Norah Jones is a singer, songwriter and pianist. She has won multiple awards and has sold more than 50 million records worldwide. Billboard named her the top jazz artist of the 2000s decade. She has won nine Grammy Awards and was ranked 60th on Billboard magazine’s artists of the 2000s decade chart.
In 2002, Jones launched her solo music career with the release of Come Away with Me, which was a fusion of jazz with country, blues, folk and pop. It was certified Diamond, selling over 27 million copies. The record earned Jones five Grammy Awards, including the Album of the Year, Record of the Year, and Best New Artist. Her subsequent studio albums — Feels Like Home, released in 2004, Not Too Late, released in 2007, and 2009’s The Fall all gained Platinum status, selling over a million copies each. They were also generally well received by critics. Jones’s fifth studio album, Little Broken Hearts, was released on April 27, 2012; her sixth, Day Breaks, was released on October 7, 2016. Her seventh studio album, Pick Me Up Off the Floor, was released on June 12, 2020. Jones made her feature film debut as an actress in My Blueberry Nights, which was released in 2007 and was directed by Wong Kar-Wai.
Jones is the daughter of Indian sitar master and composer Ravi Shankar and concert producer Sue Jones, and is the half-sister of fellow musicians Anoushka Shankar and Shubhendra Shankar.
Born: Manhattan, New York, USA
Genre: Jazz, Pop, Folk, Country
Jones was born Geethali Norah Jones Shankar on March 30, 1979 in Manhattan, New York, to American concert producer Sue Jones and Bengali musician Ravi Shankar.
After her parents separated in 1986, Jones lived with her mother, growing up in Grapevine, Texas. She attended Colleyville Middle School and Grapevine High School before transferring to Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas. Her music took its first form early on in the local Methodist Church where she regularly sang solos. While in high school, she sang in the school choir, participated in band, and played the alto saxophone. At the age of 16, with both parents’ consent, she officially changed her name to Norah Jones.
Jones always had an affinity for the music of Bill Evans and Billie Holiday, among other “oldies”. She once said, “My mom had this eight-album Billie Holiday set; I picked out one disc that I liked and played that over and over again”.
As a child, Jones began singing in church and also took piano and voice lessons. She still attends church. She considers herself spiritual and appreciates the rituals of her church but does not consider herself deeply religious.
She attended Interlochen Center for the Arts during the summers. While at high school, she won the Down Beat Student Music Awards for Best Jazz Vocalist (twice, in 1996 and 1997) and Best Original Composition (1996)
Jones attended the University of North Texas (UNT), where she majored in jazz piano and sang with the UNT Jazz Singers. During this time, she had a chance meeting with future collaborator Jesse Harris. She gave a ride to a band playing at the university whose members happened to be friends of Harris. He was on a cross-country road trip with friend and future Little Willies member Richard Julian, and stopped to see the band play. After meeting Jones, Harris started sending her lead sheets of his songs.
In 1999, Jones left Texas for New York City. Less than a year later, she started a band with Harris, and her recordings with them were bestsellers.
Jones was a lounge singer before becoming a recording artist. Before releasing her first album, she performed with Wax Poetic, Peter Malick, and jazz guitarist Charlie Hunter.
As Peter Malick states in the liner notes, “I started looking for a singer who might be open to recording [my latest songs] for me. On a Tuesday night, I walked into the Living Room just as the singer announced the last song of the set. The Dinah Washington classic ‘Since I Fell for You’ filled the room and I was struck breathless. Here, in the tradition of Billie Holiday, was a stunningly beautiful, blues infused voice. This was my first contact with Norah Jones.” Malick asked her to participate in sessions at Room 9 from Outer Space in South Boston, Massachusetts during August and September 2000. They recorded Malick’s songs “New York City”, “Strange Transmissions”, “Deceptively Yours” and “Things You Don’t Have to Do” in addition to cover versions of “All Your Love” by Sam Maghett and “Heart of Mine” by Bob Dylan. These songs became the album New York City (Koch, 2003) by the Peter Malick Group Featuring Norah Jones.
After moving to New York City, Jones signed to Blue Note, a label owned by EMI Group. The signing came as an indirect result of her performing as lead singer for the JC Hopkins Biggish Band. Shell White, who was the wife of J. C. Hopkins, worked for EMI Publishing and gave Jones’s three-track demo to Bruce Lundvall, the label’s president, and Brian Bacchus, its artists and repertoire agent (A&R). The demo contained two jazz standards and a song by Jesse Harris. The two executives agreed that Jones had potential. Despite their misgivings about the direction of her music, they signed her to the label. Bacchus told HitQuarters, “We let her find her own direction…We knew that if she could develop her songwriting and we could find great songs, it would work.”
Bacchus thought producer and engineer Jay Newland’s experience in jazz, blues, rock, country, and folk music would give a “feeling for her sound.” Jones and Newland recorded nine demo tracks. Four appeared on the sampler First Sessions (2001). The rest were set aside for her debut album.
Come Away with Me (2002) was praised for its blend of acoustic pop with soul and jazz. Debuting at No. 139, it reached No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard 200. The single “Don’t Know Why” hit No. 1 on the Top 40 Adult Recurrents in 2003 and No. 30 in the Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart.
At the 45th Grammy Awards in 2003, Jones was nominated for eight Grammy Awards and won five: Best New Artist, Album of the Year, Best Pop Vocal Album, Record of the Year, and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for “Don’t Know Why”. This tied Lauryn Hill and Alicia Keys for most Grammy Awards received by a female artist in one night. Jesse Harris won Song of the Year for “Don’t Know Why” while Arif Mardin won Producer of the Year. The album won Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical. Come Away with Me was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for having sold one million copies. In February 2005, it was certified diamond for selling ten million copies.
Feels Like Home (2004) debuted at No. 1 in at least 16 countries. At the 47th Grammy Awards in 2005, the album was nominated for three Grammys, winning one, Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for “Sunrise”. For “Here We Go Again”, a duet with Ray Charles, she won Record of the Year and Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals. Time magazine named Jones one of the most influential people of 2004.
Jones released her third album, Not Too Late, on January 30, 2007. The album was the first for which she wrote or co-wrote every song. She has said some of these songs are much darker than those on her previous albums. Not Too Late was mostly recorded at Jones’ home studio. It is her first album without producer Arif Mardin, who died in the summer of 2006. Jones described the sessions as “fun, relaxed and easy” and without a deadline; Blue Note executives reportedly did not know she was recording an album. The song “My Dear Country” is political commentary; she wrote it before the United States Presidential Election Day in 2004.
Not Too Late reached the No. 1 position in twenty countries. Not Too Late had the third-best first week of sales in 2007, behind Avril Lavigne’s The Best Damn Thing and Linkin Park’s Minutes to Midnight. It reached No. 1 in the U.S., selling 405,000 copies. EMI announced that Not Too Late reached gold, platinum or multi-platinum in 21 countries as of February 2007. The album has sold 4 million copies worldwide. That same year she sang “American Anthem” for the Ken Burns documentary The War.
Jones made her film debut in 2007 in the romance/drama film My Blueberry Nights, directed by Wong Kar Wai, co-starring Jude Law, David Strathairn, Rachel Weisz and Natalie Portman. Jones as Elizabeth is a young woman who goes on a soul-searching journey across the US to resolve her questions about love, and finds along the way a series of curious characters. The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2007 and in the United States in April 2008.
Jones’ fourth studio album, The Fall, debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 in November 2009, selling 180,000 copies in its first week. Although it was her first album that did not reach No. 1 in the United States it did receive critical acclaim. As part of the promotional drive for the album, Jones performed on Dancing with the Stars, Late Show with David Letterman, Good Morning America and other television programs.
The Fall featured a St. Bernard on the cover; his name is Ben. The album’s lead single, “Chasing Pirates”, peaked at No. 13 on Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks and No. 7 on Jazz Songs.
Billboard’s 2000–2009 decade awards ranked Jones as the top jazz recording artist, at No. 60 best Artist. Come Away With Me was elected the No. 4 album and No. 1 jazz album. Jones earned a platinum certification by the RIAA for sales of 1 million copies of The Fall. The album sold 1.5 million copies worldwide and was certified gold or platinum in 14 countries as of 2010. “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”, a duet with Willie Nelson, was nominated in the Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals category.
In 2009, Jones performed “Come Away With Me” and “Young Blood” at the end of the Apple Inc.’s It’s Only Rock and Roll press conference on September 9 in San Francisco, for the release of iTunes 9 and video camera-equipped iPods, among other items. She also made a guest appearance and performed with other artists on the season three finale of the NBC series 30 Rock
Jones started her fourth world tour on March 5, 2010.
Jones released …Featuring, a compilation album of collaborations she has done with well-known musicians, including the Foo Fighters, Willie Nelson, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Outkast, Q-Tip, Talib Kweli, Belle and Sebastian, Ray Charles, Ryan Adams, Dolly Parton, Herbie Hancock, M. Ward, and others. Jones said, “It’s so exciting and flattering and fun when I get asked to sing with somebody that I admire…. It takes you a little bit out of your comfort zone when you’re doing something with another artist. You don’t know what to expect—it’s kind of like being a little kid and having a playdate.” The 18-track Blue Note disc was released on November 16, 2010.
Jones recorded a Christmas duet, “Home for the Holidays”, with Cyndi Lauper.
As a tribute to Steve Jobs, Jones appeared on the Apple Campus in October 2011, performing “Nearness of You” and “Painter Song.” She finished her live, three-song set by performing Bob Dylan’s “Forever Young” in honor of Jobs, because “he liked Bob Dylan”.
Biographical information courtesy of Wiki; for more reading see link below.
Norah Jones (with Wynton Marsalis) – You Don’t Know Me
Bonnie Raitt & Norah Jones _ Tennessee Waltz