One of the biggest music stars of the 21st century, North America’s Norah Jones will perform at the Jazzaldia for the first time this year. Since bringing out her first album in 2002, she has gone on to sell more than 50 million copies, winning 9 Grammys, and she can also boast more than 6 billion streaming plays.
Born in Manhattan, at a young age Jones was taken by her mother to Texas, where she lived and studied until returning at the age of 20 to New York, where she started to play in small clubs. It was at one of those concerts that Jones was discovered by a worker from Blue Note, leading to the release of her first album, Come Away With Me (2002), in record time. To the surprise of many, including the artist, the album was a huge hit in a world of album sales dominated by artists like Britney Spears and Cristina Aguilera. That first album sold 27 million copies. It was all too unexpected, fast and overwhelming for an artist who had recently entered the world of professional music at the young age of 22 and who, still today, eschews the limelight and scandals.
Since those early days, the North American singer, pianist and composer has continued to release albums, having performed on the world’s biggest stages. Her versatility and interest in other genres such as country and Americana music have seen her collaborate with artists and groups including Willie Nelson, Foo Fighters, Herbie Hancock, Jeff Tweedy, Dolly Parton and Belle and Sebastian, to name but a few.
Heard and enjoyed by millions of people, her music has also received fierce criticism from the purists and lovers of less commercial styles. But there’s no denying that Norah Jones, a singer of marvellous, velvety and sensual voice, opened a commercial route that turned swathes of pop listeners onto Jazz.