Joni Mitchell is this year’s winner of the prestigious Gershwin Prize for Popular Song from the Library of Congress. The award will be presented to her during a televised tribute concert on March 1 in Washington, DC.
She is the third woman to be recognized with the award, after Carole King in 2013 and Gloria Estefan in 2019.
Joni Mitchell got her start performing in coffee shops and nightclubs in her native Canada nearly 60 years ago. She went on to set a new standard for marrying music and lyrics – with songs such as ‘Both Sides Now’, ‘Chelsea Morning’, ‘Big Yellow Taxi’, ‘Woodstock and ‘The Circle Game’, and classic albums like Blue, Clouds and Ladies of the Canyon.
“Joni Mitchell’s music and artistry have left a distinct impression on American culture and internationally, crossing from folk music with a distinctive voice whose songs will stay with us for the ages,” said Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. “Joni Mitchell’s music has so many artists and music lovers all singing her tunes. We are honored to present the Gershwin Prize to this musical genius.”
While Mitchell’s early music is often categorized as ‘folk’, her sound draws as much from jazz, classical and rock as she crossed various musical genres. Her music often encompasses bespoke tunings and song structures that defy categorization. As a lyricist, she delves deeply into both the personal and political, unafraid to explore the raw reality of living underneath societal norms and time-worn traditions.
Bestowed in recognition of the legendary songwriting team of George and Ira Gershwin, the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song is the United States’ highest award for influence, impact and achievement in popular music. The honoree is selected by the Librarian of Congress in consultation with a board of scholars, producers, performers, songwriters and other music specialists.
Previous recipients are Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, Sir Paul McCartney, songwriting duo Burt Bacharach and the late Hal David, Carole King, Billy Joel, Willie Nelson, Smokey Robinson, Tony Bennett, Emilio and Gloria Estefan, Garth Brooks, and Lionel Richie.
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