Ani DiFranco, the American singer-songwriter, feminist and activist, was born on September 23, 1970 in Buffalo, New York. Over the course of her career, DiFranco has released over twenty albums. Her eclectic style and politically charged lyrics have gained her a loyal fan base. Since 1990, DiFranco has toured aggressively and released albums on a consistent basis. DiFranco founded Righteous Records, her own record label, in 1989 at the age of nineteen. In 1994, DiFranco changed the name of her record label to Righteous Babe Records.
DiFranco’s debut self-titled album was released in 1990. After the release of her debut album, DiFranco became popular very quickly among college students, gaining a following largely via word of mouth. Since her initial release, DiFranco has continued releasing albums at a rate of about one per year and has also toured on a regular basis, resulting in a loyal and large fan base.
DiFranco has consistently turned down recording contracts offered by major records labels, choosing to record on her own label to retain control over her own music and maintain her artistic freedom. She has been a critic of the music industry along with fellow musicians like Prince.
DiFranco’s music style is often referred to as alternative rock, although she considers herself to be a folk singer. DiFranco’s influences are wide-ranging. Her songs frequently incorporate elements from a wide array of musical genres, including electronic, classical, funk and punk. DiFranco’s guitar style is known for her alternate tunings, rapid finger picking and signature staccato style. Her songs reflect personal experiences but also feminist and political themes as well.
DiFranco won a Grammy Award for her 2003 album Evolve. Her most recent album Which Side Are You On, released in 2012, includes collaborations with a wide range of musicians, including C.C. Adcock, Adam Levy, Skerik, Cyril and Ivan Neville and Pete Seeger.