Recognized at an early age as somewhat of a piano prodigy, Judy Collins made her concert debut at the tender age of 13 by performing Mozart’s "Concerto for Two Pianos." Though she had the talent to perform any given classical standard, Collins found true inspiration in the folk revival of the early 1960s. The traditional folk pieces sparked her a love of lyrics, and three years after her piano concert debut she began playing guitar. She eventually made her way to New York City, where she busked on the streets and played in small clubs until she signed with Elektra Records, a record label with which she was associated for 35 years. In 1961, Collins released her first album, A Maid of Constant Sorrow, and established herself by singing the traditional folk songs of the time or songs written by others. She recorded her own versions of seminal songs of the period, such as Dylan’s “Mr. Tambourine Man” and Pete Seeger’s “Turn, Turn, Turn," and was also instrumental in bringing then little known composers to a wider audience for her versions of their songs. By recording songs by Canadian poet Leonard Cohen and Canadian singer/songwriter Joni Mitchell, Collins helped kick start the songwriters' careers. By the 1970s, Collins had a solid reputation as a folksinger and had begun to stand out with her own compositions. She is now renowned for her wide spectrum of material.
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