RIDGEFIELD, Conn. -- Happy Birthday to Judy Collins!
Judith Marjorie Collins, who has owned a home in Ridgefield, turns 77 on Sunday. The singer and songwriter was born May 1, 1939, in Seattle, Washington.
Collins studied classical piano with Antonia Brico, making her public debut at age 13, performing Mozart's Concerto for Two Pianos.
Her music became popular at the University of Connecticut. She performed at parties and for the campus radio station. She eventually made her way to Greenwich Village, New York City, where she busked and played in clubs like Gerdes Folk City, until she signed with Elektra Records, a record label she was associated with for 35 years. In 1961, she released her first album, A Maid of Constant Sorrow, at age 22.
With her 1967 album Wildflowers, she began to record her own compositions, beginning with "Since You've Asked". The album also provided her with a major hit, and a Grammy award, in Mitchell's "Both Sides, Now", which reached Number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100.
In 2008 she oversaw an album featuring artists ranging from Dolly Parton and Joan Baez to Rufus Wainwright and Chrissie Hynde covering her compositions; she also released a collection of The Beatles covers, and she received an honorary doctorate from Pratt Institute on May 18 of that year.
In 2010, she sang "The Weight of the World" at the Newport Folk Festival, a song by Amy Speace.
She joined the 10th and 11th annual Independent Music Awards judging panel to assist independent musicians' careers. She was also a judge for the 7th and 9th Independent Music Awards.
She is currently a representative for UNICEF and campaigns on behalf of the abolition of landmines.
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