Norah Jones ~ Striking a chord!
Born in Brooklyn, New York to Indian sitar player Ravi Shankar and American concert producer Sue Jones, this American singer, songwriter, pianist and actress is a sensation of sorts; none less than a musical icon in the global scale. She spent her childhood with her mother in Grapevine, Texas following the separation of her parents in 1986. Having always had an inclination towards music, the young Norah was indelibly influenced by her fondness for Bill Evans and Billie Holiday, whose music she grew up with. As a child, she took part in school choirs and took piano lessons.
Her flair for music was recognisable from an early age itself when she won the Downbeat Student Music Award, while still at high school, for Best Jazz Vocalist and Best Original Composition. Even on the educational front, she took up music as a learning experience when she opted for majors in jazz piano in the University of North Texas (UNT). Her musical career flagged off as a lounge singer, which soon paved the way for her to be a recording artist. Her debut album Come Away With Me released in 2002, and it was a celebration of mellow, acoustic pop blended with soul and jazz. It started out with the 139th position in the charts, but soon topped them on the U.S. Billboard 200. This album turned out to be her stepping stone to success, and Jones was soon riding on high waves, having won five Grammy Awards : Best New Artist, Album of the Year, Best Pop Vocal Album for the album and Record of the Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for the single “Don’t Know Why” at the 45th Grammy Awards.
The Recording Industry Association of America gave a platinum certification to the album in August, 2002, and it went on to become a diamond album in February, 2005. Till date, it remains Blue Note’s highest selling album. Her second album, Feels Like Home, influenced by country music, was released on February 9, 2004. This almost outshone her previous album by selling a million copies within a week of its release. Thereafter, Jones was included on the Time 100, a list of the most influential people of 2004, published by the Time magazine. Not only did the album debut at no.1 in at least 16 countries around the world, but it also won her three Grammy nominations at the 47th Grammy Awards, out of which she won the Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for “Sunrise.” She won two more Grammy Awards that year, for Record of the Year and Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals.
She retained the success and mass appeal of her first two albums with her third, Not Too Late, which released in January, 2007. An added USP this time was that she had written or co-written every song in this album. This too lived up to the previous records as it attained the no.1 position in twenty countries. What’s more, by 2007, she had sold over 36 million albums worldwide, which is a phenomenon in itself! As if music wasn’t enough, she made her foray into films in the year 2007, with the romance/drama My Blueberry Nights, directed by Wong Kar Wai. The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2007, and grossed heavy profits worldwide.
Her following album,The Fall (2009), too met with instant success at the charts as well as critical acclaim. In the 2000s, she mostly occupied herself with world tours, a compilation album called …Featuring Norah Jones, which comprised a series of collaborations she has done with renowned musicians, and her fifth studio album Little Broken Hearts, which released in 2012. This achiever has thus been a rage amongst music-lovers, and will continue to create waves in the international music industry by hitting the right notes!