There are pop stars, and then there’s Norah Jones. The petite Texan became an overnight sensation in 2002 when her first album, “Come Away With Me,” won eight Grammys. Eight years and some 40 million albums sold later, the ferociously talented jazz singer-pianist has a new sound, a new album?(“The Fall”), a new band and a new movie out. And Jones is only 31.
You wrote a song about Hurricane Katrina. Would you consider writing one about the Gulf Coast oil spill, too?
It’s hard for me to try to write a song about something. But the oil spill is on everyone’s mind. I played a show in Mobile, Ala., the week after the oil spill. It was before the oil had come to shore. It was very strange to be in this beautiful place and feel a disaster approaching. At my show I included a song by a friend of mine about Dauphin Island, an island that has been hit by the oil spill. It was very sad to sing it.
What’s the hardest emotion to write about?
Love is so written about by everyone. It’s not that it’s hard to write about; it’s very easy, especially if you’re feeling something. It’s just hard to not make it sound like a cliche because it has been written about so much, and at the same time everybody goes through it so everybody can relate. It’s hard to find something new to say.
Being a singer and songwriter is one thing, but you have a band, too. Do you like being a boss?
I hate being a boss! I like having a boss’ salary, and I like having control over what I do, but other than that, I hate it. I hate it, I hate it, I hate it! I hate to hire new people and have to decide who you can be friendly with, and I hate hiring friends because that turns friendships soggy. But I love playing with my friends and I love becoming friends with the people I hire.
How do you warm up your voice?
A do a few vocal exercises up and down. And I drink water, sometimes whiskey.