Anaïs Mitchell at the New Bedford Summerfest
July 4, 2010
|Born||March 26, 1981|
|Origin||Montpelier, Vermont, U.S.|
|Genres||Indie folk, Americana, country folk|
|Singer-songwriter, musician, playwright|
|Instruments||Guitar, piano, vocals|
|Labels||Righteous Babe Records (2007-2012)|
Wilderland Record (2012-present)
Anaïs Mitchell (; born March 26, 1981) is an American singer-songwriter, musician, and playwright. Mitchell has released seven albums, including Hadestown (2010), Young Man in America (2012), and Child Ballads (2013).
She developed her album Hadestown into a stage musical (together with director Rachel Chavkin), which received its US debut at New York Theatre Workshop in summer 2016, and its Canadian debut at the Citadel Theatre, Edmonton the following year. The show opened at London's National Theatre in November 2018 and then on Broadway on April 17, 2019 at the Walter Kerr Theatre. The Broadway production of Hadestown won the 2019 Tony Award for Best Musical. Mitchell received the Tony Award for Best Original Score; she was also nominated for Best Book of a Musical.
Mitchell's father is a novelist and college professor and named her after author Anaïs Nin. She grew up on Treleven farm in Addison County, Vermont. After traveling to the Middle East, Europe and Latin America as a child, she attended Middlebury College.
Having begun writing her first songs at the age of 17, around 1998, Mitchell won the New Folk award in 2003, when she was 22, at the Kerrville Folk Festival. Her album Hymns for the Exiled was released on Chicago's Waterbug Records label in 2004. This recording attracted the attention of singer/songwriter Ani DiFranco, who signed her to the Righteous Babe Records label.
In 2006 Mitchell debuted a draft of her "folk opera" Hadestown, which she wrote in collaboration with arranger Michael Chorney and director Ben T. Matchstick. A revised version of Hadestown was staged in 2007. Her third album, The Brightness, was released that same year on Righteous Babe Records.
Her album Hadestown, produced by Todd Sickafoose, was released in spring 2010 to favorable reviews. Described as "the story of Orpheus and Eurydice set in post-apocalyptic Depression-era America, the album includes guest appearances by Ani DiFranco, Greg Brown, Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, Ben Knox Miller of The Low Anthem, and The Haden Triplets (Petra, Rachel, and Tanya Haden).
Mitchell continued quietly working on a stage version of Hadestown while also writing and recording new material. In early 2012, she released Young Man in America on Wilderland Records. Mitchell opened the North American leg of Bon Iver's autumn 2012 tour, which included two sold-out shows at Radio City Music Hall. The album was largely praised by critics as "genre-defining" and her "second consecutive masterpiece."
In late 2012, Mitchell completed recording seven songs from the collection of Child Ballads, compiled by Francis James Child, with fellow musician Jefferson Hamer. The album, produced by Gary Paczosa, was released in February 2013, winning a BBC Radio 2 Folk Award for Best Traditional Song. This was followed in 2014 by xoa, for which Mitchell re-recorded a number of her older songs using only guitar and vocals. This stripped back album included some songs from Hadestown which were recorded for the first time in Mitchell's own voice, as well as three brand new songs.
In summer 2016, the newly expanded theatrical version of Hadestown opened at New York Theatre Workshop with Vogue magazine predicting that "Hadestown will be your next musical theatre obsession". The following year, it received its Canadian premiere at The Citadel Theatre, Edmonton, and in April 2018, London's National Theatre announced that it would present a three-month run during the winter ahead of the show's Broadway transfer.Hadestown opened on Broadway at the Walter Kerr Theatre on April 17, 2019.
Mitchell has received favorable reviews on her musical style, sound and performance. An article in Acoustic Guitar magazine calls Mitchell "fearlessly emotive" and compares her to Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, and Gillian Welch. The UK's Independent newspaper called her "the most engaging, and in some ways, most original artist currently working in the field of new American folk music"The New York Times noted that "Ms Mitchell's songs address contemporary angst with uncanny vision" and called her "a formidable songwriting talent".
|Title||Album details||Peak chart positions|
|The Song They Sang... When Rome Fell||--||--||--|
|Hymns for the Exiled||--||--||--|
|Young Man in America||
|Child Ballads (with Jefferson Hamer)||
|Bonny Light Horseman (with Eric D. Johnson and Josh Kaufman)||
|Country E.P. (with Rachel Ries)|
|Title||Album details||Peak chart positions|
|Why We Build The Wall (EP - Selections from Hadestown. The Myth. The Musical. Live Original Cast Recording)||
|Hadestown: The Myth. The Musical. (Live Original Cast Recording)||
|Hadestown (Original Broadway Cast Recording)||
|"I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day"||2016||Acoustic Christmas (An Amazon Music Original)|
|"Woyaya" (with Kate Stables)||2018||Love Me Not (Amazon Original)|
|"By Degrees" (with Mark Erelli, Rosanne Cash, Sheryl Crow, Lori McKenna, Josh Ritter)||non-album single|
|"Bonny Light Horseman" (with Eric D. Johnson and Josh Kaufman)||2019||Bonny Light Horseman|
|"Deep in Love" (with Eric D. Johnson and Josh Kaufman)|
|"Jane Jane" (with Eric D. Johnson and Josh Kaufman)|
|"I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" (with Thomas Bartlett)||non-album single|
|"The Roving" (with Eric D. Johnson and Josh Kaufman)||2020||Bonny Light Horseman|
|"Mockingbird"||2008||N/A||Songs For Laura Volume One|
|"Quarter to Ten"||Gregory Douglass||Turning Back Beautiful|
|"L'Internazionale"||2009||N/A||Thrufters & Through-Stones: The Music of Vermont's First 400 Years|
|"All My Trials"||N/A||Beautiful Star - The Songs of Odetta|
|"Alight"||2013||Round Mountain||The Goat|
|"Even Though"||The Bengsons||Hundred Days|
|"Wedding Song (Live)"||N/A||Live at Caffe Lena: Music From America's Legendary Coffeehouse|
|"Anchors"||Kris Gruen||New Comics From the Wooden World|
|"Clyde Waters"||Jefferson Hamer||The Mark Radcliffe Folk Sessions 2013|
|2003||Kerrville Folk Festival||New Folk Award||Won|
|2010||Grammy Award||Best Recording Package||Hadestown||Nominated|
|2014||BBC Radio 2 Folk Award||Best Traditional Track||"Willie of Winsbury" (shared with Jefferson Hammer)||Won|
|2019||Tony Award||Best Original Score||Hadestown||Won|
|Best Book of a Musical||Nominated|
|Outer Critics Circle Award||Outstanding New Score (Broadway or Off-Broadway)||Won|
|Outstanding Book of a Musical (Broadway or Off-Broadway)||Nominated|
|Americana Music Honors & Awards||Song of the Year||"By Degrees" (with Mark Erelli, Rosanne Cash, Sheryl Crow, Lori McKenna and Josh Ritter)||Nominated|
|2020||Grammy Award||Best Musical Theater Album||Hadestown||Won|