Welcome back to Female Friday, where we here at lyriquediscorde delve deep into Women Musicians, and the Music they Create and Perform. This Week’s Edition of Female Friday we will be diving into the Music of Ani DiFranco, who happens to have New Album out recently, as well – Binary – which you can Read About later today in our Top 5 New Releases Post.
Ani came to my attention in the mid-to-late 90’s. I was obsessed with Women in Music, and when I first heard Ani I became even more obsessed. Songs like “Not a Pretty Girl”, “Little Plastic Castles”, and “32 Flavors” fit so perfectly into who I was at that age, and in the era. I have seen her Play Live four times (if you have the chance, you should, too), and fallen hard for so many of her Albums. Through the years she has not only become one of my favorite Female Artists, but one of my all-time Favorite Musicians, many of her Songs and Albums holding permanent residence in my Best of Lists.
“32 Flavors” (Live)
Ani DiFranco :: Female Friday
Ani’s music is intrinsically woven into my mid-to-late 90’s memories of people and places and mix tapes I made, and was gifted. She also reminds me of two special someones who came into my life, shook up my life, and taught me vital things about creating art, experiencing life, and the limitless capacity of love. Ani’s music is loaded with emotion for me, especially the albums Little Plastic Castles, Not a Pretty Girl, and Out of Range.
Ani DiFranco, born Angela Maria DiFranco in 1970, is an American singer, guitarist, multi-instrumentalist, poet and songwriter. She has released more than 20 albums and is widely considered a feminist icon. DiFranco has received positive feedback from critics for much of her career.
Although DiFranco’s music has been classified as both folk rock and alternative rock, she has reached across genres since her earliest albums incorporating first punk, then funk, hip hop, and jazz influences. She was one of the first independent musicians to create her own record label (Righteous Babe), a move that has given her significant creative freedom.
From the earliest days of her career, DiFranco has lent her voice and her name to a broad range of social movements, performing benefit concerts, appearing on benefit albums, and speaking at rallies. Through the Righteous Babe Foundation, DiFranco has backed various grassroots cultural and political organizations, supporting causes ranging from abortion rights to gay visibility.
“You Had Time” (Live)
DiFranco has been a critical success for much of her career, though not a commercial one by major label standards. Living in Clip, DiFranco’s 1998 double live album, is the only one to achieve gold record status to date.
Starting in 2003, DiFranco was nominated four consecutive times for Best Recording Package at the Grammy Awards, winning in 2004, for Evolve.
On July 21, 2006, DiFranco received the “Woman of Courage Award” at the National Organization for Women (NOW) Conference and Young Feminist Summit in Albany, New York. Past winners have included singer and actress Barbra Streisand and Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif. DiFranco is one of the first musicians to receive the award, given each year to a woman who has set herself apart by her contributions to the feminist movement.
In 2009 DiFranco became a Woody Guthrie Award recipient, as a voice of positive social change.
DiFranco was one of the first independent artists to own her own label, she cites her anti-corporate ethos for the main reason she decided to start her own label. This has allowed her a considerable degree of creative freedom over the years, including, for example, providing all instrumentals and vocals and recording the album herself at her home on an analog 8-track reel to reel, and handling much of the artwork and packaging design for her 2004 album Educated Guess.
The business grew organically starting in 1990 with the first cassette tape. Connections were made when women in colleges started duplicating and sharing tapes. Offers to play at colleges started coming in and her popularity grew largely by word of mouth and through women’s groups or organizations. Zango and Goldenrod, two music distributors specializing in women’s music, started carrying DiFranco’s music. In general they sold music to independent music stores and women’s book stores. In 1995 Righteous Babe Records signed with Koch International for DiFranco’s release of Not a Pretty Girl. Her records could then be found in large and small record stores alike.
In 2010 when the BP Oil Spill crippled the Gulf she donated her talents to the “For Our Coast”benefit concert joining Marianne Faithfull, C.C. Adcock and others at the Acadiana Center for the Arts Theater in Lafayette, raising money for Gulf Aid Acadiana, and the Gulf Aid show with Lenny Kravitz, Mos Def, and many more at Mardi Gras World River City in New Orleans, both shows raising money to help protect the wetlands, clean up the coast and to assist the fishermen and their families affected by the spill.
DiFranco also sits on the board for The Roots of Music, founded by Rebirth Brass Band drummer Derrick Tabb. The organization fills a void in music education in New Orleans educational institutions by providing free Marching Band instruction to area children in addition to academic tutoring and mentoring.
DiFranco joined about 500,000 people at the March for Women’s Lives in DC in April 2004 to voice her support for women’s rights. As an honored guest she marched in the front row for the three-mile route, along with Margaret Cho, Janeane Garofalo, Whoopi Goldberg, Gloria Steinem and many others. Later in the day, Ani played a few songs on the main stage in front of the Capitol, including “Your Next Bold Move”.
Scot Fisher, Righteous Babe label president and DiFranco’s longtime manager, has been a longtime advocate of the preservation movement in Buffalo. In 1999 he and DiFranco purchased a decaying church on the verge of demolition in downtown Buffalo and began the lengthy process of restoring it. In 2006 the building opened its doors again, first briefly as “The Church” and then as “Babeville,” housing two concert venues, the record label’s business office, and Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center.
“Untouchable Face” (Live)
Ready to Hear some Ani DiFranco? How about 30 Quintessential Top Tracks? The following Playlist is Streamable on Spotify and YouTube, or you can just click the video at the bottom of the Post and Listen to it all right here.
Ani DiFranco’s Top Tracks :: Female Friday Playlist
“You Had Time”
“Little Plastic Castle”
“Fixing Her Hair”
“Out of Range” (Acoustic)
“Two Little Girls”
“Not a Pretty Girl”
“Your Next Bold Move”
“Building & Bridges”
“Letter to a John”
“To the Teeth”
“Not So Soft”
“I’m No Heroine”
Ani DiFranco’s Top Tracks :: Female Friday Playlist