Feeling good and Righteous
SheKnows: Are there specific people who you credit for providing such critical support?
Ani DiFranco: I could pretty much sum it up with Todd Sickafoose and Mike Napolitano. The first guy is my bass player and just an amazing musician – like none I’ve ever
played with. He is an incredible musical partner and inspiration for me. On Red Letter Year he did all the string arrangements and some things other than bass. Mike is my husband now and
the most genius recording engineer, mixer and co-producer I’ve ever worked with. I am super lucky to have one in the family.
SheKnows: It seems like everything has come together for you – although I’m a bit hesitant to say “come together” because life is full of different paths,
twists and turns and the dance you do along the way. But it feels good, like you are in a place where you really resonate and your music reflects that.
Ani DiFranco: I’m feeling that too. I’ve been through a lot on this journey and I am at a truly good place. As you say, things continue to change and I may not be
sitting this pretty all the time, but I really feel lucky these days…Like I must have done something right because here I am surrounded by a lot of amazing people – on the road, my crew, my
manager Scott – it’s taken me a long time in this Indie trajectory to get my situation going but I feel like I’m in a good place now.
SheKnows: Are you still able to have a hand in Righteous Babe and support the label as much as you would like?
Ani DiFranco: I am living in New Orleans and Righteous Babe is back in Buffalo – where I used to live – so I’m not connected on a day-to-day basis anymore, which
kind of sucks. I am pretty disconnected from the daily operation of the office, but I’m connected through the artists. I still turn up with, “there’s this new chick, Anais
Mitchell, I think she’s brilliant, let’s make a record.” Or “there’s Ed Hamell – Hamell on Trial – time to make a new record.” It’s my friends
and comrades out there that we release on Righteous Babe and I’m involved in various ways in those releases. It is artistically nutritious to take what I’ve made – in terms of the
record company and profits from my records – and dispense it to other artists who need a leg up or need a home for their music. Working with other artists changes it up for me. It means that
I get to work on art that is not just me singing about me (laughs). It is interesting and inspiring to help other people out and get away from my own work.
Some kind of girl’s girl
SheKnows: Over time you have embraced the feminine like no other. Is there any sentiment you could relay to other female writers, artists or women who are trying to make it on
Ani DiFranco: I think that the most important thing is just – be brave. Be you. Be absolutely, totally you, even if you are completely out of context at the time because
somebody somewhere – if you are fully, unapologetically and openly yourself in your art and your work – somebody will come along and say, “me too.” I feel like my life is
testament to that. Even back in the day when I was the only shaved-headed girl around and people were scared or weirded out by me…I used to show up at the recording studios with these
rock-and-roll dudes saying, “what is that?” and “what kind of way is that to play guitar?” There were a lot of environments along the way where I felt very alien, but for
some reason I just continued to do and express what I was compelled to express…Now I have incredible support for what I do. I have an incredible community around me. Over the years I have
found more and more like-minded people, more and more support and more and more people to resonate off of. I have a great home in this world now, which I don’t think I would have had if I had
just conformed a little more along the way or fit myself into the slot allotted…For me, I was amazingly unaware how society saw me, even though I’ve been called lots of names along the
way. My art is really a product of me just being me and not thinking twice before I opened my mouth – which I think is good in art. You’ve got to keep yourself fresh and uncensored.
Ani DiFranco Summer tour 2009
7/11/09 – Boarding House Park/Lowell, MA
7/12/09 – Cisco Ottawa Bluesfest/Ottawa, ON
7/13/09 – Artpark/Lewiston, NY
7/18/09 – Mile High Music Festival/Commerce City, CO
7/19/09 – The Belly Up Tavern/Aspen, CO
9/12/09 – Krannert Center Guitar Festival/Urbana, IL
9/13/09 – Paramount Theatre/Aurora, IL
9/15/09 – Mayo Civic Center/Rochester, MN
9/16/09 – DECC Auditorium/Duluth, MN
9/18/09 – Fargo Theatre/Fargo, ND
9/19/09 – Burton Cummings Theatre/Winnipeg, MB
9/20/09 – First Avenue/Minneapolis, MN
9/22/09 – Riverside Ballroom/Green Bay, WI
9/23/09 – Vic Theatre/Chicago, IL
11/15/09 – Calvin Theatre/Northampton, MA
11/20/09 – Electric Factory/Philadelphia, PA
11/21/09 – Town Hall/New York, NY
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