JONI MITCHELL by Malka Marom


In Her Own Words
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Three deep-running interviews with singer-songwriter Mitchell, by singer-journalist Marom.

Conducted in 1973, 1979 and 2012, these are more conversations than interviews; Mitchell picks up Marom’s questions and turns them about as she fashions an answer. She is as candid here as she is sometimes cryptic in her lyrics: revelatory, nervy, emotionally and existentially raw. She doesn’t belabor her romantic relationships (as Rolling Stone was fond of doing) but fills in blanks about her younger days, alone and pregnant and destitute in Toronto, strumming her way to the big stage via a ukulele and weeks of practice. Mitchell is happier, it seems, talking about Nietzsche, Jung and the I Ching or summoning what it is like to be uniquely alive on stage: “One of the things I have had to battle is an almost euphoric feeling….You’re up there alone and receiving all this mass adoration, and you’re liking it.” She bluntly shatters her fantasy-princess stereotype and speaks, without ornament, about a variety of issues. She blazes contempt for the ignorance of our species, speaks up for the role of depression in her art, and considers the discomfiture of affluence and the meaning of work. About her career arc? Q: “What was actually the turning point?” A: “Turning point? I don’t see it as a turning point. I see it as a long, very slow gradual spectrum….” In a later interview, she rejects the onstage sublimity she once discerned. “I was never addicted to applause....The measure for me was the art itself.” But at any moment she can dive into the miracle of making music: “The great things nearly always come on the edge of an error. What comes after the error is spectacular.”

The gifted, adventurous musician talks as brilliantly as she writes and sings.

Pub Date: Oct. 9th, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-7704-1132-6
Page count: 344pp
Publisher: ECW Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 2014


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