Joni Mitchell is an iconoclast, to say the very least. She’s a non-conformist who has always trodden her own path. She’s true to her loose idea of free will, and this is something that has always set her apart. She’s enjoyed commercial success as well as more niche artistic enlightenment and has been associated with some of the biggest names in the creative world. In terms of her career, Mitchell has achieved it all, experiencing both sides of the coin, and you could argue she has come out better for it.
Given her experiences and undoubted intelligence, Mitchell is one of the most captivating figures around. She possesses sage wisdom, and her takes on topics ranging from her artistry to poetry and the music of others are always refreshing.
Whilst some of her political views may not align with your own, it remains impossible to deny that Joni Mitchell is one of the most interesting characters in music history. Much of her thought is driven by self-awareness, which is a necessary antidote to the tripe that we often hear from successful artists. Mitchell has something to say, and this is why she is so loved.
In 1974, when Mitchell was arguably at the peak of her powers, the year she released Court and Spark, she gave an interview with her native Canada’s Maclean’s. The interviewer asked the songstress about a recurring theme in her work, love. Typically, Mitchell’s answer was a multi-faceted one.
She said: “Love… such a powerful force. My main interest in life is human relationships and human interaction and the exchange of feelings, person to person, on a one-to-one basis, or on a larger basis projecting to an audience. Love is a peculiar feeling because it’s subject to so much … change. The way that love feels at the beginning of a relationship and the changes that it goes through and I keep asking myself, ‘What is it?’ It always seems like a commitment to me when you said it to someone, ‘I love you’, or if they said that to you. It meant that you were there for them, and that you could trust them.”
“But knowing from myself that I have said that and then reneged on it in the supportive — in the physical — sense, that I was no longer there side by side with that person, so I say, well, does that cancel that feeling out? Did I really love? Or what is it? I really believe that the maintenance of individuality is so necessary to what we would call a true or lasting love that people who say ‘I love you’ and then do a Pygmalion number on you are wrong, you know. Love has to encompass all of the things that a person is. Love is a very hard feeling to keep alive. It’s a very fragile plant.”
There’s a lot of power to what Mitchell said about love. Her comments of its fragility are bang on and it’s something that we can all understand. She’s correct, love has to encompass all of the things that a person it. Don’t forget it.