When appearing on the second part of Clive Davis’ virtual Grammy party, the ‘Both Sides Now’ singer also looks back at writing her first track when she was seven and quitting piano lessons.
AceShowbiz –Joni Mitchell stole the show at music mogul Clive Davis‘ virtual Grammy party on Saturday night, May 15 by giving a rare interview.
The reclusive “Both Sides Now” singer spoke to the industry executive about her early career and her legacy, during the second part of Davis’ all-star get together, which was postponed from March following Davis’ Bell’s palsy diagnosis.
Mitchell, who has made a few public appearances since suffering a brain aneurysm in 2015, appeared from her home in Los Angeles, alongside her pet cat Bootsy.
Davis introduced the music legend by showing a 2000 performance of “Both Sides Now”, which she re-recorded with an orchestra.
“The British performance – the one that’s on the record – was very exciting, because the orchestra was weeping,” Joni recalled. “When you see Englishmen weeping while you’re performing, you know, it’s very moving. So there’s a lot of emotional charge to that performance.”
She also discussed the inspiration for the song and revealed she wrote her first track, “Robin Walk”, when she was seven, and played it for her piano teacher.
“She hit me across the knuckles with a ruler and said, ‘Why would you want to play by ear when you could have the Masters at your fingers?’ She just treated me like a bad child and I quit piano lessons. From then on, I was self-taught.”
She added, “My early work is kind of fantasy, which is why I sort of rejected it. I started scraping my own soul more and more and got more humanity in it. It scared the singer/songwriters around me; the men seemed to be nervous about it, almost like Dylan plugging in and going electric. Like, ‘Does this mean we have to do this now?’ “
“But over time, I think it did make an influence. 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,’ and yet, that’s not true; they’re getting a lot of covers. It’s just humanness that I’m trying to describe. This generation is ready for what I had to say, I guess, and is not so nervous about it.”
Following Joni’s chat with Clive, Brandi Carlile, who penned the liner notes to Mitchell’s upcoming “The Reprise Albums (1968-1971)” archives series, covered “A Case of You”.
The second part of Davis’ six-hour Grammys celebration also featured performances from and chats with Paul Simon, Da Baby, Dave Grohl, Motown founder Berry Gordy, Jr., H.E.R., Elton John] and John Mellencamp.
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