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Norah Jones
Like the Beatles, who started out trying to be like Elvis Presley, this woman had a sound in her ear that she couldn't achieve, and the good fortune to translate that fixation into something that could spark of a music revolution. And with her music, she proved that her soft sound can be considered mainstream, for she was crowned Queen of the Grammy’s in 2003 – when she took home eight awards (making history as one of the only female vocalists to sweep in five major categories, along with Alicia Keys and Lauryn Hill).

That’s Norah Jones for you. She represents the arrival of a new kind of singer: multi-talented, soulful, dedicated, and sincere when she says "I'm doing it for the music." You would never guess her age from her voice: a melodious alto blend of Ella Fitzgerald, Diana Krall’s easy self-possession, and a hint of smoky Dusty Springfield grit. And yet she’s only in her early 20s, and she doesn't bring along the arrogance and brash attitude of many of her peers – for her love is making music, not being in the headlines. There is no big hype surrounding this woman, no sixty person entourage, and no sex scandal hanging over her head. And as you listen to her pillow-talk singles, you can feel the sensuality pouring out. The all new American girl. Although she doesn't have that Southern Belle look despite growing up in Texas, we guys have to admit that she is quite striking. Being the daughter of legendary musician Ravi Shankar, she has an ethnic look mixed with a style that can blow anyone away. Her face is so calm and collected that if you're not captivated by her music, her intense eyes and long dark tresses are sure to grab your attention.

Born on May 30th, 1979 in New York City, Norah Jones was raised in Texas by her single mother, and never knew her father (Indian legend Ravi Shankar) as child; and to this day, she is reluctant to discuss him in interviews, although she does concede that they now have a close relationship. While Ravi Shankar wasn't around to influence her musically during her formative years, Jones drifted toward music on her own, and discovered jazz while attending the Booker T. Washington High School For The Performing And Visual Arts in Dallas, where she won two Down Beat Student Music Awards in 1996 (for Best Jazz Vocalist and Best Original Composition) and one in '97 (for Best Jazz Vocalist).

Norah played her first gig on her 16th birthday, an open mic night at a local coffeehouse, where she performed a version of I'll Be Seeing You that she'd learned from Etta James' treatment of this Billie Holiday favourite. She then attended the University Of North Texas for two years, where she worked on a degree in jazz piano. Already career-minded, she knew that a solid foundation of jazz piano could pave the way for better things. But before completing the course, in 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.

You can read the rest of our cover story on Norah Jones in the March 2004 issue of The Record Music Magazine available at your local newsagent.

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