Norah Jones hasn’t said much publicly about the death of Ravi Shankar, but then the singer-songwriter has always been circumspect about her influential father and their relationship, usually described in press reports as “distant.”
“My dad’s music touched millions of people. He will be greatly missed by me and music lovers everywhere,” reads the brief statement Jones issued this morning through her record label.
The influential sitar master was 59 when Jones was born, and she saw him only sporadically growing up. “I don’t like talking about him because he doesn’t have anything to do with me or my music,” Jones told Rolling Stone in 2004.
At other times, Jones has been more forthcoming, though much of what she has said about her father has been explaining why she doesn’t like talking about him. “Although I love my dad very much, I did only spend a fraction of my adolescence around him,” she told The Observer in 2002. “This is probably why I try to downplay our relationship in the press.”
Jones sparked a minor controversy in 2003 when she didn’t specifically mention her father in any of her various acceptances speeches at that year’s Grammys, which she and her 2002 debut, Come Away With Me, dominated. She later told Oprah Winfrey why.
“I thanked everybody – my mom and my entire family. My dad is included in that,” Jones said in the July 2003 issue of Winfrey’s magazine. “My mom was involved in the daily stress of making this record. We talk every day on the phone, no matter what. I talk to my dad every five months, so it’s not like I dissed him by not singling him out. I didn’t think it was appropriate for me to thank him, because he didn’t help me with the record. It’s not that he isn’t supportive – it’s just that I don’t talk to him that often.”