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.