Norah Jones (born Geethali Norah Jones Shankar on March 30, 1979) is an American singer-songwriter, pianist, keyboardist, guitarist, and actress. In 2002, she launched her solo music career with the release of the commercially successful and critically acclaimed album Come Away With Me, which was certified a diamond album in 2002, selling over 20 million copies. The record earned Jones five Grammy Awards, including the Album of the Year, Record of the Year, and Best New Artist. Her subsequent studio albums, Feels like Home, released in 2004, Not Too Late, released in 2007 and her 2009 release The Fall, all gained Platinum status after selling over a million copies and were generally well received by critics. Jones has won nine Grammy Awards and was Billboard magazine's 60th best-selling music artist of the 2000–2009 decade. 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 and appreciates the rituals of her church but does not consider herself the religious typeShe 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).
In 2003, she won five Grammy Awards, Best New Artist, Album of the Year and 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. This matched the record for most Grammy wins by a female artist in a single night (tying with Lauryn Hill and Alicia Keys). That night, Jesse Harris won the Grammy Award for Song of the Year for composing "Don't Know Why", Arif Mardin won Producer of the Year, primarily for his work on Come Away With Me, and the album also received the Grammy Award for Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical.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. It remains the Blue Note's biggest-selling album. Jones released her second album, Feels like Home, on February 9, 2004. It was influenced by country music. Within a week of its release, Feels like Home had sold over a million copies. It sold 4 million copies in the United States and reached quadruple Platinum status, selling ten million copies worldwide. Jones toured globally, promoting the album with the Handsome Band, and 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' released her third album, Not Too Late, on January 30, 2007. The album was 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 her first album without producer Arif Mardin, who had died in the summer of 2006. Jones described the sessions as "fun, relaxed and easy" and without a deadline; Blue Note executives reportedly did not know she was recording an album. The song "My Dear Country" is political commentary; she wrote it before the United States Presidential election day in 2004. Jones' fourth studio album, The Fall, debuted at number three in November 2009, selling 180,000 copies in its first week. It was Jones' first album not to reach #1 in the United States. The album received critical acclaim. As part of the promotional drive for the album, she performed on Dancing with the Stars, Late Show with David Letterman, Good Morning America and other television programs. The album's lead single, "Chasing Pirates", peaked at #13 on Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks and #7 on Jazz Songs. Jones released ...Featuring, a compilation album of collaborations she has done with well-known musicians, including the Foo Fighters, Willie Nelson, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Outkast, Q-Tip, Talib Kweli, Belle and Sebastian, Ray Charles, Ryan Adams, Dolly Parton, Herbie Hancock, M. Ward, and others. Jones said, “It's so exciting and flattering and fun when I get asked to sing with somebody that I admire...It takes you a little bit out of your comfort zone when you're doing something with another artist. You don't know what to expect—it's kind of like being a little kid and having a playdate.” The 18-track Blue Note disc was released on November 16, 2010.
Jones made a cameo appearance as herself in the 2002 movie Two Weeks Notice which starred Hugh Grant and Sandra Bullock. The film shows her briefly at the piano, singing for a charity benefit. Jones appears on the track "Ruler of My Heart" (a cover of an Irma Thomas song), on the 2002 Dirty Dozen Brass Band album, Medicated Magic. In the latter part of 2003, rumors emerged that veteran Indian filmmaker Dev Anand was planning to make the film Song of Life, inspired by Jones's troubled relationship with her father, Ravi Shankar. Both Jones and Shankar were enraged by the rumors. Jones commented, "[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." Jones appeared on OutKast's Speakerboxxx/The Love Below album, on "Take Off Your Cool". This album won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year (Jones was not credited). Jones appeared in the 2004 special Sesame Street Presents: The Street We Live On. Jones appeared on Ray Charles' final album, Genius Loves Company, in 2004, on "Here We Go Again". Jones formed The Little Willies in 2003 alongside Richard Julian on vocals, Jim Campilongo on guitar, Lee Alexander on bass, and Dan Rieser on drums. The alt country band released its eponymous first album in 2006. Jones has done three Grammy nominated duets with Willie Nelson: Wurlitzer Prize (I Don't Want To Get Over You) in 2003, "Dreams Come True" in 2005 and Baby, It's Cold Outside in 2009. In 2005, Jones appeared on the Foo Fighters' album In Your Honor, performing piano and vocals on the song "Virginia Moon". The track was nominated for a Grammy for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals, in 2006. Jones appeared on Ryan Adams' & The Cardinals' 2005 album, Jacksonville City Nights on the track "Dear John". Jones worked with Mike Patton in 2006 providing vocals on the track "Sucker" on the Peeping Tom project. The song attracted attention as it was the first time Jones used profanity in a recording. In 2007, Jones made her acting debut as the protagonist in a film directed by Wong Kar-wai. The film, My Blueberry Nights, opened for the 2007 Cannes Film Festival as one of the 22 films in competition. She wrote and performed a song, "The Story", for the movie. In January 2007, Jones recorded a live session at Abbey Road Studios for Live from Abbey Road. The episode, on which John Mayer and Richard Ashcroft also appeared, was aired on UK Channel 4 and on the Sundance Channel. She appeared twice on the PBS series Austin City Limits, on November 2, 2002 and October 6, 2007. The latter appearance was the season opener. In a change of direction predating The Fall, Jones (referring to herself as "Maddie" and virtually anonymous in a blond wig) sang and played guitar with rock band El Madmo. The band consists of Jones, Daru Oda and Richard Julian and released an eponymous album on May 20, 2007. Jones appears in Herbie Hancocks' 2007 release River: The Joni Letters singing the first track, "Court and Spark". This album won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year at the 50th Grammy Awards in 2008; Jones was credited as a featured artist, her ninth Grammy win. Jones appeared on the comedy track "Dreamgirl", on the 2009 debut album from The Lonely Island, Incredibad (featuring SNL performer Andy Samberg). In 2008, Jones made another appearance in hip hop with an appearance on a track named "Life Is Better", on the critically acclaimed album The Renaissance by rapper Q-tip. In 2009, Jones made a cameo appearance in the independent film, Wah Do Dem, co-starring Sean Bones and written by Ben Chace and Sam Fleischner. Jones was a judge for the 5th annual Independent Music Awards, supporting independent artists' careers. In 2010, Jones contributed "World of Trouble" to the Enough Project and Downtown Records' Raise Hope for Congo compilation. Proceeds from the compilation fund efforts to make the protection and empowerment of Congo’s women a priority, as well as inspire individuals around the world to raise their voice for peace in Congo.