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Web Site Reunites Joni Mitchell and Daughter

Steve Silberman

April 7, 1997


Toronto model Kilauren Gibb, 31, knew she had a mother somewhere - one who had given her up for adoption a year after she was born. In January, a Canadian adoption agency informed Gibb that her mother was a musician who had polio as a child. What Gibb didn't know was that her mother was singer/songwriter Joni Mitchell - until she looked at the Joni Mitchell Homepage, a labor of devotion by fan Wally Breese.

"My purpose has always been to pay Joni back for all the music she's given the world," says Breese. "But this is more than I could have hoped for." Mother and daughter, who could not be reached for comment, spent last week getting to know each other in Los Angeles. Gibb - born when the songwriter was still an unknown art student in Calgary, Alberta - also informed Mitchell that she is the grandmother of a 4-year-old boy.

When the reclusive Mitchell told a reporter from The New York Times last year that she was eager to find the daughter she'd described in a tender song called "Little Green," Breese's inbox began filling up with emails from women who hoped they were the one. "I got lots of email saying, 'Help me - I need to find my mom,'" Breese says. Breese developed a list of questions based on Mitchell's life, and if enough questions were answered correctly, Breese would refer the candidate to Mitchell's manager.

Ironically, Gibb wasn't a fan of Mitchell's music. A friend of the model's noticed the physical resemblance while looking at the Web site, and pointed Gibb to it. Reading the biographical material there, Gibb became convinced that she'd found her mother. An excited exchange of email with Breese led to calls to Mitchell's staff, and finally the singer herself, which confirmed it.

"If my site can make her happy, I've hit my ultimate goal," Breese says of Mitchell.

 

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