Grammy favorite Jones here March 5Norah Jones, the soft-voiced American singer and pianist whose laid-back style has earned her millions in sales and a slew of Grammy awards, will perform in Seoul for the first time on March 5.
Just last week, Jones won three trophies at the 2005 Grammy telecast; two were for “Here We Go Again,” a duet she recorded with Ray Charles, who died last year. The awards show became largely a tribute to the soul music great, who posthumously won eight Grammys; the New York Times reported that she fought back tears as she accepted the Best Record award for the duet. “How many millions of people has he made smile?” she said.
Jones’s style, as adaptable to soul as it is to jazz, folk and even country, endeared her to the famously middle-of-the-road Grammy voters from her major-label debut in 2002. That album, “Come Away With Me,” won five Grammys, including Record of the Year, Best New Artist, Album of the Year and Song of the Year (for the hit “Don’t Know Why”). It also sold more than 20 million copies.
Born in 1979, Jones is the daughter of the famous Indian musician Ravi Shankar. Her parents separated when she was a child; she said her earliest musicial influence wasn’t her father’s sitar, but her mother’s record collection, particularly Billie Holiday. “I picked out one disc that I liked and played that over and over again,” she wrote on her official Web site. “‘You Go to My Head,’ that was my favorite.”
She grew up near Dallas, Texas, and played her first concert on her 16th birthday. As a student she won awards from the jazz magazine Downbeat; after graduating from high school, she studied jazz piano at the University of North Texas.
She assembled her own group in 2000 and sent a selection of demos to the Blue Note jazz label, which signed her in 2001.
The New York Daily News wrote, “When Jones sings ... you can hear echoes of her influences, like Billie Holiday, Nina Simone and Joni Mitchell.” The Los Angeles Times said she “invests her [singing] with a poignancy reminiscent of Eva Cassidy.”
In Korea, her music has been popularized through movie soundtracks, a particularly popular marketing category here. Her remake of Nina Simone’s “Turn Me On” was in the film “Love Actually,” which was a big hit in Korea; “Don’t Know Why” was used in the Korean film “Marrying the Mafia.”
Jones is touring with her five-piece Handsome Band, which includes drummer Andrew Borger, guitarist Adam Levy, bassist Lee Alexander, guitarist Robbie McIntosh and flutist and backup singer Daru Oda.
by Limb Jae-un
The concert starts at 7:30 p.m. March 5 at COEX Convention Hall in southern Seoul. Ticket prices are from 50,000 won ($50) to 100,000 won. Call 1588-7890 or go to www.mastmedia.co.kr.
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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