Ani DiFranco began her professional career when she was 9 years old, singing and playing Beatles songs to audiences in her hometown of Buffalo, New York. She wrote her first song at 14. Moved out on her own at 15. When she recorded her first album, at age 20, she had already composed more than 100 songs. DiFranco's blue-collar parents exposed to her to folk music. Their home was a haven for touring musicians.
By 1991 she started her own record labelRighteous Babe Records. In the past 10 years, DiFranco has been named one of VH1's "100 Greatest Women of Rock and Roll," had four Grammy nominations, produced 13 albums, created an independent gold album, and just released her new double disc Reveling/Reckoning. This groundbreaking musician sat down in Chicago this winter with Mennonite pastor Rocky Kidd to discuss God, activism, and music. The Editors
Rocky Kidd: You have been called one of the leading cultural voices for progressive politics in America today. Do you feel a sense of responsibility to help politically inform the young people who are really into your music or to help raise their social consciousness?
Ani DiFranco: Well, sure. But that's not a responsibility that I feel because I'm a performer or a songwriter or whatever it is that I am. I feel that responsibility as a human being. When I look at my job and the platforms that I stand on, and the microphone that I get to speak into, I don't see that as a responsibility so much as an opportunity to create change in an imperfect world. We all share that responsibilityI just have a good job for making some noise.
Kidd: What is your personal spirituality? Do you have any identification with an organized institutional-type church or faith?