On this episode of Songcraft, hosts Scott B. Bomar and Paul Duncan chat with nine-time Grammy nominee Ani DiFranco to talk about her social activism efforts, her diverse discography and her newest unreleased album, Revolutionary Love.
DiFranco, who has been honing her craft for decades, speaks on the fact that her songwriting naturally weaves with her advocacy-driven mind.
“Activism and art for me come from the same place: the need to be whole. And as far as I know, one cannot be whole when you’re surrounded by broken people. You cannot save yourself alone. So, everything that makes me march in the streets, or write a political song, or write a letter to some authoritative entity or whatever I’m doing, it’s the same thing that makes me sing.”
DiFranco doesn’t shy away from telling it like it is, and her raw and wholehearted passion for doing her own thing musically has kept her from remaining stagnant. Throughout the interview, Bomar and Duncan highlight songs from across her entire career, reminding fans just how relevant she’s remained despite being in the industry for so long. She even teases that she’s been thinking about releasing a fully instrumental album at some point “just to really fuck with their heads.”
In this way, the gift of music and songwriting courses through DiFranco’s veins. She cannot untether herself from its pull, even in the middle of a pandemic when the making of an album seemed ludicrous, she made it happen. She tells the story of meeting up with friend Brad Cook and a group of strangers in Durham, North Carolina to bring her politically-charged, evocative work to life.
“I guess every one of my records is like a landscape painting of the terrain I’ve been moving through in my life. So, I guess for me lately, the last few years I’ve been, and maybe my whole life up till then as well, just struggling for connection. Pining, aching for connection and understanding,” she explains.
“I’m always so intrigued when the most personal heartfelt heartache that I can express is also the most macro political statement. When they’re one and the same I get very creatively turned on and intrigued by that. And so, I think a lot of these songs, I may be obviously talking about my society and my relationship to it, or I may be obviously talking about my personal relationship or I might not even be sure myself, so that’s where I think just all these songs live.”
DiFranco goes on to share her musical influences, advice she has for musicians just starting out, the story of when she collaborated with Prince and much more.
Check out the rest of the conversation and DiFranco’s newest album Revolutionary Love upon release January 29.