Joni Mitchell

1996 Lifetime Artistic Achievement (Popular Music)

Musician, poet, painter Joni Mitchell's talent, intelligence, and fierce independence have forged her a place at the top in a male-dominated music industry. Her efforts define a role for women generally in pop culture, opening the way for the younger female artists who've followed.

The poetry and lyricism of her work, while chronicling a generation, resonate with a universal audience. As a musician, she is a brilliant innovator. With her asymmetrical, sometimes dissonant compositions stemming from her exploration of harmonies, she's invented many new musical techniques. In guises from folk to rock to jazz, her musical ideas have shown no limits. She's recorded seventeen of her own albums, from Clouds (1969) and Blue (1971), through a jazz disc with Charlie Mingus, to her recent Turbulent Indigo (1994). Her influence on other musicians has always been deep and widespread. Singers from Dylan to Sinatra have identified with her work. True to herself, she's kept control of her career, her quest always to be a "fine artist in a pop medium".

A four-time Grammy winner and recipient of Billboard's Century Award (1995) for highest creative achievement, she's shared Sweden's "Polar Prize" with Pierre Boulez.