Musician & Activist
Attended high school in Palo Alto, Calif.; has lived in Woodside, Calif. for nearly 50 years.
Joan Baez made her major performance debut at the 1959 Newport Folk Festival. A stunning soprano, she rocketed up the charts, soon earning gold records and landing on the cover of Time magazine. Yet even as an 18-year-old, her repertoire reflected a different sensibility from her peers. In the traditional songs she mastered, there was an acknowledgment of the human condition.
For nearly six decades, as a singer and activist, at times when it was neither safe nor fashionable, she put herself on the line. Her life’s work was mirrored in her music and her mission has never wavered. She marched alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and sang at the March on Washington; co-founded the Institute for the Study of Nonviolence in Carmel Valley; organized resistance to the Vietnam War; shined a spotlight on the Free Speech Movement; inspired Vaclav Havel in his fight for a Czech Republic; helped establish a fledgling Amnesty International on the West Coast; and stood in the fields with Cesar Chavez and the migrant farmworkers.
Today Baez remains a musical force of nature and an artist of incalculable influence. She currently is embarked on her worldwide “Fare Thee Well Tour” and in 2018 released her first original album in a decade, “Whistle Down The Wind.” Her recent venture into painting resulted in her first solo exhibition in 2017. She is the author of two autobiographical books: “Daybreak” (1968) and “And A Voice To Sing With” (1987). Believing that we all must work for a just and loving society, she continues to fight for social justice, championing causes from immigrants’ rights to the abolition of capital punishment.
- NARAS (Grammy®) Lifetime Achievement Award (2007)
- ASCAP Centennial Award (2014)
- Amnesty International’s Ambassador of Conscience Award (2015)
- Induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (2017)