Jazz Singer-Songwriter Norah Jones

Norah Jones shot to stardom with her Grammy-nominated Blue Note debut Come Away With Me. Featuring jazz, folk and modern light pop genres in an easygoing mix that sold millions of records, it even inspired a radio hit known as Don’t Know Why.

Since then, she has pursued a remarkably versatile career that encompasses everything from fiery Nashvillia (2004’s Feels Like Home) and soulful pop (2007’s Not Too Late). Additionally, she has collaborated with Danger Mouse and Billie Joe Armstrong.

Born in New York City

Norah Jones began singing and playing piano as a child, and her talent quickly became evident. She took voice lessons and performed in church choirs while studying music at Interlochen Arts Camp and Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas. Later attending University of North Texas – known for its music programs – Norah won Down Beat Student Music Awards twice for Best Jazz Vocalist (in 1996 and 1997) before moving to New York City in 1999.

Come Away with Me was Jones’ debut album for Blue Note Records; on it, she successfully combined elements of jazz, folk and R&B into her musical palette. This mixing of styles continued on her second release Feels Like Home (2004).

Her unique compositions defy categorization and engage listeners of all backgrounds. She describes in her quote that she is dedicated to artistic exploration and searching for sources of inspiration beyond boundaries.

Raised in Dallas

Norah Jones was raised quietly in Texas with her mother. Early influences in music came from listening to oldies radio music as well as her mother’s vast record collection and listening to oldies on LPs from her vast LP collection. Beginning voice lessons at age five and piano two years later, Norah joined church choirs before taking up alto saxophone in junior high school choirs.

Her first performance took place on her 16th birthday at a Dallas coffeehouse during open mic night; at that same time she also began writing songs.

As a high schooler, she attended Booker T Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts where she received national recognition through two Down Beat Student Music Awards in 1996 and 1997. At University of North Texas she studied jazz piano as well as performing with their Jazz Singers ensemble.

She relocated to New York City in 1999 in pursuit of her career, and her debut album Come Away With Me was released to critical acclaim two years later.

Moved to New York City in 1999

Norah Jones first came to New York with the intention of becoming a jazz singer, yet soon found herself immersed in Manhattan’s Living Room’s intimate singer-songwriter scene and began recording albums under her own name.

Come Away With Me was released for sale in February 2002 and became an instantaneous success, selling over one million copies during its first week alone.

Jones began exploring different musical sounds on her second album Feels Like Home by experimenting with more ambient electric instrumentation and shifting her sound more dramatically. This experimentation continued into subsequent albums such as Not Too Late (2006) and The Fall (2009) where Jones continued her experimentations musically.

Jones made her mark with her 2012 album Little Broken Hearts by expanding into alt country under producer Brian Burton (known by his stage name Danger Mouse). On her 2019 release Begin Again she returns to her jazzy sound from 2012.

Recording career

With the release of her 2002 debut album Come Away with Me, Norah Jones quickly rose to international stardom. Her efforts earned Grammy awards for Album of the Year and Best New Artist as well as becoming one of the highest selling jazz albums ever.

Norah introduced herself and redefined piano-forward jazz for a new century through her self-described “moody little record”, while also reigniting Norah’s musical legacy.

Since then, she has continued to release critically-acclaimed albums such as Feels Like Home (2004), Not Too Late (2007), The Fall (2009), Day Breaks (2016) and Pick Me Up Off the Floor (2020).

On these albums, both sides of her musical interests find a home. There’s the deep jazz influence heard in a lush slow version of Horace Silver’s “Peace” and Duke Ellington tribute “Fleurette Africaine”. And her pop/Americana side can be heard through covers like Neil Young’s “Sleeps With Me Tonight”, along with her collaboration with Danger Mouse aka Gnarls Barkley on Baby It’s Cold Outside.