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25 August 2022

Joni Mitchell Receives Honorary Doctorate From Berklee College of Music

Joni Mitchell Grammys 2022
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Joni Mitchell has accepted an honorary doctorate degree from the Berklee College of Music.

Mitchell received the honour during a private gathering in Santa Monica hosted by Linda and Russell Brown of MaddocksBrown Foundation.

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“Well, luckily I’m too old to get a swelled head,” the singer said during her speech. “It’s a beautiful event. Words can’t describe it. I’ve got my good friends here with me.

“I wish my parents were alive. My mother in particular would be really proud of this because she wanted me to go to college. I went to art school and I quit after a year. She thinks of me as a quitter. So to see this achievement would be really impressive to her. I wish I could share it with her.”

Mitchell was introduced by Berklee’s president, Erica Muhl, who referred to the iconic singer-songwriter as “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.”

Jazz musician and Berklee professor Terri Lyne Carrington, who is also the founder and artistic director of the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice, delivered a speech along with the singer.

“I am thrilled that we are finally able to honour Joni Mitchell,” Terri said. “Her career and social principles stand for the values our institute pursues – imagination, freedom, equity, and identity. I can think of no one more deserving.”

Dianne Reeves, Esperanza Spalding, and Säje gave special tribute performances during the evening, along with a group of Berklee students who performed Joni’s songs, including a A Case of You and Love, among others.

Last month, Mitchell made a surprise appearance at the Newport Folk Festival, where she played a full set and performed alongside Brandi Carlile, marking her first major live performance since 2013.

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