Joni Mitchell has accepted an honorary doctorate degree from the Berklee College of Music.
During a private gathering in Santa Monica hosted by Linda and Russell Brown of MaddocksBrown Foundation, the Free Man in Paris singer received the honour.
“Well, luckily I’m too old to get a swelled head,” 78-year-old Joni 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.”
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 beamed. “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.