Ani DiFranco ( Angela Maria DiFranco on September 23, 1970) is an American Grammy Award-winning singer, guitarist, poet, and songwriter. She has released more than 20 albums, and is a feminist icon.
Although DiFranco's music has been classified as both folk rock and alternative rock, she has reached across genres since her earliest albums. DiFranco has collaborated with a wide range of artists including musician Prince, who recorded two songs with DiFranco in 1999 ("Providence" on her To the Teeth album, and "I Love U, but I Don't Trust U Anymore" on Prince's Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic album); folk musician and social activist Utah Phillips (on The Past Didn't Go Anywhere in 1996 and Fellow Workers in 1999); funk and soul jazz musician Maceo Parker; and rapper Corey Parker. She has used a variety of instruments and styles: brass instrumentation was prevalent in 1998's Little Plastic Castle; a simple walking bass in her 1997 cover of Hal David and Burt Bacharach's "Wishin' and Hopin'"; strings on the 1997 live album Living in Clip and 2004's Knuckle Down; and electronics and synthesisers in 1999's To the Teeth and 2006's Reprieve. Samples from the track "Coming Up" were used by DJ Spooky in his album Live Without Dead Time, produced for AdBusters Magazine in 2003.
Although much of DiFranco's material is autobiographical, it is often also strongly political. Many of her songs are concerned with contemporary social issues such as racism, sexism, sexual abuse, homophobia, reproductive rights, poverty, and war. The combination of personal and political is partially responsible for DiFranco's early popularity among politically active college students, particularly those of the left wing, some of whom set up fan pages on the web to document DiFranco's career as early as 1994. DiFranco's rapid rise in popularity in the mid-1990s was fueled mostly by personal contact and word of mouth rather than mainstream media.