Singer, songwriter and guitarist Ani DiFranco was born in 1970 in Buffalo. She moved out of her parents’ house when she only was 15. Before that – when she was nine years old – DiFranco was covering the Beatles in local bars alongside her guitar teacher. She started her own lable, Righteous Babe, when she was only 18.
Wikipedia describes her as a folk and rock singer who has added punk, funk, hip hop and jazz influences. Her debut album was released in 1990.
The Sun has a good Q&A with DiFranco, whose early years sound quite harrowing, but in a subtle way. Nothing awful seemed to have happened, but the idea of a young girl essentially living hand to mouth alomst on the streets of Buffalo is a bit unsettling.
DiFranco made it through, however, and now is the mother of two. She cites Pete Seeger as an influence. Anyone who does so almost certainly has an affinity for Woody Guthrie as well. An early career highlight, according to Wikipedia, was performing in 1995 alongside Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Arlo Guthrie, Indigo Girls, Tim Robbins and Bruce Springsteen at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. The occasion was the opening of the Woody Guthrie Archive in New York City.
DiFranco has been nominated for four Grammy Awards. She won the Best Recording Package Grammy in 2004. Two years later, DiFranco also won the Woman of Courage Award from the National Organization for Women.
Above is “Binary” and below is “Anygry Anymore,” which Paste Records’ Jenn Morson considers to be the top DiFranco songs. Others are “Swan Dive,” “Shameless,” “As Is,” “Garden of Simple,” “32 Flavors,” “Gravel,” “Dilate,” “Untouchable Face,” “Shy” and “Both Hands.”
The Sun story, which was posted in May 2016, says that she has released more than 20 albums that have sold more than 4 million.