I was really, really into Joni Mitchell. I knew every word to Court and Spark; I worshiped her when I was in high school. Blue is amazing. I would have to say of all the women I’ve heard, she had the most profound effect on me from a lyrical point of view. -Madonna
Ever since I began watching MTV, way back in the 90s when they still played videos, female singer-songwriters have held a special place near and dear to my heart. Maybe it’s because they talk about things that resonate with me as a woman trying to find her place in this world, or maybe it’s because they have soothing voices. Whatever the reason, ladies with guitars always seem to make their way into heavy rotation on my iPod, and Joni Mitchell is no exception to this rule.
The Canadian born singer got her start like most folk singers setting up in coffee shops and singing for her supper on the street. After leaving Canada for Detroit and eventually New York, Mitchell’s unique songwriting and innovative guitar style placed her at the forefront of the folk movement. While she was and still is one of the baddest ladies to pick up an acoustic guitar, Mitchell’s musical career reaches way beyond the confines of acoustic folk music to both pop and rock. On top of her amazing musical talents, Mitchell is also a visual artist who created the artwork for each of her albums.
Like most bohemian types in the 60s and 70s, Joni Mitchell’s style provided the definition for the term hippie chic. Her iconic hairstyle of blunt bangs and free flowing locks paired with everything from simple black mini-dresses to airy maxi-dresses, has become the look of choice for every arts and craft, coffee shop guitar playing, indie girl from New York to LA. Mitchell’s style influence, like her music, reaches from indie girls in the counterculture to mainstream celebs like Nicole Richie and Rachel Zoe. Although I’ve never heard Nicole mention Joni Mitchell as a style influence, this pint-sized author/designer definitely channels a bit of Mitchell with her similar hairstyle, love of eclectic jewelry and penchant for cleaner version of the bohemian look that defined our parent’s generation.
Whether she’s strumming a guitar, stroking the keys of a piano, painting, or giving us a style lesson or two, Joni Mitchell is one of the most influential female singer-songwriters of the 20th century. For that reason, and because I generally like her, you better get up, get out, and load up your iTunes with her music.
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