The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Norah album shoots to top in a week

Los Angeles, Feb. 19 (Reuters): Sultry vocalist Norah Jones swept back to the pinnacle of the US pop charts yesterday as her second release, Feels Like Home, became the first album in nearly three years to sell more than 1 million copies in its first week in stores.

The follow-up to her Grammy-winning blockbuster debut Come Away With Me shot to No. 1 in at least 16 countries in all, including Britain, according to Jones’ Blue Note label, owned by EMI Group Plc .

Jones apparently benefited from an across-the-board surge in retail music sales last week reported by Nielsen SoundScan and attributed in part to Valentine’s Day business and musical appetites wetted by the February 8 Grammy Awards telecast.

In the US, Feels Like Home sold 1,022,000 copies for the week ended on February 15, making it the biggest album launch so far this year and the first to crack the seven-figure mark since Sync’s Celebrity sold nearly 1.9 million copies in its first week in July 2001, SoundScan said.

Jones’ new album also gave a big boost to sales of Come Away With Me, which returned to the US top 20 with sales of nearly 80,000 copies, landing at No. 18 after an astonishing 103 weeks on the Billboard 200.

“This is the kind of achievement that one can only expect from a truly original, extraordinary artist like Norah,” said Bruce Lundvall, president and chief executive of jazz and classics for EMI Music, North America.

New York-born, Texas-raised Jones, 24, daughter of sitar master Ravi Shankar and former music promoter Sue Jones, came out of nowhere in 2002 with her breathy-voiced debut album of jazz, country and folk-influenced standards and new songs.

She garnered eight Grammys last year, including the coveted prize of album of the year for Come Away With Me. That record has sold a total of 8.1 million US copies and 17 million worldwide since its modest debut in March 2002 with first-week sales of just 9,700 units.

Several other artists enjoyed a Grammy sales bounce this past week, including the hip-hop duo OutKast, R&B singer Beyonce Knowles and ailing soul icon Luther Vandross, all of whom were big winners this year.

OutKast’s double-CD set Speakerboxx/The Love Below, named album of the year and best rap album, more than doubled its weekly sales to 275,000 copies, climbing two notches up the chart to No. 4. Knowles’ Dangerously in Love likewise jumped 11 spots to No. 12 on post-Grammy sales of 99,000 units.

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