Joni Mitchell, a Grammy-winning artist with a career spanning nearly 60 years, graced the Grammy Awards stage for the first time on Sunday night, delivering a captivating rendition of her iconic song, “Both Sides Now.”
The significance of Mitchell’s performance extended beyond her musical prowess, as “Both Sides Now” played a pivotal role in her Grammy journey. In 1969, 55 years ago, Mitchell clinched her inaugural Grammy Award for the album “Clouds,” featuring the timeless track.
Mitchell adopted the “Joni Jam” style while perched on a throne and using her signature cane. Brandi Carlile, Allison Russell, Jacob Collier, Lucius, Sista Strings, and Blake Mills were also present. This format, known as “Joni Jam,” marked Mitchell’s return to the stage since overcoming a brain aneurysm in 2015, a testament to her resilience.
The pre-telecast Premiere Ceremony added to Mitchell’s triumphant night as she received the Grammy for Best Folk Album for “Joni Mitchell at Newport [Live].” Brandi Carlile, who stood beside her during the emotional moment, introduced Mitchell during the main event, emphasizing her profound impact on singer-songwriters.
Following the performance, Mitchell’s attorney confirmed to Variety that she had been released after a brief arrest earlier in the day. Despite this unexpected turn, Mitchell’s musical achievements were celebrated, marking her tenth Grammy overall.
Brandi Carlile, in her introduction, acknowledged Mitchell’s groundbreaking contribution to self-revealing singer-songwriting. She highlighted Mitchell’s resilience in overcoming challenges, including polio, poverty, and a near-catastrophic brain aneurysm in 2015. Carlile hailed Mitchell as a true Renaissance woman and the matriarch of creativity.
Mitchell’s return to live performances unfolded gradually over the past two years, including the “Joni Jam” ensembles with Brandi Carlile. The 80-year-old artist surprised fans with her Newport Folk Festival comeback in 2022, challenging the belief that she had ceased public performances after her health setback.
As Mitchell marked her Grammy debut performance, the ceremony honored her influential career with ten Grammy wins spanning from 1969 to 2022. Mitchell’s impact resonates far beyond awards, and her legacy was celebrated as she shared the stage with top performers at the 2024 Grammy Awards, creating a historic moment in her illustrious career.
In addition to her musical accomplishments, here are ten surprising facts about Joni Mitchell as she takes the Grammys stage in 2024:
- Birth Name: Joni Mitchell was born Roberta Joan Anderson on November 7, 1943, in Fort Macleod, Alberta, Canada.
- Childhood Struggle: Mitchell battled polio at the age of nine, experiencing recurrent symptoms later in life.
- First Paid Performance: In 1962, Mitchell’s musical journey began with her first paid performance at The Louis Riel coffee house in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.
- Reunion with Daughter: Mitchell gave birth to a daughter in 1965, whom she reunited with in 1997 after placing her for adoption.
- Hawaii-Inspired Song: Mitchell’s environmental anthem, “Big Yellow Taxi,” drew inspiration from a trip to Hawaii.
- Woodstock Inspiration: Although she didn’t attend Woodstock, Mitchell immortalized the iconic music festival in her song “Woodstock.”
- Surviving a Brain Aneurysm: Mitchell suffered a brain aneurysm in 2015 but successfully recovered, re-teaching herself how to play the guitar.
- Morgellons Sickness Claim: Mitchell has claimed to have Morgellons illness, a controversial condition causing skin sensations, challenging conventional medical understanding.
- Two Decades Without Concerts: Between 2000 and 2022, Mitchell refrained from giving a full-length concert until her surprise comeback at the Newport Folk Festival in 2022.
- Lifetime Achievement Award: In 2002, Mitchell received the highest Grammy honor, the Lifetime Achievement Award, recognizing her profound contributions to the music industry.
The fact that Joni Mitchell won her first Grammy and that she has left a lasting legacy confirms that she is a significant and enduring artist who is well-liked by both critics and followers.