chapter President, Trustee and serve on many committees. For the past eight years, I have been musical director of the Grammy Awards Pre-Telecast.
I’m currently producing John Lee Hooker Jr., and a Jazz vocalist named Nicolas Bearde. I also have a book deal with Oxford University Press to write a book entitled, The Art & Business of Songwriting.
What’s the best thing about being Larry Batiste?
If I had to choose a word, it would be, “full.” Keeping the balance between family, work and volunteering is pretty much a full-life gig. I enjoy the privilege of being in a celebrity environment without the responsibility of being a celebrity. My volunteer service as a youth mentor and advocate for education and making life better for creators of music is just as robust and rewarding as my professional life. Last, but certainly not least, is my family with all of its joys and challenges. My belief in a higher power gives me the freedom to get out of the way, and not have the responsibility of managing and controlling it all.