Joni Mitchell

by Erika Cox
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Joni Mitchell is a very talented artist with a folk background mixed with classical and jazz influences. She was also known to engage in many social issues with her songs. Joni Mitchell was born Roberta Joan Anderson on November 7, 1943 in Canada.

She was born in Alberta but her family eventually moved to Saskatchewan. She took piano lessons at age seven and was enrolled in Art school. At age nine, she came down with Polio but recovered in the hospital, while in the hospital recovering, she her first performance to other patients in the hospital.

She began teaching herself how to play the guitar and ukulele as a teen and started playing at parties and clubs around local areas in Canada. In the 1960's, she continued playing in small clubs and coffeehouses, but this time it was in both America and Canada. After a divorce, she decided to keep her married name Mitchell and started calling herself Joni Mitchell.

Her first song, "Day by Day" was written in 1964 while attending a folk festival in Toronto. During the 1960's Mitchell's folk music career began to grow when she performed and recorded with numerous folk artists. In 1967, Mitchell signed with Reprise Records and recorded two successful albums.

Although her second album, Clouds, was much more popular and took her career to the next level. The album contained the popular song, "Big Yellow Taxi", which was an anti-progress song.

Mitchell was a very popular folk singer as well as a crossover artist because of her many collaborations with artists in other genres. She was invited to perform at the Woodstock festival in 1969. Her fourth album recorded in 1971, "Blue", was one of her most successful and memorable albums, with many of her signature songs recorded on this album.

During the 1970's Mitchell focused more on her classical and jazz influences and recorded a number of classical and jazz records. However, she still provided some influences of rock and pop in these recordings. She worked with a number of artists on these albums, including Herbie Hancock and Charles Mingus.

Although she expanded her musical talents, only some of her jazz and classical recordings were considered a success but those that were successfully only added to her diverse and talented musical influence and success. The recordings proved that she was not just a folksinger or a pop artist, but a talented music artist.

During the 1980's Mitchell didn't record as much, only recording three known albums. However, her recording "Chalk Mark in Rainstorm", which showcased a number of artists from Willie Nelson to Tom Petty, did very well. In recent years, Mitchell has continued to record both rock, classical and jazz songs.

As an accomplished guitarist and musician, Mitchell is considered to be a teacher or a musician's musician. Her work has been remade by a number of artists and she has been an influence in the lives' of many artists from Prince to Jimmy Page.

She has received a number of awards and recognitions, and was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 1981 and into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997. Like Stevie Wonder, she was awarded the Polar Music Prize, which is an international award for achievements in music.

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