Interview: Norah Jones Talks About Her New Album, Danger Mouse, and Murder Ballads

First two Norah Jones shots by Frank W. Ockenfels. Last, with Danger Mouse, by Noah Abrams.

First two Norah Jones shots by Frank W. Ockenfels. Last, with Danger Mouse, by Noah Abrams.

“Go out with me!” These are the kind of requests—or rather, orders—that came flying at Norah Jones as the sultry vocalist took the stage at South by Southwest to play her forthcoming album …Little Broken Hearts (out May 1) in its entirety. “I think I’m taken,” she responded, flattered.

“Is it weird hearing music you’ve never heard?” she asked while floating from the piano to the guitar. “No? Great!” Indeed, the packed-out crowd was obviously in love with Norah’s latest work, produced in collaboration with Brian “Danger Mouse” Burton, who’s worked on projects as diverse as the Jay-Z/Beatles mash-up The Grey Album and Gnarls Barkley. Working with him was a bold move for an artist who’s sold tens of millions of records and earned a slew of Grammys on her own. Though she still gets dismissed by some critics as a soft jazz act.

Broken Hearts more or less chronicles the stages of grief that occurred during Norah’s split with her boyfriend last year. It opens with “Good Morning,” in which she awakens realizing that she’ll be leaving her unfit man. She confronts him about the younger woman he’s seeing on “She’s 22,” then threatens to kill her on “Miriam.”

Her feathery vocals carry all these hefty subjects with ease, while writing partner and producer Danger Mouse provides a bounce that knock those “coffee shop singer” critiques on their ass.

The day before her SXSW show, Complex met up with Norah, 33, in a worn-down house just outside of Austin’s downtown area. She met us outside on the patio’s bench swing in a denim jacket over a long summery dress. Her publicist offered lemonade. Walking across the creaky wooden floor, Norah kicked off her shoes, curled up on the living room couch, and talked about everything: her critics, her breakups, working with Danger Mouse, and that song about killing off her man’s mistress.

Written by Brad Wete (@BradWete)

Some critics describe your music an “uneventful.” Others say it’s amazingly well built contemporary jazz. How would you describe it?

Some critics describe your music an “uneventful.” Others say it’s amazingly well built contemporary jazz. How would you describe it?

How do you feel when they say you’re a “coffee shop singer”?

That makes me cringe a little bit. I don’t think it’s really fair to lump somebody up like that. But also, who cares? [Laughs] Some people don’t mean things as an insult. Some people do.

I heard you say that you want to do a “real” jazz album or a “real” country album. What do you mean by that? Is your new album not “real”?

People always ask me, “What would you love to do?” I would like to do it some day. I mean to kind of go back to my roots and really do what I intended to do when I was young, even though I strayed from that path and I am really happy I did. My world has been a little bit more open. But that’s the kind of music I grew up loving and I really wanted to play it for so long. It would be fun to play it again. For my mom, for my teachers growing up, stuff like that. I think it would be sentimental and really nice.

Keep Reading >>

[complex.com]

Advertisements

About Tommy Z.™

Just A Human Want's To Live A Life View all posts by Tommy Z.™

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: