Most well-known for her singing, Judy Collins’ music career has spread over 40 years. Her influence in music and politics has spanned decades. Her vocal interpretations have inspired millions, and she counts former presidents as fans. She has released more than 40 albums and has had numerous top-10 hits, Grammy nominations, and gold and platinum-selling albums.
Collins moved with her family to Denver in her mid-teens. Her early musical background was in classical piano. By age ten, Collins was studying with mentor Antonia Brico, the famed orchestra conductor (and 1986 inductee into the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame). But the music of the traditional songs of the folk revival inspired Collins to move from playing the Steinway to playing guitar. In 1961, after an appearance in New York, she signed a contract with Elektra Records that would last for 35 years and produce 19 albums. In 1999,Collins started her own independent label, Wildflower Records.
In 1974, Ms. Collins produced and co-directed with Jill Godmilov a prize-winning documentary about Ms. Collins’s mentor, Antonia: A Portrait of the Woman. The film received an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary and was named one of the top ten films of the year by Time Magazine.
Collins is the author of several books, including Singing Lessons, in which she looks back on her life and career, and Sanity & Grace, a Journey of Suicide, Survival and Strength, which focuses on the death of her only son and the learning process following the tragedy. In her 2005 book “Morning, Noon and Night: Living the Creative Life,” Collins seeks to help people focus on their creativity and increase their productivity and enjoyment in their creative pursuits.
Ms. Collins was named a UNICEF Special Representative for the Arts in 1995. In this capacity, she has made several visits to the former Yugoslavia and Vietnam. She has also worked to eradicate landmines. She has received numerous humanitarian awards for her work with UNICEF and alcohol abuse and suicide prevention programs.
Today, Ms. Collins maintains a rigorous 60 to 80-city concert schedule, while continuing to record and produce music, write books, and work for the causes she espouses, still remaining creative and vibrant as an artist.