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- Geethali Norah Jones Shankar
- Brooklyn USA
- United States
- Actress Singer Songwriter Multi-instrumentalist
Norah Jones is an American singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and occasional actress of Anglo-American and Bengali descent.
Jones' career was launched with her 2002 debut album Come Away with Me, a contemporary pop album with a sensual, plaintive soul/folk/country tinge, that sold over twenty million copies worldwide and received five Grammy Awards, with Jones winning "Best New Artist". Her second album, Feels like Home, was released in 2004, clocking more than a million sales in the first week of U.S. release. In 2007, she released her third album, Not Too Late, which debuted at number one on the world charts. She has become one of the most successful recording artists of the decade, racking up sales of more than 16 million records in the US and 39 million records worldwide. She is the daughter of musical maestro Ravi Shankar and half sister of sitarist Anoushka Shankar.
Norah Jones playing at the Blaisdell Arena.Born Geethali Norah Jones Shankar in Brooklyn, New York City, New York, she officially changed her name to Norah Jones at the age of sixteen with the blessings of her parents.
The daughter of the sitar maestro Ravi Shankar and Sue Jones, she spent her childhood with her mother, who moved to the Dallas suburb of Grapevine, Texas, when Jones was four. She attended Colleyville Middle School, followed by a short period at Grapevine High School before transferring to Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas. Her only formal singing training was her stint in the choir at Colleyville and Booker T. Washington. While at Colleyville, she also participated in band and played the alto saxophone.
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." She considers Willie Nelson her idol.
Jones began singing in church choirs and took piano lessons as a child. She attended Interlochen Arts Camp during the summers. While at high school, she won the DownBeat Student Music Awards for Best Jazz Vocalist (twice, in 1996 and 1997) and Best Original Composition (1996).
Jones matriulated to the University of North Texas, where she majored in jazz piano. Classmates included American Idol finalist Brandon Rogers and singer-songwriter David Angerstein. In 1999, two years into the program, Jones left for New York City. Jones was romantically involved with bassist Lee Alexander, though the two broke up in January 2008.
Norah Jones Early days
Jones was a lounge singer before becoming a recording artist. Jones played with numerous artists and bands including Wax Poetic and the Peter Malick Group. Jones performed quite frequently with guitarist Charlie Hunter in 2001 and appeared on Outkast's Speakerboxxx/The Love Below album in a duet with André 3000 in 2003. While Jones is best-known for her sultry-yet-powerful vocal style, often compared to that of Billie Holiday or Nina Simone, her abilities as a jazz pianist have likewise been celebrated. On January 19, 2003 Jones appeared as a guest on Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz on NPR, performing jazz standards such as "September in the Rain" and "I Can't Get Started," and later that year she appeared again with McPartland at the Tanglewood Jazz Festival, performing more standards such as "Lover Man" and "Walking My Baby Back Home". She has performed at the New Orleans Jazz Festival in both 2004 and 2005.
Norah Jones Debut album: Come Away with Me
Main article: Come Away with Me Her debut album, Come Away with Me, debuted in February 2002 and was instantly celebrated for its blending of mellow, acoustic pop with soul and jazz. It hit number one on the U.S. Billboard 200, with the single "Don't Know Why" hitting number one on the Top 40 Adult Recurrents in 2003. It won Album of the Year at the Grammy Awards. She made a cameo appearance in the 2002 movie Two Weeks Notice playing the piano and singing "The Nearness of You" at the fundraiser. "Come Away With Me" has sold over 20 million copies and is the second-best selling album of the decade so far, behind The Beatles' 1.
Norah Jones Second album: Feels like Home
Main article: Feels like Home Her second album, Feels like Home, was released on February 9, 2004. Rather than repeat the softer, jazz mood of Come Away with Me, her second album was influenced by country music. Within a week of its release, Feels like Home had sold over a million copies, making it the highest-selling album in the history of Blue Note Records. Jones toured globally again, to promote the album with the Handsome Band, and the addition of backing singer Daru Oda. Time magazine included Jones on the Time 100, a list of the most influential people of 2004."Feels Like Home" has sold over 14 million copies.
Norah Jones Third album: Not Too Late
Main article: Not Too Late Her third album, Not Too Late, was released by Blue Note Records on January 30, 2007. The album is Jones's first for which she wrote or co-wrote every song, and according to her, some of them are much darker than those on her previous albums. Not Too Late was mostly recorded at Jones's home studio and is the first album Jones recorded without producer Arif Mardin, who died in the summer of 2006. Jones described the sessions as "fun, relaxed and easy" and without a deadline; executives at Blue Note Records reportedly did not know they were recording an album. The song "My Dear Country" is a political satire; she wrote it before the United States Presidential election day in 2004.
Not Too Late reached the #1 position in twenty countries and reached #1 on the United World Chart with sales over 720,000 in its first week. It is the third best first week album sales of 2007 after Avril Lavigne's third album The Best Damn Thing and Linkin Park's third album Minutes to Midnight. The album became the 800th album to reach the top spot on the UK chart. It also reached #1 in the U.S. with 405,000 copies sold. According to a press release from EMI, Not Too Late is certified gold or platinum in twenty-one countries as of February 2007. The album has sold more than 3 million copies worldwide, according to media traffic. But with shipment it sold 4 million copies. The first single, "Thinking About You", became Jones's first single to chart on the U.S. Hot 100 since "Don't Know Why".
Norah Jones On screen
Norah Jones's cameo in the 2002 movie Two Weeks Notice came just as her career was beginning to expand. The film shows her briefly at the piano, singing for a charity benefit.
In the latter part of 2003, rumors emerged that veteran Indian filmmaker Dev Anand was planning to make the film Song of Life, inspired by Jones's troubled relationship with her father, Ravi Shankar. Both Jones and Shankar were enraged by the rumors. Jones commented, "[Anand] has no idea of our story, and he's not going to represent it in a truthful way, I'm sure. It's sad because it's personal stuff and nobody's business but ours."
Jones appeared in the 2004 special Sesame Street Presents: The Street We Live On. Jones changed the lyrics to her famous song "Don't Know Why" to read "Don't know why Y didn't come," thereby introducing the letter Y to the young audience.
In February 2006, Screen International reported that Jones would make her acting debut in a film directed by Wong Kar-wai. The film, My Blueberry Nights, was the opening film for the 2007 Cannes Film Festival as one of the 22 films in competition.
In January 2007, Jones recorded a live session at Abbey Road Studios for Live from Abbey Road. The episode, on which John Mayer and Richard Ashcroft also appeared, was aired in the United Kingdom on Channel 4 in March 2007 and in the USA on the Sundance Channel in June 2007.
She has appeared twice on the PBS series Austin City Limits, first on November 2, 2002 and most recently on October 6, 2007. The latter appearance was the season opener for the long-running series.