Norah Jones was just 23 when she was catapulted into international stardom with her debut album Come Away with Me in 2002. The fresh fusion of jazz, pop, and country earned six Grammy awards and sold 27 million copies. Not bad for straight out of the gate.
She’s been nominated for another Grammy this year for I Dream of Christmas, and after three years of a Covid- induced break, she’s excited to finally get back on tour in a few weeks. It was just announced that she’ll be performing at Willie Nelson’s 90th birthday celebration at the Hollywood Bowl April 29th and 30th. A regular duet partner and fellow Texan, Jones has credited Nelson’s songs with saving her when she was a lonely 20-something starting out in New York. (“Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain” was her granddad’s favorite.)
Jones has also been back on the streaming “airwaves” with her buzzy new podcast, Norah Jones Is Playing Along, a mix of music and casual conversations where she plays songs with musical compatriots like Brian Blades, Mavis Staples, Logic, Jeff Tweedy of Wilco, and others.
I interviewed Norah about her latest adventures, and asked her what she’s been listening to and what she’s watching these days. Jones mentioned she likes to laugh, and when it comes to other podcasts, she listens to “Conan O’Brien Needs A Friend,” or Mike Birbiglia’s show, “Working it Out,” among a few others.
So when we talk about the TV shows and movies she watches, which she says is heavily influenced by being a parent (like all parents in the world who give up control of the TV until their kids are at least 18), it of course starts with those shows and films that make her laugh. Now that she’s back to touring, doing a podcast, and juggling kids, Jones goes for shows with brevity.
Baltin: We were just discussing that you like podcasts that make you laugh. Are there TV series that you can go back to that crack you up?
Jones: I find that I do binge certain shows, but usually they don’t last ’cause they’re not that long. I watched the whole season of New Girl. I watched the whole season of Seinfeld. I’ve watched the whole of Black-ish. Just shows that make me laugh and that are fun and short. Cause I fall asleep really quickly watching. So I like stuff that’s easy to watch.
Baltin: What are the one or two movies that you can just go back to again and again and again that make you laugh?
Jones: I really liked that Nicolas Cage movie, Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, that cracked me up.
I also re-watched The Princess Bride. See, I have little kids. So the truth is I don’t have a lot of movie time without the kids. So I’m trying to walk the line of getting them to watch hilarious 80s movies and nothing too raunchy. We actually watched Tommy Boy and it’s a very highly quotable movie for them and me right now.
Baltin: You mentioned New Girl, which to me, one of the oddest bits of casting in the history of TV was Prince doing that show. So what’s the one TV show that you would have loved to have done or the one TV show that you would love to do now and why?
Jones: I’m watching How I Met Your Mother right now. And I never really watched it when it was out and I can just see how big the show became by the cameos in it. There’s Britney Spears and all these people and all these songs they licensed, like really famous songs [Bon Jovi’s You Give Love a Bad Name, the Bangles Eternal Flame, Foo Fighters On the Mend]. I’m like like, “Oh yeah, this was a huge show.”
Baltin: Would you have played a Barney love interest or a Ted love interest?
Jones: Oh God, I don’t know. That’s a good question.
Well I can see Ted. He would have been obsessed with Norah. You can listen to her podcast Norah Jones Is Playing Along on Apple.