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Ravi Shankar's daughter Norah doesn't consider herself Indian

Indian sitar maestro Ravi Shankar's American daughter Norah Jones says she and her father are close today after years of estrangement, but she does not consider herself part Indian.

"I knew who my dad was," she told Katie Couric in a 12-minute piece on CBS News "60 Minutes" Sunday. "I saw him sporadically until I was nine and then I didn't see him again or talk to him until I was 18."

Shankar never married her mother - their relationship, Norah said, was complicated and it ended when she was young. Her mother, she said, didn't want her talking about him.

Jones, 27, acknowledged it was kind of a secret. "You know, when you have a father who's pretty well known but you don't see him, the last thing you want to do is start talking about him all the time to people," she said.

When Norah turned 18, she sought out her father, who was living in California with his daughter and second wife.

Asked if she was angry or sought an apology from her father when they reconnected, Jones said, "Yeah. I might have. I might have wanted that." Today, she said they are close.

"Do you consider yourself part Indian?" Couric asked. "I grew up in Texas with a white mother," Jones said. "I feel very Texan, actually a New Yorker."

Norah Jones, who has sold over 30 million albums, more than any other female artist this decade, told Couric that success makes her uncomfortable as they talked about the 2003 Grammy Awards.

That evening Norah Jones, then 23, won a total of eight Grammys with her first album of romantic, dreamy ballads named "Best New Artist," "Record of the Year," and "Album of the Year."

But Jones said she felt really bad about her sweep. "I felt like I went to somebody else's birthday party and I ate all their cake. Without anybody else getting a piece. That's how I felt."

A year later, her second album went on to sell 10 million copies, proving her success was no fluke. Unlike her earlier albums, Norah Jones' just released third album, "Not Too Late" has all the songs written by her and as such "they're more honest, more personal and edgier."

"There's a little playfulness but there's also a lot of darker material on this album," Jones said. "And that comes less from me being a dark person than me sort of observing things going on around me and sort of turning them into songs."

"My Dear Country," which she wrote the day before the 2004 presidential election, is a political protest song that takes a jab at President George Bush.

Asked if she was nervous she'd face a fallout similar to what the Dixie Chicks experienced, Jones said, "No. It's more of a personal song for me. It's more of, it's just a song about questioning what's going on and frustration. And I think that a lot of people will, would be able to relate to that feeling, especially from the past few years."

Norah said her musical roots are country and jazz, tastes acquired growing up in Grapevine, Texas, listening to her mother's eclectic record collection. An only child, she was raised by a single mom, who sacrificed to give her daughter every opportunity.

Norah Jones moved to Greenwich Village when she was 20 years old. "It's a cool neighbourhood to live in. When I first moved here, I actually moved to a little street called Jones Street," she remembered. She waited tables and got gigs singing and playing Jazz standards in small clubs.

In less than a year, her musical career took off when an accountant for Blue Note Records came to hear her perform. She was signed and put out her first album, which she hoped would ultimately sell 10,000 copies. It sold over 20 million.

In 2005, she took herself out of the spotlight and began performing in disguise. In one performance, she donned a blonde wig, singing with the all-girl band, "El Madmo."

"We wear wigs 'cause it's just fun. And we didn't want anybody to judge us, you know. So we wanted to be more anonymous," Jones said. "We wanted to be able to just try something out for fun, for the fun of music, you know. We ended up just enjoying the dressing up part, as much as the band part."

Norah Jones said she doesn't know where her career will go from here and she doesn't really care.

"I don't expect to sell millions of records every time. I just don't think that's gonna be possible. I think that's a lucky thing that happens every once in a while," she said. "I feel like I've had my cake and I've eaten it and it tasted great. And I don't need another piece."

By Arun Kumar, Indo-Asian News Service

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