Joni Mitchell Says She Used to Make Other Artists Nervous
Joni Mitchell looked back on her early career and suggested some people felt “nervous” about her famously honest and introspective approach to songwriting.
In a new interview with Elton John on his Rocket Hour show on Apple Music 1, she also confirmed there were plans to release a recording of her unannounced performance at the Newport Folk Festival earlier this year.
“At the time… I took a lot of flak if anything – people thought that it was too intimate,” Mitchell told John of her formative years. “I think it upset the male singer-songwriters. They’d go, ‘Oh no. Do we have to bare our souls like this now?’ I think it made people nervous.” But she argued things had changed slowly over time. “It took to this generation – they seem to be able to face those emotions more easily than my generation,” she said.
Mitchell also reported that she hadn’t rehearsed for the Newport show, during which she had to take account of the effects of the brain aneurysm she’d suffered in 2015. “Didn't have any," she said of pre-show preparations. “We just winged it.” She went on to explain why she didn’t sing during her performance of “Just Like This Train,” saying: “I couldn't sing the key. I’ve become an alto. I'm not a soprano any more, so I couldn't sing the song. I thought people might feel lighted if I just played the guitar part – but I like the guitar part to that song. So anyway, it was very well received, much to my delight.”
Asked about releasing the performance as an album, Mitchell replied: “Yeah, we're trying to put that out.” But when John suggested she should return to the studio and record new music, she avoided offering a response. She recently announced her first full concert in decades, set to take place in June 2023.
The full Rocket Hour show is aired on Apple Music 1 today (Nov. 12) at 5PM local time.