Norah Jones and Josh Groban owe their success to the world's need to return to a golden era after 9/11, according to legendary producer Arif Mardin.

The 71-year-old producer, who helped turn Jones' COME AWAY WITH ME album into a multi-Grammy winner, is now fine tuning the follow-up.

And the former disco king, who is also working on Queen Latifah's upcoming standards album, insists it's no coincidence that the 'fireside' singers are scoring big hits on the album charts.

He says, "I think people like honest singers. These people have no pretension or conceit - it's just singing the songs.

"Post-9/11, I think more people are searching for solace and things that take them back to a safer time - I think they find that in Norah's work and Josh Groban.

"People want more from their artists - it's not about bearing your belly button."

Mardin, who has worked with greats like Aretha Franklin, Cher and the BEE GEES, admits pop music's current stars rarely excite him.

He adds, "I can't do the music that teenagers want. I'm not that young anymore. I'm glad I'm working with Queen Latifah and I'd really like to do something with Chrissie Hynde."

28/01/2004 15:43