Joni Mitchell Reveals That Her Songwriting Development Made Her Male Contemporaries “Nervous”
via Joni Mitchell/YouTube
Her Songwriting Also Encouraged Others
Joni Mitchell gave a rare interview at a virtual Grammys party that was hosted by Arista Records founder Clive Davis. The event was initially scheduled last March but had to be postponed after Davis was diagnosed with Bell’s Palsy. It’s no secret that Mitchell has penned some of the greatest and most unforgettable songs of the late 1960s through the ’70s. At the time, the music industry was still mostly dominated by men. But it wasn’t long before she came into her own as a songwriter.
“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,” she said. “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,” she added. “It encouraged people to write more from their own experience.”
She also shared that people used to tell her that other musicians wouldn’t bother covering her songs because the lyrics were “too personal”. But that’s not even remotely close to the truth. On the contrary, her classic hits have been covered countless times.
“It’s just humanness that I’m trying to describe,” she mused. “This generation is ready for what I had to say, I guess, and is not so nervous about it.”