ani difranco is one of those people that sort of stands out for just being human. i think the reason for that is that it’s really hard work to just be human, and when people manage it they deserve a lot of respect. most of us lose touch of our basic nature because we have our lives to live, mouthes to feed, and bills to pay. we take the easy route. cuz it’s easier.
but for fifteen years ani has bulit her own label, pioneered political and public causes, and toured the world tirelessly. she’s the bob marley of feminism, her brand really a movement for balance. on this topic i think she’s maybe three hundred years ahead of her time.
obviously as a musician you have to write catchy and inspiring music to gather a following. the talent is important, but as record executives figured out decades ago, it can’t be manufactured. if it could, the big wigs in the music industry would have manfactured themselves a few more beatles or rolling stones to keep their coffers full and their bentleys polished. instead, they found they had to manufacture other things to keep business predictable, which resulted in huge publicity budgets, reunion tours, awards shows, and things of that nature. it also resulted in a musical landscape awash in no-talent assholes (to borrow a term).
i guess my point is that all that corporate backing has turned the music industry into a deep pool for those that want to swim without a life jacket. ani’s done that, and while her success owes some to her talent, it owes more to her drive, business sense, dedication, and this human quality she brings to her engagements. those engagements include shows, live recordings, public movements, political actions, and charitable projects. her writings and her actions are one in the same…something very rare in musician’s these days…and for that i think she is rewarded with incredibly devoted fans.
since i first became her fan i have bought every album she’s released at full price. she’s one of the only artists i can claim that for, and in the midst of the napster days it was a conscious decision. how often have you really bought music to support the artist? it almost feels like a good deed.
i’ve been using jambase for years now, and as it’s grown and become central to the growing festival and grass roots music movement, it has in my opinion only gotten better. this article on ani, written by longtime fan and journalist monica way, is a welcome surprise to their front page.