“You’re never go­ing to say no to Dolly Par­ton”

Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Front Page - Tick­ets are now on sale for No­rah Jones’s Aus­tralian tour and Blues­fest in April.

In­ter­view by KATHY MCCABE

It’s been 16 years since Come Away With Me made you a house­hold name, and six years since you last played in Aus­tralia. What did we do? It’s just the dis­tance, I’ve got to say. Are you tired of be­ing on the road all the time? Yes. I love it, it’s fun, but right now I want to sort of pick and choose, do a few weeks here and there and go out four times a year in­stead of all year long. The last time I did a year-long-tour that was fun, too, but by the end of it, ev­ery­one was burnt out. I have lit­tle kids [a four-year-old son and two-year-old daugh­ter] so it’s eas­ier to do it this way. That’s not the only dif­fer­ent thing these days – you’ve been drip-feed­ing us sin­gles this year in­stead of re­leas­ing an al­bum, and work­ing with dif­fer­ent artists. It’s for the same rea­son we are tour­ing spo­rad­i­cally in­stead of con­tin­u­ously: I want to main­tain my love of mu­sic. This is my job and I am one of the few lucky peo­ple who get paid for it, so I want to keep that job. I re­alised I wanted to play with a lot of dif­fer­ent peo­ple and I don’t want to put any­body out and over-ask for things. It’s a fun way to meet peo­ple and play with friends that I al­ready know, and I hope to do it with a lot more peo­ple in the fu­ture. What sur­prised you most about do­ing it this way? That I had so much. It sur­prised me how com­pletely unin­spired you are and have no ideas one week, and the next week you have six songs. It is a re­lief. I have al­ways felt it comes in waves. I learnt early on when I would feel de­pressed about not feel­ing in­spired to write that it’s the gig and ev­ery­body goes through it. It helps if I don’t put so much pres­sure on my­self and let it flow when it flows. Was there a time when mu­sic wasn’t fun? The first few years, when I was play­ing mu­sic I didn’t love at wed­dings and stuff, when I was in bands. It wasn’t that it was hor­ri­ble mu­sic, [but] it wasn’t what I wanted to do. That’s when I quit and started wait­ing ta­bles to make ex­tra money. And then af­ter my first and se­cond al­bum, there was a lot of pro­mo­tion, back to back, and it was just a lot. That took away from the fun part of mu­sic. Of course there’s a bal­ance of work and do­ing some­thing that you love that doesn’t feel like work, and at that time the bal­ance was out of whack. You’re still in de­mand for the odd wed­ding – most re­cently by Zara heiress Marta Ortega. That is def­i­nitely a re­minder of my early days! It’s hi­lar­i­ous. I have some friends who make a great liv­ing do­ing wed­dings, and they’re lucky be­cause they do love the mu­sic and love the peo­ple they are play­ing with. I think I just didn’t find that and re­alised I didn’t want to burn out my love of it by do­ing mu­sic I wasn’t con­nected with. I wanted to find my own sound at the time. You’re also do­ing big gigs like Joni Mitchell’s 75th birth­day this year. And you have a Dolly Par­ton trib­ute com­ing up. I like mix­ing it up. When I get asked to do those trib­ute shows, it’s al­ways some­body I love, so it would be hard to say no. And you’re never go­ing to say no to Dolly. I love my Dolly. Will you have any time for play when you’re here? I al­ways try to play a lit­tle. It’s al­ways nice to take a minute to check it out. If it’s a long trip, I bring my kids, too. I love the Syd­ney Aquar­ium. I’ve been twice, but I want to see some new stuff and get out and ex­plore a lit­tle.

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