Ani Difranco was born in Buffalo, NY. She performed Beatles’ songs in local bars when she was just nine years old, then started writing her own songs at the age of fifteen. Music was always an outlet that Difranco used to talk about the things that were important to her. She graduated from the Visual and Performing Arts High School at sixteen and moved to New York City by the age of 18. Eventually, Difranco emptied her bank account and borrowed money from friends to support the production of her very first album. She also turned down offers from major record labels as well as independent ones, deciding instead to start her own record company, Righteous Babe Records. This was obviously a bold move for an unknown female artist who was engulfed in an industry of multinational corporations. Difranco writes and publishes her own material, produces her own material, does the artwork for herself and releases her music. She is constantly touring and also has put out seventeen albums of her own. One has been released every year since 1990; two were released in both 1993 and 1999. She also has work on compilations with different artists. Difranco’s music is strong and bold and empowering for women. She is a feminist activist and believes strongly in women’s rights. For example, in 2004, she joined over 1,150,000 others in the March for Women’s Lives, leading the group as an honored guest. Difranco has a folky sound that is mixed with a rockin’ guitar. Her voice can sound sweet and subtle or loud and edgy. Her music inspires and begs people to be moved.
One of her songs,“Not a Pretty Girl” (off of her album of the same name), is a testimonial to her feelings about women’s rights. The song talks about how she wants to be more than a pretty girl; that she wants to be known for more than just looks. She speaks of how people call her angry when really she is speaking the truth, which is what people do. Some people think of Difranco’s music as “angry-chick-male-bashing,” when really it’s about being independent and asserting yourself as a woman and as an equal member of society.