Norah Jones (born Geetali Norah Jones Shankar) was born on March 30, 1979 in New York in the family of the legendary Indian musician, professional sitar player Ravi Shankar, and Sue Jones, a dancer whose love towards music has left an imperishable impression on the future singer. Norah’s father didn’t take much part in her upbringing – at the age of four she moved with her mother to a suburb of Dallas, Texas, where her talents began to reveal themselves. From the early childhood Jones loved listening to mother’s vinyl records. She was especially enchanted by the music of Bill Evans, Billie Holiday and Willie Nelson whom she still calls her idol. While in school, she performed in church choir and learned to play piano and guitar. At the age of 16, with her parents’ permission, she officially shortened her name to Norah Jones, the name by which she is known to millions of fans worldwide. At the age of 17 she won a prestigious Down Beat Student Music Award for Best Jazz Vocalist and Best Original Composition. Shortly after that the future star entered the University of North Texas where she majored in jazz piano, but the education process came to its end quite soon – after two years of studying she moved back to her city of birth, New York, to focus on her musical career.
After assembling a band with her friends, guitarist Jesse Harris, bass guitarist Lee Alexander and drummer Dan Rieser, she recorded a handful of demos for the famous jazz label Blue Note Records. Her abilities didn’t evade observation and in 2001 the label signed a contract with Jones. The next year saw the release of her debut album called Come Away With Me, the music of which represented a sound of piano jazz with a slight shade of soul and folk. This work dramatically changed the artist’s life – response from both the listeners and the critics was exclusively positive, and at the next Grammy ceremony Jones was nominated for 8 awards, winning 6 of them, including Album of the Year and Best New Artist. The success of the disc can easily be evaluated by looking at the number of sales – 18 million copies worldwide. All these facts were telling about a long and successful future career of the singer.
In 2004 she released her second work, Feels Like Home – a mixture of jazz, skillfully performed by Jones, blues and country music. Just like its predecessor, the album quickly stood out against the background of other artists’ records – in a week after the release date the sales exceeded one million sold copies, and the hit single Sunrise won the Best Female Pop Vocal Performance award at the Grammy. While on tour in support of the album, Jones wasn’t wasting time and in the intervals between her concerts she was working on a new material for the disc called Not Too Late (released in 2007). Recording of the album took place in the home studio in cooperation with her boyfriend Lee Alexander. According to Jones, the recording label representatives were not aware of the work on new disc, which became not less successful than the preceding ones – it strived to number one on billboard charts of twenty countries and became a double-platinum seller. Deciding to leave music for a while, Jones played a leading role in My Blueberry Nights with such stars as Natalie Portman, Rachel Weisz and Jude Law. Soon after that she broke up with Lee Alexander and her feelings about the split-up found reflection on her work – the atmosphere of Jones’ new studio album The Fall (2009) was somewhat dark and melancholic. In general, her musical style was still there – the same blues, jazz and soul music. But still there was room for a minor experimental shift towards rock – and that was no surprise for the producer of the disc was Jacquire King who has worked with Kings Of Leon, Tom Waits and Modest Mouse. The album has proved once again that Norah Jones is a prominent figure in the world of music who is not going to rest on her success and is ready to amaze this world with her unique talent, huge creative potential and striving for experiments. The release of a very strong compilation album ...Featuring, which presented various artists’ songs, created in collaboration with Norah and compositions of her side projects took place in 2010. In general the list of songs proved to be really impressive, and ...Featuring will be interesting for all music lovers, no matter what they prefer.