Widely considered a feminist icon, Grammy winner Ani DiFranco is the mother of the DIY movement, being one of the first artists to create her own record label in 1990. While she has been known as the “Little Folksinger,” her music has embraced punk, funk, hip hop, jazz, soul, electronica and even more distant sounds.
Her collaborators have included everyone from Utah Phillips to legendary R&B saxophonist Maceo Parker to Prince. She has shared stages with Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Pete Seeger, Kris Kristofferson, Bon Iver, Brand Carlile, Billy Bragg, Michael Franti, Chuck D., and many more. Her most recent albums include 2021’s Revolutionary Love and the July 2022 25th Anniversary Edition reissue of her iconic live album Living In Clip, both on her own label Righteous Babe Records. Her memoir No Walls and the Recurring Dream was released in May 2019 by Viking Books, and was a New York Times Top 10 best seller. Rejecting the major label system has given her significant creative freedom. She has referenced her staunchly-held independence in song more than once, including in "The Million You Never Made" (Not a Pretty Girl), which discusses the act of turning down a lucrative contract, "The Next Big Thing" (Not So Soft), which describes an imagined meeting with a label head-hunter who evaluates the singer based on her looks, and "Napoleon" (Dilate), which sympathizes sarcastically with an unnamed friend who did sign with a label.
After recording with Ani in 1999, Prince described the effects of her independence. “Trickle Down” discusses racism and gentrification, while “To The Teeth” speaks about the need for gun control, and “In or Out” questions society’s traditional sexuality labels. "Play God" has become a battle cry for reproductive rights while “Revolutionary Love” calls for compassion to be the center of social movements. Rolling Stone said of her in 2012, "The world needs more radicals like Ani DiFranco: wry, sexy, as committed to beauty and joy as revolution."