Berklee awarded Joni Mitchell an honorary doctorate degree in recognition of her exceptional contribution to music. Known for her complex harmonies and soul-baring lyrics, Mitchell helped shape the sound of not just her own generation, but of those to come.
“Since her debut in the late 1960s, Joni has been a force for change in the industry, blazing the trail for women in music with an unwavering commitment to achieving the status rightfully due her as one of the world’s great musical artists,” Berklee President Erica Muhl said at the event, held in Santa Monica, California.
The event was an opportunity “to highlight Joni’s important work as an activist and champion for women in music through a collaboration tonight with the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice, an organization that has done pioneering work in this same area,” Muhl added.
“Well, luckily I’m too old to get a swelled head,” Mitchell said of receiving the honorary doctorate. “It’s a beautiful event. Words can’t describe it. I’ve got my good friends here with me,” she added, referencing Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock.
Mitchell has turned out quite a few impressive achievements over the course of her six-decade career. Last year, she was given a Kennedy Center Honor for her contribution to American culture, and this year the MusiCares Foundation named Mitchell its Person of the Year.
She’s been recognized in her native Canada with four Juno Awards. In addition, she’s won nine Grammys and won the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Recording Academy.
(Photo: Kelly Davidson)
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