Roll out the blue carpet: Joni Mitchell has been named the 2022 Person of the Year by the Recording Academy’s MusiCares organisation.
Mitchell, 77, whose landmark albums include ‘For the Roses,’ ‘Court and Spark,’ ‘Hejira’ and ‘Blue,’ which turned 50 in June, will be honoured with a tribute concert on January 29, 2022 — two days prior to the 64th annual Grammy Awards.
The all-star salute to Mitchell marks a return for the annual MusiCares concert. The charity put its 2021 gala on hold so it could direct its energy toward ‘Music on a Mission,’ a televised COVID-19 pandemic fund-raiser that featured Haim, H.E.R., Jhene Aiko and Bruce Springsteen.
“I’m honoured to be chosen as person of the year by this great charity,” Mitchell said in a statement accompanying the MusiCares announcement. “I look forward to being part of this gala that will help MusiCares continue their inspired work in providing a support system for those in need.”
The first recipient of the MusiCares Person of the Year award was Mitchell’s one-time producer David Crosby in 1991, and in the intervening years the academy has honoured artists including Carole King, Bob Dylan, Dolly Parton, Lionel Richie and Fleetwood Mac. The non-profit organisation’s mission is to provide aid to music industry professionals in need, whether via emergency financial assistance, addiction treatment or senior housing.
The normally private Mitchell, who has been nominated for 16 Grammys and won eight, has been relatively ubiquitous of late, whether sending a video message to fans on ‘Blue’’s 50th anniversary or posing for a photo on Instagram with famous friends and admirers.
Last year, Rhino Records launched a reissue campaign aiming to further solidify her legacy for a new generation. ‘Joni Mitchell Archives Vol. 1: The Early Years (1963-1967)’ gathered recordings that stretched from her folk singer roots in Canada through her arrival in Los Angeles. Earlier this year Rhino followed up with newly remastered versions of her first four solo albums for Reprise.
‘Archives Vol 2,’ scheduled for release Oct. 29, will feature nearly six hours of unreleased home, studio and live recordings.
“It’s amazing to me, looking at all of this attention my work has gotten recently,” Mitchell told Cameron Crowe in the Los Angeles Times in June. “I’m always so moved when people tell me how the music has affected them.”
Mitchell will earn more plaudits in Washington, DC, on Dec. 5, when she’ll be one of five recipients of the annual Kennedy Center Honors. She’ll join opera singer Justino Diaz, Motown Records’ Berry Gordy, ‘Saturday Night Live’ producer Lorne Michaels and singer-actor Bette Midler in the VIP seats.
In naming Mitchell Person of the Year, MusiCares described her as “one of the greatest, most important songwriters of our time.” Noting Mitchell’s “trailblazing spirit and being a poet of the ages,” she was lauded “for breaking down barriers for women in the music industry; for tenacity in creating and following her own voice and for her ability to bring comfort, joy and inspiration to countless listeners and artists alike.”
In March 2015, Mitchell suffered a debilitating brain aneurysm. She hasn’t sung in public since, although she’s recently been accompanying invited musicians and friends in song when they convene at her Bel-Air home for what’s become known as Joni’s Jams.
The single-night Mitchell celebration, at the Los Angeles Convention Center, will feature a bounty of acclaimed artists covering the artist’s work. The event, which features a live auction, generates more than $10 million (Dh36.7 million) annually for the charity.