Norah Jones: From Waitress to Superstar

A young woman sits down at the piano. Her long flowing brown hair frames a friendly face. And then she begins to sing. Her unexpectedly mature voice captivated everyone in the room. This is Norah Jones, award-winning singer and songwriter. 

Norah Jones was born on March 30, 1979, in New York City. She is the daughter of the legendary Ravi Shankar, a very famous guitar player, but Norah was brought up entirely by her mother Sue. She saw her father from time to time through the years, and met her little sister when she was 18. At 4 years old, she and her mother moved to the Dallas suburb, Texas. Her earliest musical influence came from her mother's extensive LP collection. She began singing in church choirs at age five, commenced piano lessons two years later, and briefly played alto saxophone in junior high.

From Texas to the Big Apple 

For two years following her graduation from high school, she studied at the University of North Texas, majoring in jazz piano. Before her third year, she decided to take a trip to New York City. The trip started out as simply a summer stay, but Jones soon knew that she would not be returning home for quite some time. 

Engrossed in the music scene, Jones gravitated toward local musicians and songwriters who urged her, after seeing her sing, to jump-start her own career. Between waitressing jobs, Jones soon started a band in which she sung lead vocals and, of course, played piano. In October 2000, the band ambitiously brought a demo to EMI Blue Note Records, whose roster boasts a host of blues, jazz, folk, and country musicians.

Struck a Blue Note 

At a meeting with Blue Note president Bruce in January 2001, Jones played her three-song tape, hoping to earn a break. Bruce was so impressed with this young girl's talents that he signed her on the spot. After little more than a year of work, Norah Jones released her debut album, Come Away With Me. Norah Jones has already sold 2.6 million copies of the album, which is 10 times more than any album in Blue Note history. Despite the lack of publicity, her album is inching its way up the music charts while the debut single Don't Know Why is climbing up the Adult Top 40 chart.
  
The sultry-voiced neo-jazz singer already enjoyed a stunning sweep at the Grammy Awards in 2003, where she picked up five trophies in the major categories (Album of the Year, Record of the Year for Don't Know Why, Best New Artist, Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for Don't Know Why , and Best Pop Vocal Album). It's clear that this is only the beginning for Miss Jones. 

The future is looking good for Norah Jones. After keeping her fans waiting for two years, Norah released her second album, Feels Like Home, in February. It already looks like it'll be as successful as her first. And this time around, everyone in the music industry is taking her seriously. 

  中文:

  一个年轻的女子坐在一架钢琴前,飘逸的棕色长发衬托出一张亲切的脸庞。接着她开始唱歌,她那出人意料的成熟嗓音令在场的每一个人为之着迷。她,就是诺拉•琼斯——一位获奖歌手,同时也是一个词曲作家。
 
  1979年3月30日,诺拉•琼斯出生在美国纽约,她是传奇人物、著名吉他手拉维•仙卡的女儿,但她本人则完全是由其母亲苏抚养长大的。那些年中,她偶尔才能看到她的父亲,直到18岁,她才见到她的妹妹。4岁时,她随母亲搬到了德克萨斯州达拉斯市的郊区。她在音乐上受到的最早影响来自于她母亲所收藏的大量唱片。诺拉•琼斯五岁开始在教堂唱诗班唱歌,两年后开始学习钢琴,初中时候一度演奏过低音萨克斯管。

  从德州到纽约

  高中毕业后的两年里,她就读于北德克萨斯州大学,主修爵士钢琴。上三年级之前,她决定去纽约旅行一趟。这次旅行原本只是暑期出游,但很快琼斯就意识到自己不会马上回去了。
 
  痴迷音乐的琼斯深为当地的音乐人和词曲作家所吸引,而他们在看了她的歌唱表演后也都催她赶快开辟自己的事业天地。琼斯于是一边当女招待,一边拉起一支乐队,自己担任主唱,当然还兼钢琴演奏。2000年10月,这支乐队雄心勃勃地送了一盘录音样带给旗下拥有众多布鲁斯乐、爵士乐、民间音乐及乡村音乐乐手的EMI蓝音符唱片公司。

  签约蓝音符

  2001年1月,琼斯见到了蓝音符唱片公司的老板布鲁斯,她放了一盘磁带,里面有她唱的三首歌,希望藉此有所突破。小姑娘的才华打动得布鲁斯当场与她签了约。只经过一年多一点的准备工作,诺拉•琼斯就推出了她的首张专辑《远走高飞》。该专辑已卖出260万张,这个数字比蓝音符历史上任何一张专辑的销售量都要高出十倍。尽管缺乏宣传,这个专辑仍在流行音乐排行榜上节节攀升,而其单曲《不知何故》也打入了“40大成人单曲排行榜”。

  在2003年的格莱美颁奖典礼上,这位声音迷人的新爵士乐歌手气势夺人,一举拿下五项主要项目的大奖(年度最佳专辑奖,单曲《不知何故》获年度最佳唱片奖,最佳新人奖,单曲《不知何故》还获得最佳流行女歌手奖,最佳流行声乐专辑)。而这一切对琼斯来说显然不过只是个开始。

  诺拉•琼斯前景光明。让歌迷苦等了两年之后,诺拉•琼斯2月又推出了她的第二张专辑《宛如回家》。看样子它和第一张专辑一样成功,但这一次,音乐界再不会有人对她等闲视之。