PAINTER DERAILED BY CIRCUMSTANCE
ACTIVE FROM 1964 - 2013
Drawing from folk, pop, rock, and jazz, Mitchell's songs often reflect social and environmental ideals as well as her feelings about romance, confusion, disillusionment, and joy. Some of her original songs were covered by other folk singers, allowing her to sign with Reprise Records and record her debut album, Song to a Seagull, in 1968 Settling in Southern California, Mitchell, with popular songs like "Big Yellow Taxi" and "Woodstock", helped define an era and a generation. In 2000, The New York Times chose her album Blue as one of the 25 albums that represented "turning points and pinnacles in 20th-century popular music". She then switched labels and began exploring more jazz-influenced melodic ideas, by way of lush pop textures, on 1974's Court and Spark, which became her best-selling album. Around 1975, Mitchell's vocal range began to shift from mezzo-soprano to more of a wide-ranging contralto. Her distinctive piano and open-tuned guitar compositions also grew more harmonically and rhythmically complex as she explored jazz, melding it with influences of rock and roll, R&B, classical music and non-western beats. She later turned again toward pop, embraced electronic music, and engaged in political protest. Mitchell is the sole producer credited on most of her albums, including all her work in the 1970s. A blunt critic of the music industry, she quit touring and released her 17th, and reportedly last, album of original songs in 2007. With roots in visual art, Mitchell has designed most of her own album covers. She describes herself as a "painter derailed by circumstance".