Hanging out with Joni Mitchell

February 19 2015

This past week’s New York Magazine’s cover girl/1970s muse was none other than one of my idols, Joni Mitchell. While I usually like to write a trend or brand piece every week, right now I just want to share with you my Joni experiences. Some years ago when I was the Photo Director at LA Style magazine, I had the divine opportunity to spend the day shooting with Joni Mitchell. Now, I had been an insane Joni fan for years, buying the best seats to a number of concerts, the most memorable being one where she performed non-stop for almost five hours. It was bliss. I loved Joni and Joni’s music. It felt just right to me.

Fast forward some years to the photo shoot with photographer Diego Uchitel. Joni brought herself fully to the experience, allowing us to explore with her for hours. She was curious, loquacious, engaged, telling stories. At the end of the day, she sang a capella for us, a tiny rapt audience of charmed beings. It was transporting. And then she wanted to settle in for a good chat, until her publicist insisted that she leave. She was so real as a person, and then there was that heavenly voice.


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A few days later Sting was performing in one of the classic Hollywood theatres, maybe the Pantages, I can’t remember. The Sting thing is a whole other story, but that night my friend and I ran into Joni on the way out of the theatre. She asked if we were going to the private after-party with Sting, and said, c’mon along with me as my guests. The next thing we knew we were ensconced at a long table with Bruce Springsteen, Don Henley, and other assorted superbly famous singers. It was very, very heady, and generous on Joni’s part. It was definitely not a normal night out for me.

We used to frequent some of the same restaurants and cafes, so I continued to see Joni around LA for years, smoking, eating and smoking some more on her own. I never wanted to interfere with her private, public self. Her music, art, creativity, integrity and courage have always resonated for me. It’s great to see how many other people are thinking about and honoring Joni now, too. She remains the ultimate, perennial muse.



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Being Yourself: Sam Smith

February 11 2015

Sunday night’s big winner at the Grammys was the British singer Sam Smith. It was really gratifying to hear what he had to say about being true to himself in the music he creates and makes. He said, “I tried to lose weight and I was making awful music and it was only until I started to be myself that the music started to flow.”


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Now, this is something I stress all of the time, whether I’m giving a talk or working with a client. Work from your core. Claim the parts of yourself that you know, and access easily, and then have the courage to face the parts of yourself that you feel are sitting in the shadow and begin to integrate them into your work and your working methods. From a Jungian perspective, the shadow is frequently the driver – note that Sam talks about accepting ALL of himself in a truthful way. The magic happens when you dig down and create from the real you, the parts you love PLUS the parts you don’t love so much AND the parts of yourself that you don’t even know yet. Right on, Sam.

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