'Joni 75' Hits Theaters: Brandi Carlile & Seal on the Privilege of Covering Joni Mitchell
It's been three months since Joni Mitchell's all-star 75th birthday concert was held in Los Angeles. But as The Music Center Presents Joni 75: A Birthday Celebration arrives in theaters for a one-night only screening on Feb. 7, a couple of the performers are still buzzing from the experience.
"I think it's on record now that I begged to do that show," Brandi Carlile, who performed "Down To You," a duet of "A Case of You" with Kris Kristofferson and "Big Yellow Taxi" with James Taylor, Chaka Khan and La Marisoul that night, tells Billboard. "I sent letters to people begging them to let me do that show. I think Joni Mitchell is fearless. I think she is the greatest songwriter of all time, certainly the greatest living songwriter. I'm totally mystified by her. I just had to be part of tributing her in that show."
Seal, who's collaborated with Mitchell a few times over the years, is still buzzing about singing "the best song," "Both Sides Now," upon her request. "As an aspiring musician trying to become an album recording artist, she was who I listened to, among other people, but she was basically the standard for me," Seal says. "She really gave me permission, made me feel it was OK to bare your soul, as she did. So to be part of (the concert) was just a no-brainer. We've worked together before and we've remained friends over the years. It was an honor."
The Joni 75 film is being released by Trafalgar. A list of theaters and tickets can be found at www.Joni75.com. A companion album from the show is being released March 8 by Decca Records featuring additional performances at the Nov. 7 show -- Mitchell's 75th birthday -- by a lineup that also included Graham Nash, Emmylou Harris, Norah Jones, Los Lobos, Rufus Wainwright, Glen Hansard and others.
Mitchell, who suffered a debilitating brain aneurysm during 2015, attended the tribute concert and, according to Seal, "is doing well. She's in good spirits."
The Joni 75 film is also a pre-Grammy Awards treat for both Carlile and Seal. Carlile, who's slated to perform during the Feb. 10 ceremony, is up for six Grammys, including album of the year for By The Way, I Forgive You and song and record of the year for "The Joke." Seal's Standards set, meanwhile is nominated for best traditional pop vocal album. The singer is also working on new material that will be released via a series of EPs this year.