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Joni Mitchell: In Her Own Words

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  707 ratings  ·  107 reviews
When singer, musician, and broadcast journalist Malka Marom had the opportunity to interview Joni Mitchell in 1973, she was eager to reconnect with the performer she’d first met late one night in 1966 at a Yorkville coffeehouse. More conversations followed over the next four decades of friendship, and it was only after Joni and Malka completed their last recorded ...more
Hardcover, 292 pages
Published September 9th 2014 by ECW Press (first published January 1st 2014)
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Carol Yes. The book has more to it than the article alludes to -- the article emphasizes the sensational aspects & the book looks more fully at her…moreYes. The book has more to it than the article alludes to -- the article emphasizes the sensational aspects & the book looks more fully at her life.(less)

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I enjoyed listening to the audiobook JONI MITCHELL: IN HER OWN WORDS by Malka Marom and narrated by Carrington MacDuffie. Malka is a singer, musician and broadcast journalist. Joni is a Canadian singer-songwriter and artist born in 1943.
Malka's first meeting with Joni Mitchell was late one night in 1966 at a Yorkville coffeehouse. Joni's music style and range of voice made a lasting impression on Malka.
This biography is an edited script of recorded interviews between Joni and Malka from the
Apr 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Facsinating! As one of those fans Joni derrides who is all about the first six albums, I would have liked the book better if she talked more about their creation and her life in those days. Can't say I blame her for not wanting to live in the past, though I do think she underates her early work and overrates her 'pioneering' later jazz and political stuff. Loved to hear about her creative process, her life and her frequent cantankerous snark.

ETA: Joni Mitchell is in a coma.
[UPDATE: her website
Freda Mans-Labianca
Jul 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography
A fantastic book! Whether you are a fan or just know who Joni Mitchell is, by the end of this book, you will be a fan.
Have you ever watched those celebrity biography shows where they interview them and show us tidbits of their lives? That's what this is, and episode of that in book format. It plays out so well in your mind because of all the personal photos that are included. You never lose sight of where you are in her life. Even though I was already a fan, I feel I know so much more about Joni
Jun 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
If you are thinking, great, finally a Joni Mitchell biography, then think again. Joni Mitchell: In Her Own Words is not a typical chronological biography, it is the transcripts of 3 interviews carried out by Malka Marom over the period of 35 years give or take a year. Marom is herself a singer and performer who has crossed over into the world of broadcaster and documentary maker. She first encounter Joni in a coffee house in 1966 and was entranced by the genius that is Joni Mitchell. In 1973 ...more
Ray Campbell
Nov 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2014
Back in the 70s, when I first came across Joni, I was told that she didn't give interviews. My cooler more in the know friends told me that Joni was something of a space cadet and she'd been criticized for making comments to reporters that were more or less incoherent. I was disappointed, but loved her music none the less.

As a somewhat more mature adult I understand that Joni isn't a space cadet, she's an artist. The same genius that paints pictures in words and melodies, poetic phrases, stories
Mar 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
I was 16 and filled with typical teenage angst when I discovered the album, Song to a Seagull. My friend and I sat in her room listening to it over and over. The same friend and I continuously listened to every track on Ladies of the Canyon while sipping Red Mountain Pink Chablis and smoking cigarettes in our San Francisco flat.

Many people remember Joni Mitchell for Both Sides Now, Big Yellow Taxi, Woodstock and Circle Game. There is so much more to Joni Mitchell's work. The Hissing of Summer

Jim Coughenour
Sometime in the late 90s I heard John Kelly do Joni Mitchell at Josie's Cabaret & Juice Joint in San Francisco – a performance that hovered comically, magically, on the threshold between parody and homage. The crowd (Joni aficionados all) pitched at the edge of their folding chairs and as the first chords of one of Mitchell's standards sounded, you'd hear delighted chuckling and low murmurs of "I love this song!" My appreciation for Joni falls firmly in this mingled mess of reflexive irony, ...more
Sep 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I fell in love (again!) with Joni Mitchell reading this book. The way she made a name for herself in such a male-dominated field, and also transcribed and listened to exactly what was in her heart. It made for such beautiful music.

The way the book is written, in a dialogue style, it almost feels like I am listening to them when I remember my favorite parts. I tried to listen to each song when it was mentioned, which I wish I had done even more of because it added substantially to the experience
Nov 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who like the music of Joni Mitchell
Shelves: biography, reviewed
Short version: As others have noted, this is not really a biography; it's an exploration of Joni Mitchell's views of her own musical artistry, as told to & by one of her friends. The interviews largely touch on those incidents in Mitchell's life that have inspired her lyrics and as such are most valuable as a gloss on those lyrics. The interviews also describe aspects of her musical style and how she has sought to change it -- what she wanted to do & the extent to which she felt she ...more
Sissy Van Dyke
Dec 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
There is nothing worse than reading a biography of an idol and coming away with a tarnished admiration. I was so relieved to come to the end of this book of first-hand interviews of Joni Mitchell, who I have adored all of my adult life, with even more appreciation for Mitchell as an artist and as a person. In these interviews, Malka Marom, who is a long-time friend, asks the sort of questions that I would want to ask, if she were my friend. She answers the questions honestly, often graphically, ...more
Mar 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent. I could hear Joni's voice when I read this book. One of my favorites yet.
Mar 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book is made up of 3 interviews that Malka Marom conducted in 1973, 1979 and 2012. Usually, I am reluctant to read books of interviews, you sometimes feel that you have heard, read and seen it all. In this case there are layers upon layers of Joni to uncover even if you are a fan.

The interviews take you from her early days in Saskatchewan and what it was like growing up with polio to parents who didn’t support her. She talks about her teenage pregnancy and what it was like for a woman in
Sep 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book is lovingly put together--great interviews by Marom interspersed with apropos song lyrics and pictures of and by Joni. The hardest thing about this book is Mitchell herself. Admittedly not an easy person to work or live with, she annoys because she is so convinced that she's a Great Artist, and that most people Just Don't Get It. Would I find her point of view as thorny if she were a man? I definitely would. Do I think she's had a much harder row to hoe being a woman with this point of ...more
Tom Schulte
Mar 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a fascinating look at Joni's career over the decades in a series of interviews done by a Canadian musician-journalist who Joni knows and is very comfortable with. Her insights into the music business, the challenges she has encountered, and people she has worked are both entertaining and enlightening. She talks at some length about Tom Scott, Dylan, Leonard Cohen, and others. Much is covered about individual albums, their creation, and lyrics from this painter-cum-poet singer. Note this ...more
John Kaess
Nov 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
5 Stars - I enjoyed this book more than i expected to, and actually more than any book I've read in quite awhile. I guess i expected a typical musician biography like David Crosby, Neil Young, James Taylor and Jimmy Buffett. Their biographies talk about the drugs, the mishaps and adventures, the names, etc. this book talks about none of those things. The book consists of three very long interviews between Joni Mitchell and an old friend. It spends most of the time talking about the poetry in her ...more
Prooost Davis
Jun 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
In Her Own Words is taken from a series of interviews done in 1973, 1979, and 2012. It doesn't amount to a full biography of Joni Mitchell, by any means, but it paints a picture of her struggles over the years, as a self-described outsider, a strong woman who does not call herself a feminist, and an artist trying to make music that is original in a business that does not prize originality unless it happens to bring in the bucks.

I have found her, even among all the great musicians from the 1960s,
Donna Wetzel
Jul 01, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Thanks Goodreads for the Joni Mitchell book; In Her Words. I am a fan of her music so I was looking forward to her book. Sorry, I just didn't like it. There were some interesting and inciteful moments. We learned tidbits about her life and much about her music lyrics. I didn't care for the writer's style and would have edited the interviews down considerably. Enjoyed pictures of her art however. That to me was the bright spot of the book.
Mala Ashok
May 02, 2016 rated it liked it
Had I read this book before I read "The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto," I'd have thought it was quite good but since I read that, this book paled in comparison - probably an unfair comparison.
The book is interesting in that it shows the progression of Joni's Life and the values she espoused. For her it was not about money or fame it was always about the music.
Sean Ruprecht-belt
Nov 19, 2014 rated it it was ok
I was looking forward to reading this because my impression of Joni Mitchell is that she is an intelligent, thinking artist who is good at communicating her art and communicating about her art. Unfortunately, I found this to be a difficult slog to get through. Not a lot of insights to be found here.
Dec 25, 2014 rated it did not like it
pretty bad book, and I love Joni! this book shows such a complainer side of her..totally disappointing...don’t bother..
Sep 08, 2014 rated it did not like it
I thought that I really liked Ms Mitchell. Till I read this book. I felt that her personality comes across as abrasive and she seems like a privileged woman with a big chip on her shoulder.
Jan 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir-bio, music
I love Joni Mitchell. Just can get enough of her wisdom, humor, depth, soul.
Mar 05, 2015 rated it it was ok
I adore Joni Mitchell: unique, genius. But give her a free rein with a sycophantic interviewer and its not terribly interesting.
Nov 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: joni-mitchell
No sarcasm-- it's a joy to read Joni discussing herself at length. Any and all details are appreciated by this young lady in the 22nd row.
Nov 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Joni won my heart years ago by singing harmony on Neil Young’s definitive live version of “Helpless” on The Last Waltz concert album. Her voice that night was pure gold and her harmonies flawless. Sure, I liked “Both Sides Now” as much as any teenaged flower child would and the prophetic “Big Yellow Taxi” always makes me smile: “Don't it always seem to go, That you don't know what you've got till it’s gone, They paved paradise, And put up a parking lot.” I read this book to learn about her ...more
K2 -----
Oct 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Perhaps you'd have to be a major Joni fan to give this book four stars, but I am.

Her friend interviewed her and uses her own words during these interviews along with her lyrics to make this an embrace for fans who know these songs and a little about the artist's heart.

Joni Mitchell is a major talent and she has had plenty of love in her life but also ample heartache. This is a love letter to her and to her fans that want to know what is behind her songs. She is a multifaceted artist, the
Kathy Happle
Nov 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is the first autobiography of Joni Mitchell I have read, meaning I have read several books about her life from different authors’ viewpoints. The book gave me a better idea of who this artist is, and I have even more respect for her accomplishments over the span of her creative life. I loved reading about the stories behind a few of her songs. Joni was able to be very candid with the author because they were longtime friends. Very enjoyable reading for any Joni Mitchell fan, like myself.
Anna Mosca
Nov 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Very nice indeed! Wonderful to figure out who Joni is in her own words. A couple of people through the years mentioned to me my poems reminded them of a Joni Mitchell song, song I never heard so I got curious to know her, past the general notions. Turns out she’s an amazing, one of a kind, artist and woman. She’s someone I would love to hung out with, someone that hears words around her, just as I do, which is rare! I’m grateful for her, for what she gave out and for who she is now. I really ...more
Mar 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is from the transcripts of interviews of Joni Mitchell by Malka Marom, a former folk singer, radio broadcaster, and documentary maker. The interviews took place from 1975 through 2012. Joni discusses her influences, her beginnings as a young folk singer, her childhood, aging, and her career as a musician, composer, lyricist, and painter. Also included in this book are some of her paintings, album covers, lyrics, and photographs. This very fine book discusses in detail the arc of Joni's ...more
Mar 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was a wonderful read. I enjoyed the conversations introducing the songs with some of Joni's art and photos included. Her appreciation of van Gogh, Emily Carr, Nina Simone, Billie Holiday, Charlie Mingus and Wayne Shorter (among many others) is something I relate to. I do feel she should be called a poet as well as singer/songwriter/artist. Kudos to her for her ability to survive in the male dominated music world. The only negative for me was the light print in the book - challenging ...more
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Joni Mitchell, CC is a reknowned Canadian musician, songwriter, and painter.
“I think the fact that I did not have the masters, that I don’t have any musical heroes…my music is pretty original. Nearly anyone you talk to in my generation had a hero that they studied and analyzed and strove to be like. They did air guitar in front of the mirror. So it was less “muse” than “ick.” Music comes from the muse, not from other musicians.” 0 likes
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