Admiration List: Ani DiFranco

I have been a fan of Ani DiFranco‘s life story since 1992. I was working in radio as a copy writer and part-time (weekend) DJ when I stumbled across a magazine/catalog of up-and-coming artists. It consisted of artist photographs, a brief categorical description of music style (e.g.: folk, R&B, rock, etc.) and a short biography. The magazine targeted station employees in charge of selecting music, with the objective of enticing the decision maker to listen to a sample and consider adding the featured musicians to the playlist. It probably came with a CD or cassette tape (cassettes were still regularly used back then), but I only saw the magazine.

The magazine is important because the biography is what attracted me to this artist. She not only writes and performs her own music, she also runs her own recording studio and is known for refusing to take potentially lucrative contracts that go against her political/ethical beliefs. In short, she defied the music industry’s standard operating procedures – and won!

I did not get the opportunity to hear her music until about 8 years later. 

Frankly, while I admire her skills as a lyricist and include a few of her songs in my private list of top-50-favorites, it was never the music that earned my admiration – it’s her actions as a small business owner, an activist and a person.

I would welcome the opportunity to hear her play live in concert but I would LOVE to hear her talk about her journey as a small business owner and an activist.

Ani DiFranco’s music on Amazon.com

Distance Provides Perspective

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Amazon.com

Out of Range

“I was locked
Into being my mother’s daughter
I was just eating bread and water
Thinking nothing ever changes
And I was shocked
To see the mistakes of each generation
Will just fade like a radio station
If you drive out of range”

Out of Range by Ani DiFranco

Everything Is Relative

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Amazon.com

Virtue

“Virtue is relative at best
There’s nothing worse than a sunset
When you’re driving due west”

“And I know that sometimes
All I can see is how I feel
Like the whole world is on
The other side of
A dirty windshield”

Up Up Up Up Up UP by Ani DiFranco

 

Not Pretty, Not Angry, Just Honest

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Amazon.com

Not A Pretty Girl

“I am not a pretty girl
That is not what I do
I ain’t no damsel in distress
And I don’t need to be rescued”

“I am not an angry girl
But it seems like I’ve got everyone fooled
Every time I say something
They find hard to hear
They chalk it up to my anger
And never to their own fear
And imagine you’re a girl
Just trying to finally come clean
Knowing full well they’d prefer
You were dirty and smiling”

Not A Pretty Girl by Ani DiFranco

Trafficking Victims Are Your Equals

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January is Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.

Amazon.com

Letter To A John

“I want you to pay me for my beauty
I think it’s only right
‘Cause I have been paying for it
All of my life”

“We barely have time to react in this world
Let alone rehearse
And I don’t think I’m better than you
But I don’t think that I’m worse
Women learn to be women
And men learn to be men
And I don’t blame it all on you
But I don’t want to be your friend”

Out of Range by Ani DiFranco

Additional resources for Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month:

 

Selective Application of Laws

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Amazon.com

 

Every State Line

“And every state line
There’s a new set of laws
And every police man
Comes equipped with extended claws
There’s a thousand shades of white
And a thousand shades of black
But the same rule always applies
Smile pretty, and watch your back”

Imperfectly by Ani DiFranco

Fitting In

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Amazon.com

In Or Out

“Guess there’s something wrong with me
Guess I don’t fit in
No one wants to touch it
No one knows where to begin
I’ve got more than one membership
To more than one club
And I owe my life
To the people that I love”

Imperfectly by Ani DiFranco

Someone You Don’t Know

Quote

Amazon.com

Anticipate

“We don’t say everything that we could
So that we can say later
Oh, you misunderstood
I hold my cards up
Close to my chest
I say what I have to
And I hold back the rest

’cause someone you don’t know
Is someone you don’t know
Get a firm grip, girl
Before you let go
For every hand extended
Another lies in wait
Keep your eye on that one
Anticipate”

Not So Soft by Ani DiFranco