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Ani DiFranco

A folkie in punk's clothing, Ani DiFranco battled successfully against the Goliath of corporate rock to emerge as one of the most influential and inspirational cult heroines of the 1990s. A resolute follower of the D.I.Y. ethos, DiFranco released her records through her own indie label, Righteous Babe, slowly but steadily building a devout grassroots following on the strength of a relentless tour schedule. An ardent feminist and an open bisexual, her songs tackled issues like rape, abortion, and sexism with insight and compassion, the music's empowering attitude and anger tempered by the poignant candor of singer/songwriter confessionalism.

DiFranco was born in Buffalo, New York, on September 23, 1970. She began her career at the age of nine, when her guitar teacher helped her land her first gig -- performing a set of Beatles covers -- at an area coffeehouse. Befriended by the likes of Suzanne Vega and Michelle Shocked, she later gave up music to study ballet, but at the age of 14 returned to the guitar and began composing her first songs. A year later, alienated from her crumbling family structure, she left home, living with friends while making the rounds of the Buffalo folk club circuit.

DiFranco had written over 100 original songs by the age of 19, and after briefly studying art, she relocated to New York City to further her musical aspirations; besieged by requests from fans for tapes of her performances, she recorded a demo and pressed 500 copies of a self-titled cassette to sell at shows. The tape -- a Spartan acoustic folk collection of intensely personal essays on failed relationships and gender inequities -- quickly sold out, and in 1990 DiFranco founded Righteous Babe to better distribute her recordings, which were slowly spreading across the country on the strength of a substantial word-of-mouth following.

In 1991, after issuing the assured Not So Soft, DiFranco hit the road alone, touring the nation in her Volkswagen and playing gigs wherever she could find them. Her cult blossomed, and her distinct image -- shaved head, tattoos, and body piercings -- soon became the de rigueur look for her fans as well. As albums like 1992's Imperfectly and 1993's Puddle Dive expanded her musical ambitions as well as her following, DiFranco became the subject of considerable major-label interest, yet she steadfastly rejected all offers as Righteous Babe grew to become a highly viable business venture.

DiFranco continued playing over 200 dates a year, and soon even the mainstream media took notice of her cottage-industry music; after 1994's masterful Out of Range, she exploded with the following year's Not a Pretty Girl, which garnered notice from outlets ranging from CNN to The New York Times. A sprawling, eclectic work detailing a heated love affair with a man (much to the chagrin of her lesbian followers), 1996's Dilate even debuted in the Top 100 of the Billboard charts, a stunning achievement for an independent release. The live set Living in Clip followed in 1997.

Early in 1998, DiFranco released the studio effort Little Plastic Castle; her most musically diverse release yet, it also was her highest-charting album to date, and set the stage for the release of Up Up Up Up Up Up the following year. Another new LP, To the Teeth, appeared in 1999 as well, and in mid-2000 came the release of the odds-and-ends compilation Swing Set. Revelling: Reckoning appeared in spring 2001. In 2002, DiFranco trudged on; a road warrior at heart, she issued the double-disc So Much Shouting, So Much Laughter in September, her first live album since 1997's Living in Clip. The So Much Shouting set captured handpicked favorites by DiFranco and three previously unreleased songs.

The following year's Evolve added funk, jazz, and Latin elements to the mix, while 2004's Educated Guess was performed completely by DiFranco. Knuckle Down, co-produced by Joe Henry, arrived in 2005. The eighth disc in her official bootleg series, Carnegie Hall (recorded live on April 2, 2002), was released in the spring of 2006, and then -- shortly after the singer announced she was pregnant -- her studio album Reprieve arrived that same August. DiFranco gave birth to her daughter in January 2007 and released another official bootleg, Hamburg, Germany, in 2008. Red Letter Year appeared later in 2008, featuring songs inspired by the impending presidential race, DiFranco's baby daughter, and her partner/producer Mike Napolitano. 2012's Which Side Are You On?, the 16th studio album from the alternative folk legend, featured 12 new songs, including the rousing title cut, which was a reworking of a song made popular by Pete Seeger, who lent his distinctive voice and banjo to DiFranco's rendition. In 2014 she returned to her home studio in the New Orleans' Bywater neighborhood to record, produce, and mix sessions for her follow-up, Allergic to Water. Featuring backing from her touring band and guests Jenny Scheinman and Ivan Neville, the set was issued in November. ~ Jason Ankeny
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Allergic To Water

1. Dithering

2. See See See See

3. Woe Be Gone

4. Careless Words

5. Allergic To Water

6. Harder Than It Needs To Be

7. Genie

8. Happy All The Time

9. Yeah Yr Right

10. Tr'w

11. Still My Heart

12. Rainy Parade

x

Track List: Which Side Are You On?

1. Life Boat

2. Unworry

3. Which Side Are You On

4. Splinter

5. Promiscuity

6. Albacore

7. J

8. If Yr Not

9. Hearse

10. Mariachi

11. Amendment

12. Zoo

x

Track List: Red Letter Year

1. Red Letter Year

2. Alla This

3. Present/Infant

4. Smiling Underneath

5. Way Tight

6. Emancipated Minor

7. Good Luck

8. The Atom

9. Round A Pole

10. Landing Gear

11. Star Matter

12. Red Letter Year (Reprise)

x

Track List: Canon

Disc 1

1. Fire Door

2. God's Country

3. You Had Time

4. Buildings And Bridges

5. Coming Up

6. Cradle And All

7. Shy

8. 32 Flavors

9. Dilate

10. Distracted

11. Gravel

12. Untouchable Face

13. Joyful Girl

14. Little Plastic Castle

15. Fuel

16. As Is

17. Napoleon (Canon Version)

18. Shameless (Canon Version)

Disc 2

1. Hello Birmingham

2. This Box Contains

3. Grey

4. Prison Prism

5. Marrow

6. Here For Now

7. Subdivision

8. Rain Check

9. Swim

10. Paradigm

11. Manhole

12. Studying Stones

13. Hypnotized

14. 78% H2O

15. Millennium Theater

16. Your Next Bold Move (Canon Version)

17. Both Hands (Canon Version)

18. Overlap (Canon Version)

x

Track List: Reprieve

1. Hypnotized

2. Subconscious

3. In The Margins

4. Nicotine

5. Decree

6. 78% H2O

7. Millennium Theater

8. Half-Assed

9. Reprieve

10. A Spade

11. Unrequited

12. Shroud

13. Reprise

x

Track List: Carnegie Hall 4.6.02

1. God's Country (Live 2002)

2. Subdivision (Live 2002)

3. Angry Anymore (Live 2002)

4. Educated Guess (Live 2002)

5. Not So Soft (Live 2002)

6. Two Little Girls (Live 2002)

7. [Interlude] (Live 2002)

8. Gratitude (Live 2002)

9. Detroit Annie... (Live 2002)

10. In The Way (Live 2002)

11. Second Intermission (Live 2002)

12. Names & Dates (Live 2002)

13. Serpentine (Live 2002)

14. Self Evident (Live 2002)

15. Out Of Range (Live 2002)

x

Track List: Knuckle Down

1. Knuckle Down

2. Studying Stones

3. Manhole

4. Sunday Morning

5. Modulation

6. Seeing Eye Dog

7. Lag Time

8. Parameters

9. Callous

10. Paradigm

11. Minerva

12. Recoil

x

Track List: Educated Guess

1. Platforms

2. Swim

3. Educated Guess

4. Origami

5. Bliss Like This

6. The True Story Of What Was

7. Bodily

8. You Each Time

9. Animal

10. Grand Canyon

11. Company

12. Rain Check

13. Akimbo

14. Bubble

x

Track List: Evolve

1. Promised Land

2. In the Way

3. Icarus

4. Slide

5. O My My

6. Evolve

7. Shrug

8. Phase

9. Here For Now

10. Second Intermission

11. Serpentine

12. Welcome To:

x

Track List: So Much Shouting So Much Laughter (Live)

Disc 1

1. Swandive (Live)

2. Letter To A John / Tamburitza Lingua (Live)

3. Grey (Live)

4. Cradle & All (Live)

5. What All Is Nice (Live)

6. Whathowwhenwhere (Live)

7. To The Teeth (Live)

8. Revelling (Live)

9. Napoleon (Live)

10. Shrug (Live)

11. Welcome To: (Live)

Disc 2

1. Comes A Time (Live)

2. Ain't That The Way (Live)

3. Dilate (Live)

4. Gratitude (Live)

5. Rock Paper Scissors (Live)

6. 32 Flavors (Live)

7. Loom / Pulse (Live)

8. Not A Pretty Girl (Live)

9. Self Evident (Live)

10. Reckoning (Live)

11. My IQ (Live)

12. Jukebox (Live)

13. You Had Time (Live)

x

Track List: Revelling / Reckoning

Disc 1

1. Ain't That The Way

2. O.K.

3. Garden Of Simple

5. Marrow

6. Heartbreak Even

7. Harvest

8. Kazoointoit

9. Whatall Is Nice

10. What How When Where (Why Who)

11. Fierce Flawless

12. Rock Paper Scissors

13. Beautiful Night

Disc 2

1. Your Next Bold Move

2. This Box Contains...

3. Reckoning

4. So What

5. Prison Prism

6. Imagine That

7. Flood Waters

8. Grey

9. Subdivision

10. Old Old Song

11. Sick Of Me

12. Don't Nobody Know

13. School Night

x

Track List: To The Teeth

1. To The Teeth

2. Soft Shoulder

3. Wish I May

4. Freakshow

5. Going Once

6. Hello Birmingham

7. Back Back Back

8. Swing

9. Carry You Around

10. Cloud Blood

11. The Arrivals Gate

12. Providence

13. I Know This Bar

x

Track List: Up Up Up Up Up Up

1. 'Tis Of Thee

2. Virtue

3. Come Away From It

4. Jukebox

5. Angel Food

7. Everest

8. Up Up Up Up Up Up

9. Know Now Then

10. Trickle Down

x

Track List: Little Plastic Castle

1. Little Plastic Castle

2. Fuel

3. Gravel

4. As Is

5. Two Little Girls

6. Deep Dish

7. Loom

8. Pixie

9. Swan Dive

10. Glass House

11. Independence Day

x

Track List: Living In Clip

Disc 1

1. Whatever (Live 1995)

2. Wherever (Live 1995)

3. Gravel (Live 1995)

4. Willing To Fight (Live 1995)

5. Shy (Live 1995)

6. Joyful Girl (Live 1995)

7. Hide And Seek (Live 1995)

8. Napoleon (Live 1995)

9. I'm No Heroine (Live 1995)

10. Amazing Grace (Live 1995)

11. Anticipate (Live 1995)

12. Tiptoe (Live 1995)

13. Sorry I Am (Live 1995)

14. The Slant / The Diner (Live 1995)

15. 32 Flavors (Live 1995)

16. Out Of Range (Live 1995)

Disc 2

3. Distracted (Live)

x

Track List: Dilate

1. Untouchable Face

2. Outta Me, Onto You

3. Superhero

4. Dilate

5. Amazing Grace

6. Napoleon

7. Shameless

8. Done Wrong

9. Going Down

10. Adam And Eve

11. Joyful Girl

x

Track List: Not A Pretty Girl

1. Worthy

3. Cradle And All

4. Shy

5. Sorry I Am

6. Light Of Some Kind

7. Not A Pretty Girl

8. The Million You Never Made

9. Hour Follows Hour

10. 32 Flavors

11. Asking Too Much

13. Crime For Crime

14. Coming Up

x

Track List: Like I Said

1. Anticipate

2. Rockabye

3. Not So Soft

4. Roll With It

5. Work Your Way Out

6. Fire Door

7. Gratitude

8. The Whole Night

9. Both Hands

10. She Says

11. Rush Hour

12. Out Of Habit

13. Lost Woman Song

14. Talk To Me Now

15. The Slant

x

Track List: Out Of Range

1. Buildings And Bridges

2. Out Of Range (Acoustic)

3. Letter To A John

4. Hell Yeah

5. How Have You Been

6. Overlap

7. Face Up And Sing

8. Falling Is Like This

9. Out Of Range (Electric)

10. You Had Time

11. If He Tries Anything

12. The Diner

x

Track List: Puddle Dive

1. Names And Dates And Times

2. Anyday

3. 4th Of July

4. Willing To Fight

5. Egos Like Hairdos

6. Back Around

7. Blood In The Boardroom

8. Born A Lion

9. My IQ

10. Used To You

11. Pick Yer Nose

12. God's Country

x

Track List: Imperfectly

1. What If No One's Watching

2. Fixing Her Hair

3. In Or Out

4. Every State Line

5. Circle Of Light

6. If It Isn't Her

7. Good, Bad, Ugly

8. I'm No Heroine

9. Coming Up

10. Make Them Apologize

11. The Waiting Song

12. Served Faithfully

13. Imperfectly

x

Track List: Not So Soft

1. Anticipate

2. Rockabye

3. She Says

4. Make Me Stay

5. On Every Corner

6. Small World

7. Not So Soft

8. Roll With It

9. Itch

10. Gratitude

11. The Whole Night

12. The Next Big Thing

13. Brief Bus Stop

14. Looking For The Holes

x

Track List: Ani DiFranco (The First Album)

1. Both Hands

2. Talk To Me Now

3. The Slant

4. Work Your Way Out

5. Dog Coffee

6. Lost Woman Song

7. Pale Purple

8. Rush Hour

9. Fire Door

10. The Story

11. Every Angle

12. Out Of Habit

13. Letting The Telephone Ring

Comments

Report as inappropriate
I am not a whore. Yet I am most assuredly a whooha...I am a patriot an have been fighting...b e e n part of being so much more than a pretty girl.
Report as inappropriate
Perfect. Always a fitting end. Or begin..
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Clip,clop,cl a c k . . . s t i l l get gitty, catnip for an old dogs soul....howl l l z z z ruff-rufff, wagging that tail...of mine after the quick sit, good boy wait...here it come...stron g guitar barks, down,rolling over...playi n g hows that! Ears perked up...whine's it's over to soon,rewind? "NO" beg! Please bekind...rew i n d
Report as inappropriate
Absolute masterpiece of a live compilation. I've worn out so many copies of this. Love, love, love...
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Clip, clop, clack, phase. ..wow'D
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I'm an a**hole
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grilledsardi n e
Simply the best.
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TOO
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Love ani
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F**k you and your unsinkable o's
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Oh, I actually like the comments--sh e . Is . My. Absolute. Favorite artist, philanthropi s t s / h u m a n i t a r i a n ever! I've never ever seen any man become so successful after creating his independent record label--& not selling out no matter how poor, bc her music had to be her 'own' & 'real'. Neatest best musician/poe t / m o t h e r ever! & hardest working. We <3 'what u do..' ;) , Ani xoxoxos
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I love you to baby
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As a man, at times I feel like an outsider looking in when listening to her. Not that it's a bad thing. Wish I were 1/3 the creative person she appears to be.
Report as inappropriate
One of the greatest poets of our time...
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Shannon.
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I adore her subversive persona. She's Joan Baez with a sense of humor and far less pretension.
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Ani is my soul mate in a creative sense love her
Report as inappropriate
Ani rocks!!!!
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tlcoleman4
Such an amazing writer...mus i c i a n . . . p r o d u c e r . . . w o m a n !
Report as inappropriate
Ani plays that get-fiddle like no other
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Oops I mean @ mamahindu, not mamahinduI.
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Ps @mamahinduI totally agree. That IS what music should do. You're SO right
Report as inappropriate
Her music is actually MEANINGFUL instead of the music today about love and partying, and drinking.
Report as inappropriate
dlmmsw
I. LOVE. HER.
Report as inappropriate
its like she knows me and whats going on in my life. i can listen to her and either cry my eyes out, laugh hysterically , or scream at the top of my lungs. she gives me goose bumps. isnt that what music should be all about? she gets me through my days.
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yes yes yes yes
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yazoonative
A great inspiration to me and my friends forever!
Report as inappropriate
She is absolutely Amazing!!!!!
Report as inappropriate
Agree with Nanette Moore.... There is no experience in life the Ani has not covered in one of her songs.
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I AGREE
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Ani is the Best ARTIST Ever. Period. No competition. AT ALL!!!
Report as inappropriate
she's the best female artist our generation
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See you in Feb!!! :)
Report as inappropriate
rfelix75
Been a long time since I have listened to her. Pure self-made musical genius with songs that really make you feel. Love her. She touches my soul! Thank you Ani for being able to musically evoke my heart and soul. Very few artists have the ability (for me) to do that!
Report as inappropriate
Like doesn't even come close... is there a worship button?
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Righteous Song smith
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choperini117 0
Great, sudden idea! Ani should duet with Conor Oberst (Bright Eyes) on a song they ideally write together...t h e y ' r e both such lyrical geniuses, and Oberst has a lot of the same folky-jazzy sound Ani's got going in songs like "Marrow" (just listened to Oberst's "Southern State," for example).
Report as inappropriate
I just recently saw her at the showbox is Seattle after about a 10 year hiatus. Best show ever, like seeing an old friend again. I'm not angry any more. Thanks Ani. :)
Report as inappropriate
becktesch
I've loved her music for years. It has gotten me through tough days and tough times. It has also helped me appreciate the wonders and joys of life. Thank you Ani! Keep up the amazing work!!!
Report as inappropriate
i can't stand the wait for the next cd....can i volunteer all my time until it's release? I am good with kids!
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one of my all time favorites- she is amazing in concert
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kferrara4
Just discovered her and I'm hooked!
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love her music very talented! & inspiring. My girlfriend loves her:)!
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tbell23
Love your music Ani
Report as inappropriate
Ani....she totally rocks! There is no situation in life that you will go through that there isn't an Ani song to with it. I swear! Totally true!
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the frankmaster general. my 2 girls know all the words
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I LOVE YOU ANI! =)
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liliana.ross m a n n
inspirationa l , both through her lyrics as well as through her lifestory!
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choperini117 0
Listening to Joni Mitchell for the first time, am seeing similarities between her phrasing and Ani's...I think she influenced Ani a bit, even if it's not one of the normally listed "direct influences" (Who is, anyway??!!? Ani's such an enigma...)
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