Oprah: You've said your mother has always been your best friend. What wisdom has she imparted to you that you'll carry for the rest of your life?
Norah: She's really strong. She's a no-bullshit kind of woman. And she doesn't fake or play nice. If she doesn't like you, it's obvious.
Oprah: Are you that way, too?
Norah: I think I am—well, maybe a little less so. I'm not quite as blunt as she is.
Oprah: Was she upset when you left college to come to New York?
Norah: Yes, because I left with the intention of staying in New York for just one summer, and then I changed my mind. But she handled it well. After six months, I got really depressed and wanted to move home. I called and said, "Okay, Mom, I'm sorry I moved up here. I want to come stay with you and go back to school next semester." She said, "You know what? Why don't you just give it a year, and then come back if you still hate it." Since I knew she really did want me to return, I thought that was so cool of her.
Oprah: Your mom knew you had talent. How has she handled everything that's happened for you this year?
Norah: She's very proud, but I think it's also scary for her.
Oprah: Is it scary for you?
Norah: It was at first, but now I feel like the worst is over.
Oprah: The "worst" being five Grammys?
Norah: I almost had a breakdown a few months before the Grammys because I was doing too much and stressing out. I did eight hours of press every day. I was on my way to burnout. That's what I mean when I say "worst."
Oprah: So now you know when everything is becoming too much for you?
Norah: I do. Last May I said, "Either we cut all this press or I quit." I couldn't do it anymore. I don't care about all this crap if it's not fun. If it's fun and we're selling records, great. But if we're selling records and I'm about to go crazy, what's the point?
Oprah: So you're not going to allow yourself to be manufactured.
Norah: Right. I really can't be manufactured, because if you try to push me into something that's not me, I'll look very uncomfortable. It wouldn't work.