An artist like no other, the whimsical melodies and jazz infused albums of Norah Jones blur the lines between pop, soul, and country, and have enchanted listeners ever since her big break in 2002, with the release of Come Away With Me. A smash hit, the album sold over 26 million copies and earned the singer 5 Grammy Awards, including Best New Artist, Album of the Year, and Song of the Year (“Don’t Know Why”), not bad for a debut!
Daughter to the sitar maestro Ravi Shankar and concert producer Sue Jones, Norah Jones is the product of a rich cultural heritage. After the separation of her parents, the young Norah (née Geetali Norah Jones Shankar) relocated to her mother’s home in Texas and changed her name. It was there, at the Brooker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas, Texas, that she began to nurture her interest in music, listening to records, singing in the school choir and at church, and playing the alto saxophone. A few years later, she would pursue music at the University of North Texas, where she majored in jazz piano and sang with the university Jazz singers, meeting her future collaborator Jesse Harris along the way.
Like so many aspiring young artists, Jones sought inspiration on a well-trod path, and headed to the bohemian musical mecca that is Greenwich Village in the Big Apple, to begin performing as a lounge singer in jazz clubs and writing her own material. It was then that she signed with Blue Note Records, her long time label, and got to work on her debut album, Come Away With Me. Following its resounding success, both with critics and the wider audience, she released Feels Like Home two years later in stunning fashion. Feels Like Home sold a million copies in the first week of its U.S release, becoming the first album to do so since Eminem’s The Eminem Show in 2002, and scooped up more grammys for the singer, including Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. In 2007, she returned to the top of the charts with Not Too Late and, never one to be pigeon-holed, also tried her hand at acting, appearing in the film My Blueberry Nights with Jude Law, Rachel Weisz and Natalie Portman.
After more releases in 2009 (The Fall) 2012 (Little Broken Hearts), and 2014 (No Fools, No Fun), as well as collaborations with fellow artists Dangermouse, Jack White and Daniele Luppi, Jones has continued to produce music with the same kind of intelligent and delicately crafted songwriting at its heart. So much more than a late-night crooner, for which she is most known, Norah Jones is arguably one of the greatest living artists of our time, combining mainstream appeal with critical success. Deservedly so.
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