50 Greatest Joni Mitchell Quotes of All Time

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Which are your favorite Joni Mitchell quotes?

Joni Mitchell is a Canadian singer-songwriter. She is famously recognized as one of the best musicians and songwriters of all time.

Over the course of her 40-years career, Mitchell has released an astonishing number of 17 albums, amassed nine Grammy Awards, and has successfully been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as well as the ‘Canadian Music Hall of Fame’.

Mitchell’s songs ‘Big Yellow Taxi’ and ‘Woodstock’ are widely celebrated as a big contribution in defining the 70s era and generation. In addition to being a legend of a musician, Mitchell also has a passion for painting and is known to have designed all her album covers.

Here’s a collection of the greatest Joni Mitchell quotes:


50 Greatest Joni Mitchell Quotes of All Time

1. “My family could only afford to get me the box of eight Crayola crayons, but I craved the one with all 24 colours. I wanted magenta and turquoise and silver and gold.” – Joni Mitchell

2. “The thing that gave me the most pain in life, psychologically, and it gave me tremendous pain psychologically, is man’s disrespect for nature.” – Joni Mitchell

3. “I came through folk music simply because it was easy to get into it.” – Joni Mitchell

4. “Fame is a series of misunderstandings surrounding a name.” – Joni Mitchell

5. “I always thought the women of song don’t get along, and I don’t know why that is.” – Joni Mitchell

6. “My childhood was very difficult. I had every childhood disease and then some, but my parents didn’t mollycoddle me. They left me to fight those battles on my own. I guess that was very Canadian, very stoic. But it’s good. I had to become a warrior. I had to give up hope and find a substitute for the hope that would be far more stable.” – Joni Mitchell

7. “Back then, I didn’t have a big organization around me. I was just a kid with a guitar, traveling around. My responsibility basically was to the art, and I had extra time on my hands. There is no extra time now. There isn’t enough time.” – Joni Mitchell

8. “I heard someone from the music business saying they are no longer looking for talent, they want people with a certain look and a willingness to cooperate.” – Joni Mitchell

9. “Eventually, with success, I started to feel more and more isolated – like I didn’t have a community of artists.” – Joni Mitchell


10th of 50 Joni Mitchell Quotes

10. “My life came down to being a granny and watching a lot of television.” – Joni Mitchell


11. “In some ways, my gift for music and writing was born out of tragedy, really, and loss.” – Joni Mitchell

12. “I come from pioneer stock, developers of the West, people who went out into the wilderness and set up home with nothing but a pair of oxen.” – Joni Mitchell

13. “I have an aversion to being mislabeled. Here’s a label I’d accept: I’m an ‘individual.’ I’m someone who can’t follow, and doesn’t want to lead.” – Joni Mitchell

14. “When the world becomes a massive mess with nobody at the helm, it’s time for artists to make their mark.” – Joni Mitchell

15. “I’m a very analytical person, a somewhat introspective person; that’s the nature of the work I do.” – Joni Mitchell

16. “You could write a song about some kind of emotional problem you are having, but it would not be a good song, in my eyes, until it went through a period of sensitivity to a moment of clarity. Without that moment of clarity to contribute to the song, it’s just complaining.” – Joni Mitchell

17. “Sorrow is so easy to express and yet so hard to tell.” – Joni Mitchell

18. “It’s in my stars to invent; I was born on Madame Curie’s birthday. I have this need for originals, for innovation. That’s why I like Charlie Parker.” – Joni Mitchell

19. “Americans have decided to be stupid and shallow since 1980.” – Joni Mitchell


20th of 50 Joni Mitchell Quotes

20. “This is a nation that has lost the ability to be self-critical, and that makes a lie out of the freedoms.” – Joni Mitchell


21. “My goal as a writer is more to comfort than to disturb.” – Joni Mitchell

22. “I thrive on change. That’s probably why my chord changes are weird because chords depict emotions. They’ll be going along on one key and I’ll drop off a cliff, and suddenly they will go into a whole other key signature. That will drive some people crazy, but that’s how my life is.” – Joni Mitchell

23. “My heart is broken in the face of the stupidity of my species.” – Joni Mitchell

24. “The God of the Old Testament is the depiction of evil.” – Joni Mitchell

25. “Rachmaninoff made a musician out of me. His ‘Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini’ was the piece that sent me into raptures. It spoke to me. To me, it was a tender entreaty for the misunderstood.” – Joni Mitchell

26. “My parents told me I’d point to a bed of flowers and say ‘Pink. Pretty,’ before I knew any other words.” – Joni Mitchell

27. “My style of songwriting is influenced by cinema. I’m a frustrated filmmaker. A fan once said to me, ‘Girl, you make me see pictures in my head!’ and I took that as a great compliment. That’s exactly my intention.” – Joni Mitchell

28. “Nobody understood The Reoccurring Dream, but after September 11, when we were coerced to do a national duty and go out and shop, surely people could begin to see what I was getting at.” – Joni Mitchell

29. “Edith Piaf knocked my socks off when I was 8, but I didn’t know what she was singing about.” – Joni Mitchell


30th of 50 Joni Mitchell Quotes

30. “I wanted to paint in a folk-artist-y way. My heroes were Van Gogh, Gauguin, Matisse, and Rembrandt. I think Picasso is about as a modern as I got. But I incorporated things that they rejected as well as movements that happened later.” – Joni Mitchell


31. “What I do is unusual: chordal movements that have never been used before, changing keys and modalities mid-song.” – Joni Mitchell

32. “To enjoy my music, you need depth and emotionality.” – Joni Mitchell

33. “I see music as fluid architecture.” – Joni Mitchell

34. “There are things to confess that enrich the world, and things that need not be said.” – Joni Mitchell

35. “I see the entire world as Eden, and every time you take an inch of it away, you must do so with respect.” – Joni Mitchell

36. “When I came to California, it was the mecca of the world. Every young person on the planet wanted to be here.” – Joni Mitchell

37. “Everyone I know has attention deficit, and they say it with great pride. It’s a bad time to be right.” – Joni Mitchell

38. “I certainly don’t want to be an angry old artist.” – Joni Mitchell

39. “Ira Gershwin, shame on him. I mean, some of the writing.” – Joni Mitchell


40th of 50 Joni Mitchell Quotes

40. “We have a war dictator who was not elected, he snuck in. so he punishes people that threaten him in any way, or even say something he doesn’t like. It has no resemblance to democracy.” – Joni Mitchell


41. “There was this mountain village in Russia where my music was getting in on some German radio station. I remember this because music used to get up to Saskatchewan from Texas. Late at night after the local station closed down.” – Joni Mitchell

42. “I do have this reputation for being a serious person.” – Joni Mitchell

43. “The considerations of a corporation, especially now, have nothing to do with art or music.” – Joni Mitchell

44. “I loved Debussy, Stravinsky, Chopin, Tchaikovsky, anything with romantic melodies, especially the nocturnes. Nietzsche was a hero, especially with ‘Thus Spoke Zarathustra.’ He gets a bad rap; he’s very misunderstood. He’s a maker of individuals, and he was a teacher of teachers.” – Joni Mitchell

45. “I know my generation – a lot of them, they’re getting old now, and they want to think back fondly, they want to kid themselves. A lot of them think, ‘Yeah, we were the best.’ That’s the kiss of death. That’s non-growth. And also that’s very bad for the world.” – Joni Mitchell

46. “America is in a runaway-train position and dragging all the world with it. It’s grotesquely mentally ill.” – Joni Mitchell

47. “We managed to put together a compilation that had some creativity to it. In the meantime, I was listening to the free radio stations and I noticed that during their war coverage they were playing these songs born out of the Vietnam War that were all critical of the soldiers.” – Joni Mitchell

48. “Augustine, Anne Sexton, and Sylvia Plath are confessional writers and all three make me sick. I have nothing in common with them.” – Joni Mitchell

49. “When you’re trying to pass on the best of the stuff you’re culling to what should be a hungry culture but you have it diminished… that’s kind of disappointing.” – Joni Mitchell

50. “But I have a tremendous will to live and a tremendous ‘joie de vivre,’ alternating with irritability.” – Joni Mitchell



Thanks for checking out this collection of quotes from Joni Mitchell! Don’t forget to share them on social media with your friends and family.

Which are your favorite Joni Mitchell quotes? Leave a comment below.

Zisilia Alvsa
Zisilia Alvsa
Zisilia Alvsa is a writer for Wealthy Gorilla. Friends often call her Zii. She is a girl from Jakarta, Indonesia who currently lives in Bali. Zii loves photography and travelling.


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