The Humility Of Norah Jones

She Says Her Dominance At The Grammys Made Her Feel Bad

Norah Jones has sold more albums than any other female artist this decade, over 30 million. And she's only 27 years old. But success doesn't drive this low-key, talented singer.

In fact, it makes her uncomfortable—as Katie Couric discovered when she talked to Jones about the 2003 Grammy Awards, when many of us first saw the petite woman behind the unforgettable, seductive voice.

That evening seemed like the coronation of Norah Jones, when at age 23, she swept the awards.



It was a remarkable night. Her first album of romantic, dreamy ballads earned award after award, including "Best New Artist," "Record of the Year," and "Album of the Year." In all, she won a total of eight Grammys.

She and the album won in every category she was nominated in.

But Jones tells Couric she felt really bad about her sweep. "I felt like I went to somebody else's birthday party and I ate all their cake. Without anybody else getting a piece. That's how I felt.

A year later, her second album went on to sell 10 million copies, proving her success was no fluke.

Last month, 60 Minutes caught her in New York City, performing songs from her just released third album, "Not Too Late." The songs have the signature Norah Jones sound, but unlike her earlier albums, she wrote all the songs and says they're more honest, more personal and edgier.

"There's a little playfulness but there's also a lot of darker material on this album," Jones says. "And that comes less from me being a dark person than me sort of observing things going on around me and sort of turning them into songs."

Songs like "My Dear Country," which she wrote about two years ago, the day before the election. It's a political protest song that takes a jab at President Bush.

Asked if she was nervous she'd face a fallout similar to what the Dixie Chicks experienced, Jones tells Couric, "No. It's more of a personal song for me. It's more of, it's just a song about questioning what's going on and frustration. And I think that a lot of people will, would be able to relate to that feeling, especially from the past few years."

Quiet, slow songs are what first made Norah so successful, but some said they could put you to sleep – dubbing her "Snorah Jones."

"One critic wrote, after your first two albums, 'Jones' success is due to not being all that special. You can go to your local jazz club any night and maybe see somebody just as good. All the songs sound the same. There's nothing remotely experimental about them. The songs are, for the most part, fairly pedestrian,'" Couric tells Jones.

"Uh-huh. That's mean. Why would you say that?" asks Jones. "What I was going for in the first two albums I didn't necessarily achieve. Because I was young and because it was my first time out. And the second album was such a 'quickie' sort of 'Let's just get it over with!' But the kind of music I make, there's a lot of subtlety in it. And I think it takes a couple of listens to actually really get it. 'Pedestrian' is a mean way of saying simple."

"Or accessible," Couric points out.

"Or, they're very accessible," Jones says. "The songs on my new album aren't as accessible. But I'm more proud of them."
  • Daniel Schorn

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