Norah Jones

She’s been featured by Newsweek and Time in the same week, Entertainment Weekly, NBC’s “Today” show, National Public Radio, Rolling Stone and received a gushing review from the Los Angeles Times’ Robert Hilburn, who was at the House of Blues to review the night’s other critically acclaimed performer, John Mayer.

There’s been press in the San Francisco Chronicle, the Rocky Mountain News and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution to name a few dailies. So far, the only place you can’t read about Norah Jones is on the comic strip that’s wrapped around Bazooka bubblegum, and that’s probably because it’s cost-prohibitive.

Time said it best: Jones’ mythology was more famous than she was before her album, Come Away With Me, dropped in March. Anybody who remembers the hype for the “Alan Thicke Show” knows the downside to that.

But Jones, who has been through-the-roof busy for more than a month, can’t wait for all this crap to end so she and her band can get back to work.

“I hope it just dies down a little bit because it’s pretty weird,” she told POLLSTAR.

And she thinks it will die down.

“I just want to play the shows and make the records. Is that selfish? Is that so wrrrrong (imitating Harvey Fierstein) … But I’ve got a good support team and I’m pretty mellow. The few times I’ve been on the verge, I’ve had a good cry and went on with it.”

The 23-year-old singer/songwriter is a month away from her first U.S. headlining tour, beginning at NYC’s 1,500-capacity Town Hall Theatre June 7th. In March, she played a 150- seat theatre in the Big Apple.

“The response within the industry and from fans and the grassroots appeal have been unlike anything I’ve ever dealt with professionally,” said Joe Brauner of Monterey Peninsula Artists in NYC. “The people are just ready for her. She’s filling a need.”

Brauner said proof positive came from his 13-year-old daughter. Jones’ manager, Shell White, gave him a seven-song CD last year. Brauner plugged it into the car stereo whenever he and his wife or daughter were going somewhere, not saying a word.

One day, his daughter asked, “What is this?”

“I expected her to ask me to turn it off and put on the latest Britney Spears,” he said. Instead, she said she loved it.

“I think people are reevaluating many things in their lives,” Brauner suggested. “They’re actively searching out new music and new artists without the help of traditional ways of finding it.”

Jones sings with a smoky voice and plays piano. She is a New Yorker who moved to Texas at a young age and studied at a performance arts school (that is also alma mater to Erykah Badu) where she won a bunch of best jazz vocalist awards. She is also the daughter of Ravi Shankar but the two are estranged; there has been far more press than necessary on the relation.

Norah Jones

Jones met White on her 21st birthday at a gig in San Francisco. White’s husband was a friend of Jones’ boyfriend and worked in the royalties department of EMI.

By the following year, Jones was recording for Blue Note with Arif Mardin, who has produced the likes of Aretha Franklin, Dusty Springfield and Willie Nelson. She also recorded with her heroes Bill Frisell and Brian Blade.

Most of the songs on Come Away With Me are written by Jones, bass player Lee Alexander and guitarist Jesse Harris. The touring version of the band is already playing new material.

“Early on, I tried to get a band name and they’re like, ‘No, no, you have a good name. Just call it Norah Jones,'” she said, laughing. “It’s their fault it’s not a band name.”

Another of Jones’ heroes, Willie Nelson, got hold of a copy of the CD and asked her to open for him at San Francisco’s Fillmore in February. She recently sang with him for the “Willie Nelson & Friends” television special which airs May 27th on the USA Network.

“Oh my God, it was so cool,” she said. “It was crazy. I got to meet Keith Richards and Sheryl Crow and all these amazing people. I got to sing with Willie Nelson on one of Lee’s songs. Lee was really excited.”

White, who just signed a management partnership with Sam Feldman and Steve Macklam, told POLLSTAR that Monterey Peninsula was the agency to go with because Brauner was the first to truly get it. Jones’ music can cross over many genres, country, jazz, blues, and Brauner instinctively saw the booking strategy White envisioned.

The paradigm takes Jones out of the intimate settings and into Washington, D.C.’s 9:30 Club on a Friday night next month, but that’s the kind of thing that happens with budding stars. She doesn’t care, though. She’d prefer the more intimate settings, but as long as people are seated or aren’t fidgety, things should be OK.

“One lady at a show said, ‘You rock, Norah!’ and I said, ‘Silently!’ We rock quietly,” she said. “It’s our tribute to Tenacious D. We’re gonna rock you gently.”

Look it up.

“That’s a thing we toyed with, calling it The Rock You Gently Tour, but I don’t think anybody would get it. If they knew, they might think it’s funny. Otherwise, they’d just think we’re big nerds.”