Norah Jones says the first version of Come Away With Me was rejected: ‘I thought maybe I didn’t sing great’

Norah Jones pictured in 2018 (Getty Images)
Norah Jones pictured in 2018 (Getty Images)

Norah Jones has said that her demo version of Come Away With Me was initially rejected by Blue Note Studios.

In an interview with NPR celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the best-selling record, Jones said that she wasn’t entirely satisfied with the 21 track demo that was originally submitted to the label.

“I thought maybe I didn’t sing great. I didn’t love the way I sounded on them, and there was a ton of guitar,” she said. “At times it was just not balanced for what I wanted.

“After a week, I didn’t even hear from him. I had a pit in my stomach and my manager at the time, Shell, called me and said that they rejected the record.”

The demo, which included an original version of the title track “Come Away With Me”, was recorded with producer Craig Street at Allaire Studios.

Jones added: “I was kind of relieved because I also knew that it wasn’t quite right. I was also just scared that I was going to lose the deal and it was over.”

After the record was initially rejected, Blue Note dropped Street and sent Jones into the studio with veteran producer Arif Mardin, who’d worked with the likes of Aretha Franklin, Dusty Springfield and Rod Stewart.

The final version was released in 2002 and included some tracks from the demo sessions such as “Don’t Know Why”, “The Long Day Is Over” and “Feeling The Same Way”.

The album went on to sell 30 million copies, reaching No 1 in 20 countries.

Reflecting on the demo Jones said: “It definitely was never a failed experiment. I think it might have just tipped a little too far in one direction and having a tip back a little was all it needed. But Craig was never given the opportunity to help me do that.

“I think if Craig had been given the opportunity to help me make the finished record, maybe another session with maybe less reverb or whatever, I think we would have made a great record.”

The demo has now been reworked with Street and has been released alongside a deluxe version of Come Away With Me to celebrate 20 years of the record.

Jones expressed her excitement about working with Street again: “It was so fun. We got to finish it together. He remixed it with Tony Maserati, and it was healing.”