Artist of The Day: Joni Mitchell

posted by Shane German on 03/29/2019

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Friday, March 29th: JONI MITCHELL

Roberta Joan "Joni" Mitchell is a Canadian singer-songwriter but really needs no introduction.

Drawing from folk, pop, rock, and jazz, Mitchell's songs often reflect social and environmental ideals as well as her feelings about romance, confusion, disillusionment, and joy.

She has received many accolades, including nine Grammy Awards. Rolling Stone called her "one of the greatest songwriters ever", and AllMusic has stated, "When the dust settles, Joni Mitchell may stand as the most important and influential female recording artist of the late 20th century".

Mitchell began singing in small nightclubs in her hometown of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and throughout western Canada, before busking in the streets and nightclubs of Toronto, Ontario. In 1965, she moved to the United States and began touring. Settling in Southern California, Mitchell debuted in 1968 with “Song to a Seagull,” and continued creating popular songs like "Big Yellow Taxi" and "Woodstock," songs that helped define an era and a generation.

Her 1971 album ‘Blue” is often cited as one of the best albums of all time.

Around 1975, Mitchell's vocal range began to shift from mezzo-soprano to more of a wide-ranging contralto. Her distinctive piano and open-tuned guitar compositions also grew more harmonically and rhythmically complex as she explored jazz, melding it with influences of rock and roll, R&B, classical music, and non-western beats.

In the late 1970s, she began working closely with noted jazz musicians, among them Jaco Pastorius, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Pat Metheny, as well as Charles Mingus, who asked her to collaborate on his final recordings.

During the 80’s and 90’s, she turned again toward pop, embraced electronic music, and engaged in political protest.

In 2002, she was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 44th Annual Grammy Awards.

Mitchell is the sole producer credited on most of her albums. With roots in visual art, Mitchell has also designed most of her own album covers.

She describes herself as a "painter derailed by circumstance".  She recently celebrated her 75th Birthday.



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