When Norah Jones broke on to the scene in 2002 with her debut album, Come Away With Me, she managed to create her own unique space, somewhere between pop and jazz. In no time, she enthralled fans with the same ease with which she swept the Grammies that year (five of them). Next month, the singer-songwriter-pianist will be headlining the A Summer’s Day festival in the city. In this interview, she talks about her India tour, latest album and reinventing herself with every project.
Billboard named Norah Jones the top Jazz artist of the 2000-2009 decade, establishing herself as one of the best-selling artists of her time.
Despite a strong Indian connection, you took a long time to come here. What are you looking forward to the most?
I’ve never played in India, so that’s one reason to do it. Also, my dad (the late sitarist Pandit Ravi Shankar) had always wanted me to play there. I’m excited to come. It’s also bittersweet because my dad just passed away. It’s (the tour) just never worked out in the past. I’m usually so tired by the end of a tour that I don’t want to add faraway places. This time I planned it a while ago and my dad was really asking me to do it, so I thought it would be nice for the both of us. It’s very sad that he’s gone now, but I know he was very excited that I was going to be playing in India.
Your new album, Little Broken Hearts, shows a different side of you — from the album covers to the music. Tell us more about that.
I was excited to try some different things. I started doing that on my last album, The Fall, as well, so I was definitely trying a new sound with Little Broken Hearts.
You’ve also collaborated with Danger Mouse on the album.
I really was excited to work with him and all his sounds. It was the best of both worlds — it was like playing with my friends but also doing something completely different, but not scary, because we’re buddies.
Your music has taken an interesting sonic trajectory in the past decade. How have you evolved as an artiste?
My mind has been opened by so much different music over the last 10 years. I was definitely a little more sheltered in my music knowledge. I listened to a lot of different music — I was open to everything, but I just didn’t know about it. It takes a while to amass all the music in the world. As you get older you just keep learning new things.
Are you working on any recordings currently?
Right now, nothing. I recorded with my sister for her new album a few months ago and I recorded on the new Willie Nelson album, which sounds really fun.
Is teaming up with an Indian artiste on the agenda?
At this point in the tour, there’s not going be a lot of room for anything other than the shows, but I’m always open to things.