She attended the same arts-oriented high school in Dallas, Texas that soul singer Erykah Badu did: Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts.
Jones considers herself a fan of "old music." She cites Bill Evans, Billie Holliday, Willie Nelson, Aretha Franklin, and Ray Charles as examples. That type of music, she says, "is just so badass and original."
In the early '00s when she had her greatest success, she played with the trio of guitarist Adam Levy, bassist Lee Alexander, and drummer Andy Borger. She and Alexander dated for about seven years.
She made her mark with her voice and a piano, but she began her musical career in junior high with the alto saxophone.
Jones briefly attended the music program at the University of North Texas before moving to New York City after two years there.
On the night of her 21st birthday, she was heard by music-industry accountant Shell White, who got her demo to the President of Blue Note Records, the famous jazz record label. Soon, she was signed.
She is the daughter of Ravi Shankar, a famous Indian musician known for teaching George Harrison how to play the sitar. He is 59 years older than Norah, and was estranged from her most of her life. She saw him infrequently most of her life and reconnected in the years before his 2012 death. She often downplayed their relationship, as she didn't like to be thought of as "Ravi Shankar's daughter." Jones' mother is a New York concert promoter named Sue Jones.
She swears like a sailor. Her cuss phrase of choice is "Suck my ass," which she knows in Dutch and German.
On her first album, there are guest appearances by jazz guitarist Bill Frisell and session drummer Brian Blade.
At the Grammys in 2003, she won all five awards she was nominated for. Her acceptance speeches were not all smooth. At one point she banged the award into the microphone, and while accepting the Best New Artist Grammy, she accidentally said "S--t."
She formed a country side project with Lee Alexander called "The Little Willies," a tribute (kind of) to Willie Nelson. They played several cover tunes and some originals. One of the most humorous is, "Lou Reed": "You may think I'm trippin' but I swear I saw Lou Reed cowtippin'." (thanks, Lee - Mobile, AL)
She has played with the funk-fusion group Wax Poetic, and was a member of Laszlo in North Texas.
She became a mother in 2014, and had another child two years later. Intensely personal when it comes to family matters, she didn't reveal the name of her husband, who she describes as a musician.