Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Norah Jones - It's Gonna Be

Norah Jones at Bright Eyes at Town Hall 29 May...Image via Wikipedia

Norah Jones came by her Texas connection, like so many of us, in a decidedly roundabout way.
Jones was born Geethali Norah Jones Shankar in Brooklyn, New York on March 30, 1979 to Indian sitar player Ravi Shankar and concert producer Sue Jones. She spent her childhood with her mother, who moved to the Dallas suburb of Grapevine, Texas, when Jones was four. She attended Colleyville Middle School, followed by a short period at Grapevine High School before transferring to Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas. Her only formal vocal training was her stint in the choir at Colleyville and Booker T. Washington. While at Colleyville, she also participated in band and played the alto saxophone. At the age of sixteen, with the blessings of her parents, she officially changed her name to "Norah Jones."

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 ritual of church but does not consider herself the religious type. She 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).

Jones went to the University of North Texas, where she majored in jazz piano. It was during this time she had a chance meeting with future collaborator Jesse Harris, which would later catapulted her to fame. She was to pick up a band playing at the university that also happened to be friends of Jesse Harris. Jesse Harris was making a stop on a cross-country road-trip with his friend, and future Little Willies member, Richard Julian, to see the same band play. After meeting, Harris was soon sending her lead sheets of his songs. In 1999, she left for New York City. Less than a year later she started a band with Harris.

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