JP doctor moonlights as singer

October 26, 2012
By

Liz Mitchell is able to have her cake and eat it, too. The Jamaica Plain resident is an emergency room doctor and musician, two passions in her life.

“It’s the best of both worlds,” said Mitchell, a singer-songwriter who recently released her second album, “Pretty House.”

She added, “They both are hard jobs. I wish I had more time for music, but I’m happy I can do both.”

A fortuitous event actually led to that possibility.

After graduating college, Mitchell worked as a cook at Club Passim in Harvard Square. During that time, she was also a street singer in the square and played at coffee houses. But she lost her voice and that prompted her to go back to school to become a doctor.

“It’s hard to say what would have happened if I had never lost my voice,” said Mitchell.

Mitchell, who is originally from Watertown, said she has always gone back and forth between medicine and music. She was musically inclined in her youth, starting to write songs as a 13-year-old, but decided to enroll in a pre-medicine program at Clark University.

Mitchell ended up graduating with a degree in philosophy, but returned years later to Clark after losing her voice. While back in school, her voice came back and she soon started playing music again.

For the last 16 years, Mitchell has been an emergency room doctor at Boston Medical Center. Some of her songs on her latest album reflect that experience. One song called “Tommy and Angela” is about a couple she met who are struggling with substance abuse.

Another song, titled “Karine,” is about a patient Mitchell knew in the emergency room who died unexpectedly. The song talks about the patient’s hopes and dreams preceding her death. Mitchell never learned the cause of death and she said that is a common theme to her album: the mystery of life and loss and the things people really can’t know.

“The songs run the gamut and are fairly personal,” she said.

Mitchell, who recently underwent shoulder surgery and will be out of commission for a few weeks, plays different venues around the area, such as Club Passim and open mic nights at a church in Roslindale Square.

For more information on “Pretty House” or her first album, “not the whether of summer,” visit lizmitchellmusic.com.

(Image Courtesy of Liz Mitchell) Liz Mitchell.

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