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A Short Biography Of Ani DiFranco

(b. September 23, 1970, in Buffalo, New York)

Ani DiFranco (a.k.a. "The Folksinger") began her career at the age of nine, playing in bars. She was born to Elizabeth and Dante DiFranco. Both of her parents graduated from M.I.T. Her father was a research engineer, her mother an architect. Her parents separated when she was 11, and she went to live with her mother in a little apartment in Buffalo. When Ani was 15, her mother moved to Connecticut but Ani chose to stay behind in Buffalo and fend for herself, eventually getting her own apartment and living unofficially as an emancipated minor while she finished high school. It was around this time she started writing her own songs, and by the time she was 20 she had around 100 original compositions.

She released her first album in 1990, on her label Righteous Babe Records. It was an immediate college-radio success, and the grassroots response to that album and the ones that followed led to lots of offers for shows. Within a few short years Ani went from playing coffeehouses to large theaters and major folk festivals. Offers came for recording contracts, but Ani refused them all, preferring to conduct her career completely on her own terms.

As a result, she's not just a singer, guitarist, and songwriter; she also produces each album, oversees cover art, selects artists she wants to work with (from touring musicians Sara Lee and Andy Stochansky to video directors and t-shirt designers) and sets her own release schedule. Since her first album, Ani has released nine full-lenth albums and a double live CD, as well as lending her talents to many other projects.

Here are her releases on Righteous Babe Records:

RBR 001 ANI DIFRANCO (1990)

RBR 002 NOT SO SOFT (1991)

RBR 003 IMPERFECTLY (1992)

RBR 004 PUDDLE DIVE (1993)

RBR 005 LIKE I SAID (SONGS 1990-91) (1993)

RBR 006 OUT OF RANGE (1994)

RBR 007 NOT A PRETTY GIRL (1995)

RBR 008 DILATE (1996) -- Made news for debuting in the Top 100, which is very uncommon for an indie release.

RBR 009 (UTAH PHILLIPS/ANI DIFRANCO) THE PAST DIDN'T GO ANYWHERE (1996) This is a collaboration she did with a storyteller Utah Phillips, where he speaks and she provides the "background noises" of guitar, vocal stylings and beats. It is quite interesting...

RBR 010 MORE JOY, LESS SHAME EP (1996)

RBR 011 LIVING IN CLIP DOUBLE LIVE CD (1997) Very good, packed full of wacky stage antics and good raw songs from her previous albums, and a few new "zygotes". The powerful version of "In Or Out" is the highlight of this album.

RBR 012 LITTLE PLASTIC CASTLE (1998) Not quite as good as Living In Clip but it has it's quirky, funky moments, with driving lyrics and some ska and jazzy horn riffs. My favorite song is "Deep Dish."

Since the release of "Little Plastic Castle," Ani has recieved more mainstream success, and is now gracing the covers of magazines such as Spin and Rolling Stone regularly. Whether this is a good or bad thing remains to be seen, as she has been losing some of her more "hardcore" fans. She remains adamant against selling out, however, and continues her position as the indie label pioneer.

If you like Ani, you might want to check out these other artists:

Melissa Etheridge

Melissa Ferrick

Laura Love

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