-> ''"I want the full hyphen: [[NeoClassicalPunkZydecoRockabilly folk-rock-country-jazz-classical]], so finally when you get all the hyphens in, maybe they'll drop them all, and get down to just some American music."''

Roberta Joan "Joni" Mitchell (née Anderson, born November 7, 1943) is a Canadian singer, song-writer and painter. She was born in Alberta, and began singing around the age of nine, after a case of polio. To get the biographical data out of the way: she made a short attempt to go to college, leaving after a year; in 1965, she gave birth to a girl, but not long after, she gave the girl up for adoption. She married Chuck Mitchell later that same year.

Now onto the important bits. She made her breakthrough in the mid 1960s, relocating to New York City and travelling up and down the Northeast coast, playing in cafes and bars. Many of the songs she had written and sung were [[CoverVersion covered]] by other artists during this time, a trend that would continue as her popularity grew. Many of these covers allowed these artists to [[CoveredUp eclipse Mitchell's own career]], including Judy Collins' cover of "Both Sides, Now", which became a top ten hit in 1967.

It wasn't until 1970 that she reached mainstream success, under the guidance of producer David Crosby, of [[Music/CrosbyStillsNashAndYoung Crosby, Stills, and Nash]], winning ''Grammy Award for Best Folk Performance'' for her album ''Clouds''. She continued to recieve critical and commercial success, incorporating [[GenreShift more and more jazz-influenced songs]] compared to her previous acoustic work. By the 1980s, her work failed to reach the same success as before, with 1979's ''Mingus'' (a collaboration with Music/CharlesMingus) being her first album not to sell at least half a million copies.

This trend continued until the 1990s, particularly after the release of the Grammy-awards CD ''Turbulent Indigo'' in 1994. This is largely thanks to a return to her original sound and playing style. Her newfound success would continue until her retirement in 2002, though she later released several new [=CDs=] since then. A memoir is also supposedly in the works.

Mitchell musical style consists of non-standard guitar tuning, elaborate orchestration (occasionally verging on BaroquePop territory), lush vocal harmonies, and borrowing elements from various genres (rock, jazz, [[NewWaveMusic New Wave]], folk and pop, for starters).

* ''Song to a Seagull'' (1968)
* ''Clouds'' (1969)
* ''Ladies of the Canyon'' (1970)
* ''Music/BlueJoniMitchellAlbum'' (1971)
* ''For the Roses'' (1972)
* ''Court and Spark'' (1974)
* ''Miles of Aisles'' (1974) (live album)
* ''The Hissing of Summer Lawns'' (1975)
* ''Music/{{Hejira}}'' (1976)
* ''Don Juan's Reckless Daughter'' (1977)
* ''Mingus'' (1979)
* ''Shadows and Light'' (1980) (live album)
* ''Wild Things Run Fast'' (1982)
* ''Dog Eat Dog'' (1985)
* ''Chalk Mark in a Rain Storm'' (1988)
* ''Night Ride Home'' (1991)
* ''Turbulent Indigo'' (1994)
* ''Taming the Tiger'' (1998)
* ''Both Sides Now'' (2000)
* ''Travelogue'' (2002)
* ''Shine'' (2007)
* ''Amchitka, The 1970 Concert That Launched Greenpeace'' (2009) ([[DepartmentOfRedundancyDepartment live album]])
!!Tropes in her life and work include:

* AgeProgressionSong: "The Circle Game" - this is also an AnswerSong to her friend Music/NeilYoung's "Sugar Mountain".
* AlbumTitleDrop: "Blue", from, well, ''Blue''.
* UsefulNotes/AmeliaEarhart : "Amelia" isn't exactly about her, but Mitchell addresses it to her.
* AntiChristmasSong : "River"
* BerserkButton:
** Never compare her to Music/BobDylan. '''Never'''.
*** She has [[AvertedTrope denied having criticised]] Bob Dylan [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gZY8aDg_dTI in a 2013 TV interview]], explaining that the L.A. Times interviewer who wrote the story was "a moron" and "an asshole" who quoted her out of context.
** Don't refer to her as a "folk singer" either.
* CelebrityIsOverrated: A stance she has stayed with from the beginning of her career. WordOfGod was that she arrived at this conclusion after seeing a tearful Sandra Dee being mistreated by the tabloid press during her divorce from Music/BobbyDarin.
* TheChick: Magazine/RollingStone considered her to be this to all the male rock stars in L.A. in the '70s. The magazine called Mitchell the "Old Lady of the Year"[[note]]In the 1960s and 70s, your "old lady" was a woman you were comfortable with, a relationship that really meant something, whether formally married or not.[[/note]] and the "Queen of El Lay".
* ConLang: Mitchell created a mythological world with its own language. Naming is based on initial letters of important sayings: a race of tiny men are called Mosalm (Maybe Our Souls Are Little Men), and the tiny women are called Posall (Perhaps Our Souls Are Little Ladies). The queen, Siquomb, gets her name from the phrase "She Is Queen Undisputedly of Mind Beauty", and lends her name to Joni's official music publishing company. The song "Sisotowbell Lane" uses this language as well: "Somehow, In Spite Of Troubles, Ours Will Be Ever Lasting Love".
* ContemplateOurNavels: "Refuge of the Roads" was partly inspired by the time Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche induced her into a temporary, three-day state where the concept of "I" was absent from her.
* DomesticAbuse: "Not to Blame" is about a serial abuser who never takes responsibility for all of his failed relationships, some of which drove his partners to suicide. It's been alleged that the song's subject is Mitchell's ex-boyfriend Music/JacksonBrowne, who was facing down allegations that he physically abused his ex-girlfriend DarylHannah[[note]]Ms. Hannah maintains that this did happen; as of 2014 she has a steady relationship with Neil Young.[[/note]] at the time ''Turbulent Indigo'' was released. Mitchell has denied this, but the similarities between the song's lyrics and known events in Browne's personal life has allowed the rumors to persist.
* DrunkenSong: "Talk to Me", about begging for conversation from someone not willing to speak, gains entirely new context from its opening line:
-->''There was a moon and a streetlamp'' \\
''I didn't think I drank such a lot'' \\
''Till I pissed a tequila anaconda the full length of the parking lot.''
* DualMeaningChorus : "Big Yellow Taxi"
* GranolaGirl: The Bohemian, creative women in "Ladies of the Canyon" could be this.
* GreenAesop: "Big Yellow Taxi", again.
* HookerWithAHeartOfGold: Subverted with "Raised on Robbery", where the character in question tries to make herself out to be one of these, but instead comes off as an abrasive, obnoxious LowerClassLout who manages to drive off a prospective john (not that he intended to hire her in the first place, as it's made obvious that he simply wanted to enjoy his drink in peace).
* LampshadeWearing: "People's Parties":
-->''Photo Beauty gets attention''\\
''[[YourMakeupIsRunning Then her eye paint's running down]]''\\
''She's got a rose in her teeth''\\
''And a lampshade crown''
* LighterAndSofter : Crosby, Stills and Nash's cover of ''Woodstock'' was quite different from her original slow, sparse work.
* NeoClassicalPunkZydecoRockabilly:
** While ''Court and Spark'' included jazz-tinged songs, ''The Hissing of Summer Lawns'' really showed Joni's switch from folk rock to folk jazz and includes a song made from a Moog synthesizer and a looped recording of Burundi drumming. Joni's love for jazz climaxed on the Shadows and Light tour in 1979-80, which featured prominent members of both Weather Report and Pat Metheny Group, two leading jazz fusion bands. 1982's ''Wild Things Run Fast'' suddenly switched things on their head, showcasing an 80s pop sound.
** ''Don Juan's Reckless Daughter'' featured both a 16-minute song of improvised piano with orchestration and two songs (7 and 4 minutes each, back to back) of fiery Latin percussion, with Chaka Khan singing.
* NewSoundAlbum: ''For the Roses'' introduced the jazzy textures that would dominate her later work.
* NiceHat: A lot of photos from the '70s show her wearing a beret, including on the cover of ''Music/{{Hejira}}''.
* OneManSong: "Carey". The significant other the song concerns just happened to have an androgynous name.
* OneWomanSong: "Amelia", which is (sort of, in a way) about Amelia Earhart.
* OrchestralVersion: An entire album of these with ''Both Sides Now''.
* PiecesOfGod: "Woodstock".
* PrecisionFStrike: From "Woman of Heart and Mind"
-->''Drive your bargains''\\
''Push your papers''\\
''Win your medals''\\
''Fuck your strangers''\\
''Don't it leave you on the empty side?''
* PrettyFlyForAWhiteGuy: Her flirtation with jazz could be an example. She also explained her appearance in {{Blackface}} on the cover of ''Don Juan's Reckless Daughter'' as claiming that the character, dubbed "Art Nouveau," was a representation of her "black soul."
* ReallyGetsAround: The narrator of "Just Like This Train" is the sexually dysfunctional version of this trope, dealing with a breakup by going on a relentless sex spree.
* RefrainFromAssuming
* ReligionRantSong: "Tax Free" is her Type 3 rant against televangelists preaching like {{Church Militant}}s while living, well, tax-free.
* SelfBackingVocalist: She uses the technique a lot on her recordings.
* ShoutOut: That Music/LedZeppelin song "Going to California" about a woman "with love in her eyes and flowers in her hair"? [[TheMuse That's Joni]]. Robert Plant had a crush on her when he was writing the lyrics.
* SignatureStyle: Her open or non-standard guitar tunings, which she calls "Joni's weird chords". There are almost 50 different tunings.
* SmokingIsCool : Joni began smoking at the age of 9, and it is reportedly one reason for her voice's decline in later years.
* StageNames: Joni's real name is Roberta Joan Anderson.
* TerraDeforming: "Big Yellow Taxi".
* UnusualEuphemism:
** "Blue Motel Room": "I know that you've got all those pretty girls coming 'round, hanging on your boom-boom-pachyderm"
** "Court and Spark"
* VocalEvolution: Her voice became deeper and lower as she aged and chain smoking took a toll on her vocal range.
* WanderlustSong: ''Hejira'', written on a road trip from New York to Los Angeles, has two of them: "Song for Sharon", where the protagonist concludes by telling Sharon, "You've still got your music / And I've got my eyes on the land and the sky / You sing for your friends and your family / I'll walk green pastures by and by"; and "Refuge of the Roads", based on Joni's road trip itself (as well as an episode of her life where her sense of ego was temporarily removed by a yogi.)
* WithLyrics: Mitchell added lyrics to Music/CharlesMingus' "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat" on ''Mingus''.
* YouKeepUsingThatWord: She's often referred to as a "folk singer," though her output is a lot more...[[NeoclassicalPunkZydecoRockabilly eclectic.]]