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Joni Mitchell Leaves Taylor Swift, Meryl Streep and More in Tears With 1st Grammys Performance Print-ready version

by Erin Crabtree
US
February 4, 2024

VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images

Joni Mitchell made a major comeback at the 2024 Grammy Awards on Sunday, February 4.

The singer, 80, performed "Both Sides Now" during the ceremony, which was held at the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles. Mitchell sang while seated in an elaborate, gilded armchair while keeping time with her cane.

Mitchell's friend and collaborator Brandi Carlile introduced the performance, describing the way Mitchell had changed music. "Joni just turned 80, my friends," Carlile, 42, said. "But we all know she's timeless. She's timeless!"

Carlile also joined Mitchell on stage with Lucius, Blake Mills, SistaStrings and Jacob Collier. As Mitchell sang, the camera showed various members of the audience - including Taylor Swift, Meryl Streep and Mamie Gummer - holding back tears.

Mitchell was also a winner at the awards show, with Joni Mitchell at Newport [Live] taking home the trophy for Best Folk Album. The live album was recorded at the Newport Folk Festival in June 2022 and released in July 2023. (Mitchell made a surprise appearance at the event as a guest of Carlile.)

Prior to Sunday night's event, Mitchell had already won nine Grammys from 18 nominations, dating back to 1970. She also received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Grammys in 2002.

For years, Mitchell was believed to be retired from performing following a brain aneurysm in 2015, but she still hosted informal "Joni Jams" at her house following her health scare. She surprised the crowd at the Newport Folk Festival in 2022 with a "Joni Jam" and has since appeared at a highly publicized "Joni Jam" in Washington and a Brandi Carlile & Friends show at the Hollywood Bowl in 2023.

While Mitchell remained largely out of the spotlight after her medical setback, she gave her first interview since the incident in 2021, reflecting on her career in a virtual sit-down with record producer Clive Davis.

"When I first started writing less from fantasy, when I started scraping my own soul more and getting more humanity in it, it scared the singer-songwriters around me. The men seemed to be nervous about it. ... Like, 'Does this mean we have to do this now?'" she recalled of her songwriting journey. "But over time, I think it did make an influence. I think it encouraged people to write more from their own experience."

"People used to say to me, 'Nobody's ever going to cover your songs. They're too personal,'" she continued. "And yet that's not true. They're getting a lot of covers. So that's really encouraging to me because I thought, 'I don't see why these men are so upset about it. ... It's just humanness that I'm trying to describe.'"

As a matter of fact, Mitchell has become popular with young people who identify with her lyrics, noting, "It's like this generation is ready for what I had to say, I guess, and is not so nervous about it."

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Added to Library on February 5, 2024. (769)

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