The Making of Atom Heart Mother out now! 2008-23-10


Interview - 2009

This is the full unedited script of what was submitted to Record Collector Magazine

Jazz / pop sensation Norah Jones releases her fourth album ‘The Fall' in November, on which she collaborated producer Jacquire King (Kings of Leon, Tom Waits). The album also features the talents of Joey Waronker (Beck, R.E.M.), James Poyser (Al Green), Marc Ribot (Tom Waits, Elvis Costello) and Smokey Hormel (Johnny Cash, Joe Strummer). Jones also joined forces with several notable songwriters including Ryan Adams..

Joe:    You've taken a different approach with this record. Why was that?

Norah:    I thought it was time to try different things. I've played with the same community of musicians in New York for quite a while and I wanted to see what other sounds I could explore.

Joe:    You've got a lot of big names on this album, how did you get to work with them.

Norah:    It was through the producer really. I wanted to have a producer who'd get me out of my comfort zone, have a different perspective. I looked at this Tom Waits record that I love, and saw that it was engineered by Jacquire King. I thought he was versatile and wanted to work with him. He helped get these musicians on board. I had a wish list of some and he got a few others in too, he wanted to try some different things. So it all came together quite naturally, but it took a lot of planning. It worked out, catering songs to different line-ups of the band.

Joe:    How did writing with Ryan Adams compare with working with (long time collaborator) Jesse Harris?

Norah:    I've known Jesse for 11 years, we've collaborated a lot. I've known Ryan for a few years, and I had this track I couldn't finish. He works so quickly, he was great. I'm sure if I started writing a song with him he'd have it all done before I get a look in.

Joe:    You play keyboards and guitar, which do you prefer?

Norah:    I write more on guitar, but I'm more familiar with the piano. The guitar is newer to me, and you get to stand up and move around. The piano is part of my body, an extension of my voice, but you've always got your back to somebody.

Joe:    The use of the Wurlitzer is interesting.

Norah:    Since my second record I've always dabbled, and played it live. It's not as versatile but it's more interesting.

Joe:    Is there anything left in the vaults?

Norah:    You mean from this album? Yes, there's four songs we didn't use, but you know what it's like, everything needs extras these days so I'm sure they'll be used somewhere.

Joe:    Do you ever listen to your own music?

Norah:    No, you listen to it so much when making it. But every few years I'll listen to it out of curiosity. But I have to do it alone.

Joe:    Who did you grow up listening to?

Norah:    Ray Charles, Willie Nelson, Billie Holiday, I like to think it was all good stuff.

Joe:    When did you first want to become a jazz singer?

Norah:    In high school, I was playing jazz piano, and then through college too. People liked it when I sang, so I moved to New York to do it more.

Joe:    What were the first and last records you bought?

Norah:    The first was Digital Underground. I was trying to find ‘The Humpty Dance' but I got the wrong tape. I still listen to it though. The last was Elvin Perks.

Joe:    What was the first gig you went to?

Norah:    MC Hammer (laughs)

Joe:    What can we expect from the tour?

Norah:    I have a new band, it's been fun putting it together, I think we're getting better. New stuff and old stuff, and I like doing fun covers so who knows what to expect. I am pleased with the new album and am looking forward to playing it live.

Joe:    Is there anyone you'd really like to play with?

Norah:    Lots of people, it's so hard to say

Joe:    What interests you outside of music?

Norah:    Movies, even TV now. I love films, books, hanging out, eating out, eating, regular stuff. I like to swim too.

Joe:    What fact about you would most surprise your fans?

Norah:    I don't know. Mmmm. A hard question. I don't know what they think, it's hard to see yourself through someone else's eyes.

Joe:    The last track on the album (Man Of The Hour) is just you and your piano. Would you ever consider doing an acoustic album?

Norah:    It would be fun, but it would have to be the right songs, you'd need a theme.

Joe:    What's your worst habbit?

Norah:    Saying “You know”, and texting.

Joe:    What is your favourite album of all time?

Norah:    That's impossible, too hard. It fluctuated between about 20 different records.

Joe:    What question do you get fed up of answering?

Norah:    The previous one, because it's so hard. It is a valid question, but there's so much I love.

Joe:    Any massage for your fans?

Norah:    I hope you like the new stuff, thank you for your support and catch you on the tour.

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