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Interview:
Ani DiFranco in Ann Arbor, 3 Things To Know
 

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

» See more SOUND CHECK

It’s accurate to call Ani DiFranco a musician. But she’s much more than that.

The Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter has been active since 1990, not only making music -- 21 studio albums to date, including last year’s “Binary” -- but also plowing a path for independent entrepreneurship with her Righteous Babe Records label. The Buffalo native is also a published poet and an ardent political and environmental activist, traveling the world on behalf of a variety of causes and candidates.

DiFranco clearly has a great story, and she’ll be telling it in a memoir she’s currently wrapping up. But she’s never too far from a guitar or an audience, showing the world what a righteous babe truly looks like...

• DiFranco, 47, says that having Donald Trump in office has been a boon to what she does, artistically. “As somebody who’s been political and outspoken in my work for 30 years or something, the atmosphere is much more receptive now than ever before,” she explains by phone from New Orleans, where she lives with her husband and two children. “I feel like less of a voice in the wilderness than I ever have, so that’s exciting. I feel like there’s a whole lot of people who are way more activated right now and interested in addressing things that have been there all along, but they haven’t noticed. So I feel hopeful. I’m also terrified; All the negative possibilities are there, but that’s helping more people get on board.”

• A year after “Binary’s” release, DiFranco still feels “pretty happy” about the 11-song set. “I invited a lot of delicious collaborators (Maceo Parker, Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, Gail Ann Dorsey, Ivan Neville) to make this record, so having great love for all of them allows me to love this record and so much about it. I haven’t been writing new songs, either, ‘cause I’ve been writing a damn book, so I’m just so happy to have this record.”

• DiFranco says her memoir is “just about finished, and I like the idea of letting go of these 100,000 words and saying, ‘OK, that’s fine.’” DiFranco says the book will feature “a lot of discovering, a lot of learning, a lot of phases of anger, denial, acceptance along the way. I just followed my spleen, like I usually do when making art, and told whatever stories came to my mind. I’ve tried not to overthink too much, just go on instance and hope there’s some logic there and try to keep a good balance between the pontificating and the storytelling.” DiFranco plans to publish the book during 2019, though no date has yet been determined.



If You Go:

• Ani DiFranco and Haley Heynderickx

• 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 5.

• The Power Center, 121 Fletcher St., Ann Arbor.

• Tickets are $35-$55.

• Call 734-764-2358 or visit a2sf.org.

Web Site: www.a2sf.org

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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