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How Joni Mitchell influenced Björk: "My love for her was very intuitive and limitless"


It is difficult to comprehend just how much the supreme artistry of both Björk and Joni Mitchell has impacted the music industry as we know it today. A supremely male-driven industry while both musicians were at the peak of their powers, both Björk and Mitchell muscled their art to the top and paved the way for countless others behind them.

Mitchell, whose music has seamlessly slipped through the folk, pop, rock, and the jazz world, is a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and widely regarded as one of the greatest songwriters of all time. In a career that has continued to grow since her breakthrough in 1964, Mitchell’s creativity knows no bounds.

Björk, meanwhile, is an undisputed icon of the music industry herself and has flourished in a career that spans over four decades of pure originality. A keen student and avid fan of the wondrous world of sonic creativity. She would never call herself a complete artist as she sees music, like life on a whole, as a natural evolution.

Having been a part of the music industry since the tender age of 11, Björk has been raised within an intensely creative and unforgiving business. To be surrounded by the artists that have swirled around her own journey has clearly had an effect on her. Ever since she first gained international recognition as the lead singer of the alternative rock band the Sugarcubes, Björk has never stood still.

However, while Björk has always absorbed inspiration like the proverbial sponge, there’s always one redeeming factor to the iconic artists to have a major impact on her creative vision; powerful women. The Icelandic musician has made no secret of her adoration for Kate Bush over the years, but it is Joni Mitchell that appears to have the most profound impact on her life. “It is hard to even begin to talk about what Joni Mitchell means to me,” Björk once wrote on her official website.

“The first record of hers I discovered was Don Juan’s Daughter; I was around fourteen, fifteen and I knew it by heart (still do, every instrument, every noise, every word),” she added. “I would love to cover sometime some of the songs of that album but they might be too sacred for me, too immaculate for me even to be able to suggest that they might be done in any other way.”

Explaining further and detailing how Joni Mitchell’s artistry impacted her vision from a very young age, Björk added: “At that age my love for her was very intuitive and limitless with total ignorance of her meaning in North America in the hippy era, for example. I guess now later when I am a bit more knowledgeable about foreigners and history and context and such things I understand better her importance to the world and why she made such an impact on a teenage girl in Iceland.

“In a music-world ruled by males she continues to be the only one (except perhaps Kate Bush) who created an all-female universe with intuition, wisdom, intelligence, craftsmanship, and courage: had the guts to set up a world driven by extreme female emotion, almost any other female out there is fronting an already male-made sensibility,” she added in reference to Mitchell.

“There is no space to even go into her lyrics here, which are heavyweight literature, especially in the context of popular music.”

To round off her adoration, enjoy below Björk’s unique cover of ‘The Boho Dance’, a track taken from Mitchell’s 1975 studio album The Hissing of Summer Lawns.

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