Norah Jones Delivers Chart-Topping Valentine
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Sultry vocalist Norah Jones swept back to the pinnacle of the U.S. pop charts on Wednesday as her second release, “Feels Like Home,” became the first album in nearly three years to sell more than 1 million copies 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.
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 Feb. 8 Grammy Awards telecast.
In the United States, “Feels Like Home” sold 1,022,000 copies for the week ended Feb. 15, making it the biggest album launch so far this year and the first to crack the seven-figure mark since ‘N Sync’s “Celebrity” sold nearly 1.9 million copies 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 U.S. 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 Indian 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 U.S. 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 singerBeyonce 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. And Vandross’ “Dance With My Father” nearly tripled its weekly haul with sales of 58,000 copies, springing to No. 28 from No. 61.
Rapper Kanye West made his debut at No. 2 on the charts with his first album, “The College Dropout,” selling 441,000 copies its first week, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
The week of Valentine’s Day is traditionally one of busiest sales periods for the music industry, and this past week was no exception. Album sales surpassed 17 million units.