I love Miss Jones- even though she nearly had me fired.
This was when I was at EMI and the Marketing people under me thought they had “The Deal Of The Century”- almost unlimited spots on all STARTV Channels across the region to advertise her-then new record- and whose name I forget.
Think it was the album with “Sunshine.”
What had happened- or so I was told- was that Norah’s step-sister Anoushka Shankar had seen all the advertising and had told her that we/EMI/I were trying to “turn you into Britney Spears.”
This infuriated Norah, as she doesn’t want to be a “superstar”. She called our worldwide chairman, complained, and I was given 24 hours to stop all advertising for the record in the region – which was not an easy job to do! Not only this, but Norah insisted that all WORLDWIDE advertising for the record be stopped – immediately – all of which, I owe to Anoushka Shankar.
Oh, come on Anoushka: IF that’s what you whined about to your far more successful Step-sister, it was petty shit and, perhaps, you should try and bring your own career up a notch.
As for Norah, hell, she is far more than being “Snorah” and singing “Come Away With Me.”
My then-girlfriend Irina and I went to see her at, I think, Shepherd’s Bush, and I had to leave: The music was porridge and she and I were hungry for something else.
Still, having met Norah- and her great backing band- I always knew there was something far more to “Snorah.”
She was quirky, she could drink, she was fun and, one night, after a few bottles of wine, she gave me a lecture on how to be a better father.
It made me respect her more as a person than I did her as an artist.
I still remember us going down to the Grand Hyatt Hong Kong’s Champagne Bar and having her request the resident singer sing “Come Away With Me”.
Earlier that evening, I was meant to go backstage at the Convention Centre where she was performing and fawn over her;
Instead, I stayed back and got very drunk with some of my racing mates; I could never take all those 12 Steps.
“How did we sound tonight?” she asked as I thought I’d be able to make a quick get-away before she returned to the hotel.
“Brilliant,” I replied. I need to make amends to her and to so many other people.
After what I call those “Every Mistake Imaginable” years with EMI and when Norah Jones was signed to Blue Note- and when I was forced outta a music company in tatters- I lost track of her music.
I still kept listening to her work on the OST of the TV series “Nip/Tuck” with Wax Poetic and thought, “Girl, you are SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO much better than people think you are.”
Then again, Miss Norah calls the shots and can often be something like Marvin Gaye’s stubborn kinda fella- but as a woman.
Perhaps that’s what makes her who she is and why she doesn’t crave “stardom”.
She just wants to fucking sing- with anyone. Yes, even Keith.
Love hurts- but, often, musical greatness comes outta hurt, honesty and torment.
I “caught up” with Norah recently- after her appearance in the awful Wong Kar-wai movie “Blueberry Hill”- on the track “Happy Pills” from her record “Little Broken Hearts” and it really fucking hit me:
This was a fragile, hurt, tormented, devastated and incredibly bitter and hurt Norah Jones.
Many say, it was her “f*** you” song to long-time boyfriend Lee Alexander who played bass in her backing band
I met Lee a few times and he was- and probably still is- a good guy. But whoever fucking knows about people?
Relationships are like a crap shoot and marriages are forever even after divorces.
The video for “Happy Pills”- and produced by Danger Mouse- is, I think, brilliant.
Wait and no: It is FUCKING brilliant and musical and emotional catharsis.
I want to just hold Miss Norah and say, “Baby, move on. Fuck, Miriam. We have all been had by opportunists at one time or another and we have also shunned good people. It’s a karmic thing.
Just speak the truth and unravel the stories in the music and the songs. Musical therapy is the best cure and one gets rid of whatever has been holding you back.”
“You know you done me wrong I’m gonna smile when I take your life”
David Lynch? Work with this girl.
The timing is right and the stars are aligned.
Be scared, Miriam, be very scared.