Photo: Larry Hulst/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
A Woman Of Influence: Joni Mitchell, Looking Back From 75
Winner of eight GRAMMY Awards and recipient of the Recording Academy's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002, Joni Mitchell epitomizes the singer/songwriter's expressive path. Born on Nov. 7 in 1943, her upcoming 75th birthday will be marked as a special occasion to celebrate her influence and inspiration across the music world in many different genres. GRAMMY winners and nominees will be on hand at Los Angeles' The Music Center on Nov. 6–7 to perform works from all 19 albums in celebration of Mitchell's 75th.
GRAMMY winners performing on the two special nights are Emmylou Harris, Norah Jones, Chaka Khan, Diana Krall, Kris Kristofferson, Los Lobos, Graham Nash, and Seal. "Joni is the reason I became a musician," said Seal, "so the opportunity to take part in this means everything to me." Seal sang as featured artist on Mitchell's track "How Do You Stop" from her Turbulent Indigo, winner of Best Pop Album at the 38th GRAMMY Awards.
GRAMMY nominees performing on the two nights at The Music Center include Glen Hansard and Rufus Wainwright. "When in her presence, the day dissolves and one glimpses something beyond, something very far away, yet oddly more concrete," said Wainwright. "Everything about her is oraculous." In addition to the performers, drummer Brian Blade and pianist Jon Cowherd are co-music directors for the nights and previously recorded with Mitchell as Brian Blade And The Fellowship Band.
So far the two Mitchell albums inducted into the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame are 1971's Blue and 1974's Court And Spark. While these albums stand tall as folk classics, Mitchell's creative reach has touched so much more than folk, as the lineup for her tribute suggests.
Skylar Grey is a GRAMMY nominated singer/songwriter who has written hits for Dr. Dre. and Eminem. Grey credits Joni Mitchell as a leading influence for her poetic lyrics, alongside Grey's other influence, Eminem. Although she tries to keep her commercial work away from niches some might find weird, Grey was reassured by Mitchell's freedom and accomplishment that she can go all out herself.
In 1997 Janet Jackson released "Got 'Till It's Gone" combining Mitchell into the mix along with Q-Tip on Jackson's album The Velvet Rope, using an upbeat sample from "Big Yellow Taxi." At the 40th GRAMMY Awards, the song brought Jackson her fourth of five career GRAMMYs to date, in the category Best Short Form Music Video.
The Nov. 7 concert will be followed by a fundraising gala "The Music Center's Soirée: JONI 75," in partnership with Vanity Fair. Tickets for the concerts are now on sale.