By Stephen M. Silverman
February 25, 2003 01:00 PM

Winning five Grammys in one fell swoop — as Norah Jones did Sunday night — might be thought of as a life-altering experience.

Looking into the two-year rise of the new Grammy queen, 23 (whose debut album, “Come Away with Me,” paved the way for album, record and song of the year honors), The New York Times sought out the old friends and former haunts of the young musician to learn of her past.

And despite her multiplatinum success, it turns out she’s still Norah from the block.

A New York native (and the daughter of sitarist Ravi Shankar and ’70s concert producer Sue Jones), Norah moved to Texas when she was 4, and eventually studied jazz piano at North Texas State University in Denton before returning to the Big Apple.

One of her early haunts, says the paper, is the Living Room, described as a homey, scruffy bar on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. During the summer of 2000, Jones started performing solo before the place’s reputedly sophisticated audiences.

“I saw her first gig,” said Sean Fuller, a playwright and former bartender at the place. “Just her playing piano. Maybe 20 people watching.”

He saw her last Sunday at the Grammys. “I’m proud of her because she’s genuinely talented and a very, very kind person,” Fuller said. “She feels like one of our own.”

And she apparently still is. The New York Post published a big color photo of Jones’s current residence: a humble $1,400-a-month, two-bedroom apartment in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. She shares it with her boyfriend, Lee Alexander, says the paper.

The walk-up apartment is right upstairs from a barbershop.

“She blends right into the neighborhood,” Alecia Cortez, owner of the Terra Blanca Deli in the nabe, tells the Post. “She always says hello … and asks me for help on how to make breakfast.”

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