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Anaïs Mitchell
Anaïs Mitchell New Bedford Music Festival Summerfest New Bedford MA July 2010.jpg
Mitchell in 2010
Background information
Born (1981-03-26) March 26, 1981 (age 42)
Origin Montpelier, Vermont, U.S.
Genres Indie folk, Americana, country folk
Occupation(s)
  • Singer-songwriter
  • musician
  • playwright
Instruments
  • Vocals
  • guitar
  • piano
Years active 2002–present
Labels
  • Waterbug
  • Righteous Babe
  • Wilderland
  • Thirty Tigers
  • BMG
Associated acts

Anaïs Mitchell (/əˈn.ɪs/; born March 26, 1981) is an American singer-songwriter, musician, and playwright. Mitchell has released eight studio albums, including Hadestown (2010), Young Man in America (2012), Child Ballads (2013), and Anaïs Mitchell (2022).

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 eight Tony Awards in 2019 including the Tony Award for Best Musical. Mitchell received the Tony Award for Best Original Score; she was also nominated for Best Book of a Musical. The Broadway cast album of the show took home the Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album in 2020. Mitchell's first book, Working on a Song: The Lyrics of Hadestown, was published by Plume Books on October 6, 2020. Mitchell was included in Time's 100 Most Influential People of 2020.

Mitchell is a member of the band Bonny Light Horseman, whose self-titled debut was released in 2020. The band's second album, "Golden Rolling Holy", was released in 2022.

Early life

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. She was raised Quaker. Her mother was Deputy Secretary of Vermont's Agency of Human Services. After traveling to the Middle East, Europe and Latin America as a child, she attended Middlebury College.

Career

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-defying" 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.

In 2019, Mitchell was appearing as part of a three-piece "supergroup" called Bonny Light Horseman, consisting of herself, Eric D. Johnson of Fruit Bats and guitarist Josh Kaufman. The group's self-titled debut album was released on January 24, 2020.

In June 2021, American supergroup Big Red Machine announced their second studio album, How Long Do You Think It's Gonna Last?, which features Mitchell's guest vocals in three of its tracks: "Latter Days", "Phoenix", and "New Auburn".

Personal life

Mitchell married Noah Hahn in 2006. They have two daughters, Ramona and Rosetta.

Discography

Studio albums

List of albums, with selected information
Title Album details Peak chart positions
US
Folk
US
Heat

SCO
UK
Amer.
UK
DL
UK
Indie
The Song They Sang... When Rome Fell
  • Released: 2002
  • Label: Self-released
  • Formats: CD
Hymns for the Exiled
  • Released: September 21, 2004
  • Label: Waterbug
  • Formats: CD, digital download
The Brightness
  • Released: February 13, 2007
  • Label: Righteous Babe
  • Formats: CD, digital download
Hadestown
  • Released: March 9, 2010
  • Label: Righteous Babe
  • Formats: CD, digital download, LP
9 33
Young Man in America
  • Released: February 13, 2012
  • Label: Wilderland, Thirty Tigers
  • Formats: CD, digital download, LP
13 27 22
Child Ballads (with Jefferson Hamer)
  • Released: February 11, 2013
  • Label: Wilderland, Thirty Tigers
  • Formats: CD, digital download, LP
20 38 19
Xoa
  • Released: September 30, 2014
  • Label: Wilderland, Thirty Tigers
  • Formats: CD, digital download
Anaïs Mitchell
  • Released: January 28, 2022
  • Label: BMG Rights Management
  • Formats: CD, digital download, LP
37 3 30 10

EPs

List of albums, with selected information
Title Album details
Country E.P. (with Rachel Ries)
  • Released: September 2, 2008
  • Label: Righteous Babe
  • Formats: Vinyl, CD, digital download

Cast albums

List of albums, with selected information
Title Album details Peak chart positions
US US
Indie
US
Cast
UK
DL
UK
Indie
Why We Build The Wall (EP – Selections from Hadestown. The Myth. The Musical. Live Original Cast Recording)
  • Released: October 13, 2016
  • Label: Parlophone
  • Formats: digital download
Hadestown: The Myth. The Musical. (Live Original Cast Recording)
  • Released: October 6, 2017
  • Label: Parlophone, Warner Classics
  • Formats: CD, digital download
3
Hadestown (Original Broadway Cast Recording)
  • Released: July 26, 2019
  • Label: Sing It Again
  • Formats: CD, LP, digital download
49 4 1 21 25

Singles

As lead artist

Title Year Album
"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
"I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" (with Thomas Bartlett) 2019
"Minnesota" (with Mick Flannery) 2020 Mickmas EP, Vol. 3
"Grace Cathedral Hill" 2021 Stars Rock Kill (Rock Stars)
"Bright Star" Anaïs Mitchell
"Brooklyn Bridge"
"On Your Way (Felix Song)" 2022

As featured artist

List of albums, with selected information
Title Year Peak chart positions Album
US
AAA
"Phoenix"
(Big Red Machine featuring Anaïs Mitchell and Fleet Foxes)
2021 33 How Long Do You Think It's Gonna Last?

Other appearances

Title Year Other artist(s) Album
"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 Then" 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

Audiobooks

  • Working on a Song: The Lyrics of Hadestown (October 6, 2020; Penguin Audio)

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Work Result Ref.
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 Hamer) 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
2021 Best Folk Album Bonny Light Horseman Nominated
Best American Roots Performance "Deep in Love" Nominated
Libera Awards Libera Award for Best Americana Record Bonny Light Horseman Won
Best Breakthrough Artist Bonny Light Horseman Nominated
2023 Grammy Award Best American Roots Song "Bright Star" Nominated

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Anaïs Mitchell para niños

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