When Sue Jones tired of this arrangement, she moved to Dallas, where Norah attended the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, a multicultural magnet school whose alumni also include neosoul singer Erykah Badu. Growing up in Dallas she also heard her fair share of country music, and she has cited Willie Nelson as a primary inspiration. You can hear that in the uncannily conversational quality of her singing, accomplished by both singers without recourse to spoken passages. Her voice doesn't have exceptional range either technically or emotionally, but it draws by turns on little moves from jazz, blues-rock, country, and singer-songwriter folk. And there's a little bright-colored thread of her Indian ancestry running through her vocal style, heard in its centering on nose and throat and in the little grace notes that attach themselves effortlessly to notes toward phrase ends. All this is wrapped up into singing so relaxed that you don't realize how unusual it is.
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