In the most surprising 2024 Grammy performance announcement thus far, the Recording Academy revealed on Jan. 28 that Joni Mitchell will take the stage at next Sunday’s awards show. A nine-time Grammy winner, this will be Mitchell’s first ever performance on the telecast.
Of course, it isn't just the fact that this will be Mitchell's Grammy debut that makes the announcement special. Just a few years ago, Mitchell was long presumed to have retired from live performance: she had only made a few sporadic live appearances after her final tour in 2000, and after suffering a traumatic brain aneurysm in 2015, it seemed especially unlikely that we would see ever her onstage again.
However, 2022 changed all that, when Mitchell made a surprise appearance with Brandi Carlile at the Newport Folk Festival, performing several songs. Mitchell and Carlile followed that up in 2023 with a full-scale, three-hour concert at the Gorge Amphitheater in Washington, while Mitchell also made appearances at the Library of Congress and at the Gershwin Prize ceremony in her honor in Washington D.C., as well as a three-song cameo during Carlile's October headlining set at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.
One of the most beloved singer-songwriters of the 20th century, Mitchell has won nine Grammys, as well as a 2002 Lifetime Achievement honor and a MusiCares Person of the Year tribute. She won her first Grammy for Best Folk Performance for 1969’s Clouds, and boasts an Album of the Year trophy thanks to Herbie Hancock’s 2007 tribute album River: The Joni Letters, which features her songs, as well as a brief vocal contribution. She earned an Album of the Year nomination for her 1974 opus Court and Spark, though her consensus masterwork, 1971’s Blue — now widely considered one of the greatest albums of all time — went entirely unnoticed by the Grammys. She’s nominated this year for Best Folk Album for the live recording Joni at Newport.
Less surprising, but still notable: the Recording Academy announced over the weekend that U2 will also be part of the festivities, with a performance from their residency at the Sphere in Las Vegas broadcast during the Feb. 4 telecast. A press release notes that this will “mark the first-ever broadcast performance from the Sphere,” which is perhaps a little less impressive than it sounds when one considers that the venue only opened last September.
Mitchell and U2 join previously teased Grammy performers Billie Eilish, Olivia Rodrigo, Travis Scott, Burna Boy, Luke Combs and Dua Lipa. Last week, the Recording Academy announced that Billy Joel will be appearing at the ceremony as well to perform "Turn the Lights Back On," his first single in 17 years.
The Grammy Awards will be broadcast from the Crypto.com Arena in Loa Angeles on Feb. 4. SZA leads all artists with nine nominations, including Album, Record, and Song of the Year. Breakout singer Victoria Monét, Boygenius member Phoebe Bridgers, and engineer Serban Ghenea follow just behind with seven nominations apiece.