Norah Jones Biography
Geetali Norah Jones Shankar was born in Manhattan, New York City on March 30, 1979 to sitar maestro Ravi Shankar and Sue Jones. She spent her childhood with her mother, who moved to the Fort Worth 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 vocal 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. At the age of sixteen, with the blessings of her parents, 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." She considers Willie Nelson her mentor. She began singing in church choirs and took piano lessons as a child. She still attends church. She considers herself spiritual as well as appreciates the ritual of church but doesn't consider herself the religious type. She attended Interlochen Center for the Arts 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 went to the University of North Texas, where she majored in jazz piano. It was during this time she had a chance meeting with future collaborator Jesse Harris, who later catapulted her to fame. She was picking up a band that was playing at the university that also happened to be friends of Harris. The latter was making a stop on a cross-country road-trip with her friend, Richard Julian, to see the band play. Harris was soon sending her lead sheets of his songs. In 1999, after two years struggling in the program at the university, she left for New York City. Less than a year later she started a band with Harris.
Norah Jones signed a deal with Blue Note Records, a EMI Group owned label.In January 1, 2004, prior to the release of her first album on Hollywood, she released a five-song EP, This Is My Time Advance EP to promote the album. Jones was a lounge singer before becoming a recording artist. She played with artists and bands including Wax Poetic and the Peter Malick Group. She performed frequently with guitarist Charlie Hunter in 2001.
Jones' debut album, Come Away with Me, was released 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 and #30 in the Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart. 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.
The album received platinum certification by the Recording Industry Association of America on August 22, 2002, and went on to become a diamond album on February 15, 2005.
Jones released her second album, Feels Like Home, 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. The album débuted at number one in at least 16 countries around the world.
Jones' third album, Not Too Late, was released by Blue Note Records on January 30, 2007. The album is her 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 political commentary; she wrote it before the United States Presidential election day in 2004.
Not Too Late reached the #1 position in twenty countries. 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 5 million copies worldwide.
Jones announced in August 2009 that she will release a new album, The Fall, on November 17. According to Billboard.com, the album appears to be a departure from past offerings, as she will forgo her signature jazz sound and embark on more contemporary rock. She will collaborate with Ryan Adams, Will Sheff of Okkervil River, the keyboardist James Poyser, and guitarists Marc Ribot and Smokey Hormel.
In September 2009, during a radio interview, Jones announced the album's title and performed "Man of the Hour," one of the songs that appears on the new record.
On September 9, 2009, Jones performed live at the Apple "It's Only Rock and Roll" iPod event in San Francisco, California, to promote her new album.
The first single from The Fall, "Chasing Pirates", was released on October 13, 2009 through iTunes.