Norah Jones was a lounge singer before recording any official songs. Jones played with numerous artists and bands including Wax Poetic and the Peter Malick Group. Jones performed quite frequently with guitarist Charlie Hunter in 2001 and appeared on Outkast's Speakerboxxx/The Love Below album in a duet with Andre 3000 in 2003. While Jones is best-known for her sultry-yet-powerful vocal style, often compared to that of Billie Holiday or Nina Simone, her abilities as a jazz pianist have likewise been celebrated. On January 19, 2003 Jones appeared as a guest on Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz on NPR performing jazz standards including "September in the Rain" and "I Can't Get Started", and later that year she appeared with McPartland again at the Tanglewood Jazz Festival, performing more standards such as "Lover Man" and "Walking My Baby Back Home". She has performed at the New Orleans Jazz Festival in both 2004 and 2005.
Her debut album, Come Away with Me, debuted in February 2002 and was instantly celebrated for its blending of mellow, acoustic pop with soul and country. It hit number one on the U.S. Billboard 200, with single "Don't Know Why" hitting number one on the Top 40 Adult Recurrents in 2003. She makes a quick appearance in the 2002 movie Two Weeks Notice playing the piano and singing Nearness of You at the fundraiser.
Throughout 2002 and 2003 Jones appeared on stages, globally, for her first tour with the Handsome Band, travelling throughout Asia, America, Europe and Australia. The tour was received with numerous sell-out concerts and positive critical acclaim.
Jones walked away from the Grammy Awards of 2003 with eight awards. By receiving "Record of the Year", "Album of the Year", "Song of the Year", and "Best New Artist" honors all in 2003, Jones was the first artist to sweep the "Big Four", or the four most prestigious Grammy awards, since Christopher Cross did so in the Grammy Awards of 1981. The "Song of the Year" award went to Jesse Harris for writing "Don't Know Why", but because Jones performed the song, she is associated with winning "Song of the Year" as well. Of the eight awards that came from Come Away with Me at the 2003 Grammy Awards, Jones personally received five awards with the other three awards attributed to the album itself. "Don't Know Why" was also performed on an episode of Sesame Street, in which Norah changed the lyrics to "Don't know why Y didn't come" and thereby introduced the letter Y to the young audience.
Her second album, Feels like Home, was released on February 9, 2004. Rather than repeat the softer, jazz mood of Come Away with Me, her second album was influenced by country music. Within a week of its release, Feels like Home had sold over a million copies, making it the highest-selling album in the history of Blue Note Records. Jones toured globally again, to promote the album with the Handsome Band, and the addition of backing singer Daru Oda. Time magazine listed Jones among the most influential people of 2004.
Jones received three awards at the Grammy Awards of 2005, including "Record of the Year" and "Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals" for her collaboration with Ray Charles on the song "Here We Go Again." She personally earned her eigth Grammy and eleventh overall for "Best Female Pop Vocal Performance" for her song "Sunrise." That year, Norah Jones appeared on the self-titled record by Amos Lee.
In the latter part of 2003, rumours emerged that veteran Indian filmmaker Dev Anand was planning to make the film Song of Life, inspired by Norah Jones's troubled relationship with her father, Ravi Shankar. Both Jones and Shankar were enraged by the rumors and Jones's comments were, "He has no idea of our story, and he's not going to represent it in a truthful way, I'm sure. It's sad because it's personal stuff and nobody's business but ours."
Norah Jones also collaborated with the Foo Fighters on their 2005 record In Your Honor, singing vocals with Dave Grohl on "Virginia Moon". The song was nominated for a "Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal" in 2006.
In February 2006, Screen International reported that Norah Jones would make her acting debut in a film by 2046 and Chungking Express director Wong Kar-wai. The film called My Blueberry Nights, would be Wong Kai-wai's English language debut and will be partly funded by StudioCanal and Jet Tone Productions.
Her third album, entitled "Not Too Late," is set to be released by Blue Note Records on January 30th, 2007.