She was born Geetali Norah Jones Shankar to legendary Indian musician, Ravi Shankar, and Sue Jones in New York City. Fittingly, her birth name, Geetali, carries the meaning of "song" or "melodious", but no one could have possibly imagined how fully she would later embody it.
Norah Jones was raised by her mother in a Dallas suburb, and that's where her musical talents began to reveal themselves. She performed in church choirs, learned to play the piano and guitar, and even briefly tried her hand at the alto saxophone. She attended Interlochen Arts Camp, Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas, Texas, and the University of North Texas, where she majored in jazz piano, and won Best Student Music Awards for Best Jazz Vocalist (twice, in 1996 and 1997) and Best Original Composition (1996). At the age of sixteen, she officially shortened her name to Norah Jones, no longer carrying the Indian, "Geetali". Nonetheless, the "melodious song" was very much alive, and moving full-steam ahead.
Captivated by New York's musical energy, Jones moved back to her city of birth in 1999 to embark on the life course that would lead to her great success. Jones began playing with numerous artists and bands, including Wax Poetic and the Peter Malick Group, but it was by her collaboration with a group of her remarkably talented friends - Lee Alexander, Jesse Harris, Adam Levy, Richard Julian, Daru Oda, Andrew Borger and others - that she would take the world by storm and carve her name into music history. Performing with her new band, Jones burst upon the pop music scene with her auspicious debut album, Come Away With Me, released by Blue Note Records in 2002. The album of original compositions - having sold almost 10 million copies in the U.S. and over 20 million worldwide - swept the Grammy Awards in 2003 and established her as the 'genuine article' - destined for a brilliant career.
Two years later Jones followed up with Feels Like Home, another engaging and heartfelt album that, like her first, was the perfect blend of originals by Norah and other members of the band. Feels Like Home debuted at #1 on the Billboard charts, eventually selling over 4 million units in the U.S. and over 10 million worldwide.
Her third album, Not Too Late, was released in January, 2007 to both critical and public acclaim. A double-platinum seller, it has helped secure Jones' position as one of the best-selling female recording artists of the decade.
Further fleshing out her creative resumé, Jones starred in acclaimed director Kar Wai Wong's My Blueberry Nights (2007), along with Jude Law, Natalie Portman, and Rachel Weisz. While the film was largely dismissed by mainstream audiences, few could deny its intriguing visual beauty and composite artistry.
On her fourth album, The Fall, Jones took a new direction, experimenting with different sounds, and a new set of collaborators, including Jacquire King, a noted producer and engineer who has worked with Kings of Leon, Tom Waits, and Modest Mouse among others. Jones enlisted several songwriting collaborators, including Ryan Adams and Okkervil River's Will Sheff, as well as Jesse Harris, with whom she'd won a Grammy for "Don't Know Why" in 2003. King also helped Jones gather an entirely new group of musicians to perform on the album, together achieving a sound that broadened her already diverse repertoire, while enhancing her professional image.
The 2010 compilation -- Featuring Norah Jones -- revealed her incredible versatility by collecting her collaborations with artists as diverse as Willie Nelson, Outkast, Herbie Hancock, and Foo Fighters. Jones previously collaborated with Danger Mouse on his acclaimed 2011 album ROME, a valentine to classic Italian film score music that also featured Jack White.
In 2012, Jones followed with Little Broken Hearts, a stunning album produced by Danger Mouse (aka Brian Burton) which features original songs co-written by Jones and Burton. Little Broken Hearts is the fascinating next step in the artistic evolution of one of the music world's most consistently intriguing singer-songwriters.
Creatively energetic, uniquely gifted, and exquisitely beautiful - Norah Jones has evolved into an artist of classic rendition; one who worthily stands among the most adored entertainers of our time.
Daughter of legendary Indian musician Ravi Shankar and Sue Jones.
Studied at the University of North Texas where she majored in jazz piano but left before her 3rd year.
Her debut album, "Come Away with Me," has sold more than 20 million copies worldwide, making it the highest-selling album in the history of Blue Note Records.
Dated her bassist, Lee Alexander. They split in January 2008.
Older half-sister of Anoushka Shankar.
In the latter part of 2003, rumours emerged that veteran Indian filmmaker Dev Anand was planning to make the film "Song of Life," inspired by Norah Jones's troubled relationship with her father, 'Ravi Shankar'. Both Jones and Shankar were enraged by the rumors and Jones's comments were, "He [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."
Has sold more records this century than any other female recording artist in America (as of 2007).
Performed with her father, sitar maestro Ravi Shankar, in New Delhi in 1998.
Has an older half-brother named Shubhendra Shankar, who is 37 years her senior.
I don't always know where to put my hands; sometimes it is endearing, sometimes not.
[on the effects her success has had on her life] I just do the same stuff I always did. I have a bigger apartment--that's the main change.
I'm not melancholy; I'm a happy-go-lucky person, kind of silly. I like funny things. I have a lot of energy. I tend to like music that's mellow, though.
Without a piano I don't know how to stand, don't know what to do with my hands.
That's been the coolest thing about all this - I get to meet people that I worship!
I don't try to sound like anyone but me anymore. If something is out of my element, I try to avoid it.
[on her role in My Blueberry Nights (2007)] I was asked by [director] Kar Wai Wong to be in his new film. It didn't seem like I would be the most obvious person for him to ask, but for some reason he did, and for some reason I dove in head first before I knew anything about the project. I watched several of his films and thought they were beautiful, so I just trusted him.
Recently I've started to drive again. Living in New York City you don't really need a car, and I had let my license lapse. I've really found it liberating to drive again. I don't think it is good for me to drive too much in New York City, though, because I am prone to road rage. Plus I drive like a granny and everyone in New York drives with impatience.
With the first record I was very overwhelmed - a scared little chicken - because I felt like people were staring at me and I didn't have any clothes on or something. Now, people aren't really staring at me, so I'm able to be more comfortable with myself.
[on being approached by director Kar Wai Wong to star in My Blueberry Nights (2007)] I thought maybe he wanted some music for a movie, and he asked if I wanted to be in a movie. And I said, "Well, I don't know if I can act -- have you seen my music videos?" I'm pretty uncomfortable in front of the camera, and he said, "No, you're natural, I like that".
I've never wanted to portray some theatrical character or role. I'm just me, take it or leave it.
(April 2007) Embarking on tour with The Handsome Band to promote her new album, "Not Too Late" (2007).
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