Joni Mitchell's career advice for music students
On this day in 2005, the living legend received an honorary degree from McGill University
You may have studied Mitchell's poetic lyrics or innovative music as an undergrad long before that date, but it wasn't until 2005 that the Saskatchewan-raised artist received her first honorary degree from a Canadian institution, never mind the decades of accolades that preceded. McGill University made Mitchell a Doctor of Music in January of that year, and to celebrate, a symposium was held in Montreal to discuss Mitchell's cultural impact, with the singer-songwriter herself in attendance.
CBC was there too, and in this 15-minute feature for The National, we follow Mitchell from her arrival at McGill, and in her own words we get a sense of her legacy, through archival footage (like this clip from 1967) and new interviews.
The lessons Mitchell imparts to students, however, are the words that resonate the most. The young musicians in this clip are looking for career advice, and she leaves them with a question to consider.
"Do you want to be a star, or do you want to be an artist?" she says. "You have to know who you are, what kind of music you want to make."