With artistic integrity and a sincere connection to her audience, Ani DiFranco has become one of music's most prolific performers by sheer force of will. A pioneer in the independent label movement, DiFranco founded her own record company Righteous Babe Records in 1989 at the age of eighteen.
By that time the singer/songwriter was already a seasoned troubadour whose live performances established her distinctive style: rapid fingerpicking, alternate tunings, and emotive lyrics that boldly confront contemporary social and political issues. Righteous Babe has issued all twenty-one of DiFranco's full-length studio albums, including the live recording Living in Clip and the recent Reprieve.
Her career retrospective Canon contains three-dozen songs from DiFranco's expansive catalog, spanning the years 1990-2006. In Fall 2007, Righteous Babe Records and Seven Stories Press published Ani DiFranco: Verses, a collection of original poetry and paintings- City Arts & Lectures
Michael Azerrad is an American author, journalist and musician. He grew up in the New York City area and received his BA degree from Columbia College in 1983.
Ani DiFranco is a Grammy Award winning singer, guitarist, and songwriter. She is known as a prolific artist (having released nineteen albums) and is widely celebrated as a feminist icon.
DiFranco was born in Buffalo, New York to mother Elizabeth and father Dante, both graduates of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She started playing Beatles covers at local bars and busking with her guitar teacher, Michael Meldrum, at the age of nine.
In 1989, DiFranco started her own record company, "Righteous Records" (renamed Righteous Babe Records in 1994. Prior to the renaming of Righteous Records to Righteous Babe Records. Early Releases of her CDs produced prior to 1994 are labeled with the original Righteous Records label. Her self-titled debut album was issued on the label in the winter of 1990. Later, she relocated to New York City, where she took poetry classes at The New School and toured vigorously.
All of her albums have been released on Righteous Babe Records of which she is CEO. In 2007 she released her first retrospective entitled, Canon, and a book of poetry, Verses.
I first saw Ani a number of years ago when she opened up one of the mornings at the now defunct Laguna Seca Daze. I was doing security front of stage and had to keep looking back at this folkie/punk babe with blue braids, trying to figure out what the hell was happening there. But I was hooked, and it took me off down this whole new musical path! She's great, intelligent, insightful, thoughtful, and (usually) just plain eloquent. I've been following her all these years now, and have not grown tired of her music. She is a talented, resourceful human being, and her music runs the gamut. It can be painful and/or passionate, humorous, and biting, but never dull. She sings what she feels, and manages to capture the best and worst in life, embracing the irony. One of my favorite moments was a few years back at the Greek in Berkeley when she had Maceo Parker opening for her, and Maceo announced that they'd had a talent contest earlier in the day and he wanted to introduce the winner. Out comes Ani in a suit and string tie, and together they proceeded to throw down the funk. Rock on Ani! )
Another wonderful program from City Arts & Lectures. It is always fascinating to hear a performing artist, questioned by a strong interviewer, talk at length about social, political and creative issues. I am pleased to have had my daughter inform me that this program was on FORA's home page. Very thoughtful conversation with an artist with informed and thoughtful viewpoints.