Anaïs Mitchell

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Anaïs Mitchell
Mitchell in 2010
Mitchell in 2010
Background information
Born (1981-03-26) March 26, 1981 (age 40)
OriginMontpelier, Vermont, U.S.
GenresIndie folk, Americana, country folk
Occupation(s)Singer-songwriter, musician, playwright
InstrumentsGuitar, piano, vocals
Years active2002–present
LabelsWaterbug Records (2004–2006)
Righteous Babe Records (2006–2012)
Wilderland Record (2012–present) Edit this at Wikidata

Anaïs Mitchell (/əˈn.ɪs/; born March 26, 1981) is an American singer-songwriter, musician, and playwright.[1] Mitchell has released seven albums, including Hadestown (2010), Young Man in America (2012),[2][3] and Child Ballads (2013).[4]

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,[5] and its Canadian debut at the Citadel Theatre, Edmonton the following year.[6] The show opened at London's National Theatre in November 2018 and then on Broadway on April 17, 2019, at the Walter Kerr Theatre.[7] 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 is included in Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People of 2020.[8]

Early life[edit]

Mitchell's father is a novelist and college professor and named her after author Anaïs Nin.[9] She grew up on Treleven farm[10] in Addison County, Vermont. She was raised Quaker. [11] Her mother was Deputy Secretary of Vermont's Agency of Human Services.[12] After traveling to the Middle East, Europe and Latin America as a child, she attended Middlebury College.[13][14]


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.[15] Her album Hymns for the Exiled was released on Chicago's Waterbug Records label in 2004.[16] This recording attracted the attention of singer-songwriter Ani DiFranco, who signed her to the Righteous Babe Records label.[14]

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.[17] A revised version of Hadestown was staged in 2007. Her third album, The Brightness, was released that same year on Righteous Babe Records.[18]

Her album Hadestown, produced by Todd Sickafoose, was released in spring 2010 to favorable reviews.[19][20] Described as "the story of Orpheus and Eurydice set in post-apocalyptic Depression-era America,[21] 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).[22]

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.[23][24] Mitchell opened the North American leg of Bon Iver's autumn 2012 tour, which included two sold-out shows at Radio City Music Hall.[25] The album was largely praised by critics as "genre-defying" and her "second consecutive masterpiece."[26]

In late 2012, Mitchell completed recording seven songs from the collection of Child Ballads, compiled by Francis James Child, with fellow musician Jefferson Hamer.[27] The album, produced by Gary Paczosa, was released in February 2013,[28] winning a BBC Radio 2 Folk Award for Best Traditional Song.[29] 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[30] with Vogue magazine predicting that "Hadestown will be your next musical theatre obsession".[31] 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.[32] 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.[33] The group's self-titled debut album was released on January 24, 2020.

In June 2021, America 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".[34]

Personal life[edit]

Mitchell married Noah Hahn in 2006.[35] They have two daughters, Ramona and Rosetta.[36]


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.[37] 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"[38] The New York Times noted that "Ms Mitchell's songs address contemporary angst with uncanny vision" and called her "a formidable songwriting talent".[39]


Studio albums[edit]

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


The Song They Sang... When Rome Fell
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
  • Released: March 9, 2010
  • Label: Righteous Babe
  • Formats: CD, digital download, LP
9 33
Young Man in America
  • Released: February 13, 2012
  • Label: Wilderland
  • Formats: CD, digital download, LP
13 27
Child Ballads (with Jefferson Hamer)
  • Released: February 11, 2013
  • Label: Wilderland
  • Formats: CD, digital download, LP
20 38
  • Released: September 30, 2014
  • Label: Wilderland
  • Formats: CD, digital download


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[edit]

List of albums, with selected information
Title Album details Peak chart positions
US[41] US

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
Hadestown (Original Broadway Cast Recording)[45]
  • Released: July 26, 2019
  • Label: Sing It Again
  • Formats: CD, LP, digital download
49 4 1


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 non-album single

Other appearances[edit]

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


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

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Work Result
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[46] Grammy Award Best Musical Theater Album Hadestown Won
2021 Best Folk Album Bonny Light Horseman Nominated


  1. ^ Reges, Margaret. "Anaïs Mitchell – Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved October 15, 2016.
  2. ^ Anais Mitchell: 'I like to cry' March 8, 2012. Retrieved January 8, 2013.
  3. ^ Zimmerman, Peter (September 20, 2011). "Anaïs Mitchell: Slim's, San Francisco, CA 07/06/2011 -". Glide Magazine. Archived from the original on September 24, 2011. Retrieved October 15, 2016.
  4. ^ Hughes, Rob (March 5, 2013). "Anais Mitchell, interview". Daily Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved April 25, 2018.
  5. ^ "NYTW / Hadestown". NYTW. Retrieved April 25, 2018.
  6. ^ Paulson, Michael (December 11, 2017). "An Unexpected New Stop on the Road to Broadway: Edmonton". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved April 25, 2018.
  7. ^ "The Underworld Will Stop in London en Route to Broadway". The New York Times. April 19, 2018. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved April 25, 2018.
  8. ^ "Anaïs Mitchell: The 100 Most Influential People of 2020". Time. Retrieved September 23, 2020.
  9. ^ "Anais Mitchell interview". Wears the Trousers. November 15, 2007. Archived from the original on September 17, 2011. Retrieved October 21, 2012. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  10. ^ "Treleven in March". Treleven. May 16, 2012. Retrieved March 28, 2019.
  11. ^ "Take it easy, sweet and slow". April 20, 2017. Retrieved August 3, 2021.
  12. ^ "Cheryl Mitchell". Treleven. March 15, 2011. Retrieved June 22, 2021.
  13. ^ "B-Sides: Q&A with Anaïs Mitchell". Bitch Magazine. Retrieved June 16, 2013.
  14. ^ a b "". June 21, 2011. Archived from the original on June 21, 2011. Retrieved November 11, 2015.
  15. ^ "Anais Mitchell | Freight & Salvage". Archived from the original on September 15, 2015. Retrieved November 11, 2015.
  16. ^ "Anaïs Mitchell – Hymns For The Exiled". Discogs. Retrieved November 11, 2015.
  17. ^ "Hadestown by Anaïs Mitchell" Archived November 28, 2018, at the Wayback Machine December 7, 2006, by Megan James Addison County Independent.
  18. ^ "oh, the places she's gone! Anaïs Mitchell's Righteous Babe Records' debut the brightness is poetry in motion. in stores February 13, 2007." Archived September 27, 2007, at the Wayback Machine press release Righteous Babe Records.
  19. ^ Neil Spencer (April 25, 2010). "Anais Mitchell: Hadestown". The Guardian. Retrieved April 29, 2013.
  20. ^ James Skinner. "Album Review: Anaïs Mitchell – Hadestown". DrownedInSound. Archived from the original on May 6, 2010. Retrieved September 10, 2010.
  21. ^ "Mitchell,Anais – Hadestown". Ladyslipper Music. Retrieved June 16, 2013.
  22. ^ "Anais Mitchell playing shows, releasing 'Hadestown' – concept album w/ Justin Vernon, Greg Brown, Hadens, more". BrooklynVegan. February 11, 2010. Retrieved April 29, 2013.
  23. ^ (Feb 2012) American Original More From This Weeks Qa With Anais Mitchell.
  24. ^ "Bon Iver Covers Anaïs Mitchell 'Coming Down' live on Australian radio" Pitchfork's Watch: section, by Jenn Pelly; March 16, 2012.
  25. ^ "Bon Iver announces gigs w/ Anais Mitchell, two more Radio City Music Hall shows (updated tour dates)" BrooklynVegan; June 25, 2012.
  26. ^ "Reviews for Young Man In America by Anaïs Mitchell – Metacritic". Metacritic.
  27. ^ Thomson, Graeme (February 8, 2013). "Anaïs Mitchell on Child Ballads: 'They're so beautiful, so strange and weird. That's the poetry of it'". the Guardian. Retrieved April 25, 2018.
  28. ^ New album, Child Ballads, out early 2013 Archived March 25, 2016, at the Wayback Machine December 11, 2012. Retrieved January 8, 2013.
  29. ^ "2014, BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards – Winners – BBC Radio 2". BBC. Retrieved April 25, 2018.
  30. ^ "NYTW / Hadestown".
  31. ^ "Hadestown Will Be Your Next Musical Theater Obsession". Vogue. Retrieved April 25, 2018.
  32. ^ Paulson, Michael (April 19, 2018). "The Underworld Will Stop in London en Route to Broadway". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved April 25, 2018.
  33. ^ Jeffrey Greenblatt (December 18, 2018). "New Supergroup Bonny Light Horseman Joins Newport Folk Festival 2019 Lineup". Jambase.
  34. ^ Blistein, Jon (June 29, 2021). "Aaron Dessner, Justin Vernon's Big Red Machine Previews New Album With 'Latter Days'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved July 26, 2021.
  35. ^ Bolles, Dan. "Vermont Musicians Share the Stories Behind Their Wedding Songs". Seven Days. Retrieved November 29, 2020.
  36. ^ Lefkowitz, Andy. "Hey, Little Songbird! Hadestown Creator Anaïs Mitchell & Husband Noah Welcome Second Child Rosetta". Retrieved November 29, 2020.
  37. ^ "Family politics, love, and music infuse the stunning Hymns for the Exiled. Vermont-based singer-songwriter details her new album." by Anand Nayak Songcraft: Anais Mitchell Acoustic Guitar April 2005, No. 148.
  38. ^ "The Critics: Sounds of 2012". The Independent. January 1, 2012. Retrieved April 25, 2018.
  39. ^ Holden, Stephen (March 18, 2016). "Review: Anais Mitchell Sings Her Own Work at the Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved April 25, 2018.
  40. ^ a b "Anais Mitchell Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved May 26, 2019.
  41. ^ Billboard Retrieved August 6, 2019. Missing or empty |title= (help)[permanent dead link]
  42. ^ "Archived copy". Billboard. Archived from the original on August 6, 2019. Retrieved August 6, 2019.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  43. ^ "Archived copy". Billboard. October 28, 2017. Archived from the original on April 21, 2019. Retrieved April 12, 2019.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  44. ^ Billboard Retrieved August 6, 2019. Missing or empty |title= (help)[permanent dead link]
  45. ^ "Hadestown (Original Broadway Cast Recording) on iTunes". iTunes. Retrieved June 4, 2019.
  46. ^ "2020 Grammy Nominees". November 20, 2019. Retrieved November 20, 2019.

External links[edit]