– 8: Connection, Community, and the Feminine Voice with Ani DiFranco

This episode’s guest is the soulful and wonderful Ani DiFranco. With 20 years in the music biz, self-described “Little Folksinger” Ani DiFranco’s influence on fellow musicians, activists, and indie-minded people the world over has been huge.

Blending folk music with soul, funk, jazz, electronic music and spoken word, Ani DiFranco has released more than 20 albums, including her latest, ¿Which Side are You On? (2012). From the earliest days of her career, Ani DiFranco has lent her voice and her name to a broad range of social movements, performing benefit concerts, appearing on benefit albums, and speaking at rallies.  She’s a pioneer, a rock star, and a soul sister.  Ani was a featured performer at the 2013 Emerging Women Live Conference in Boulder, CO.

In this episode, Ani DiFranco and I speak about:

How having kids has grounded her life and effected her music in a positive way
Her support of community and connection and the importance of the feminine point of view
Her focus on the present moment and relationships in her life
The trajectory of feminism throughout the years and the current state of feminism today
The hope that we both feel in seeing the wave of Feminine Courage currently emerging in the world
And finally, the importance of trusting yourself


Tune in to listen to my conversation “Connection, Community, and the Feminine Voice” with Ani DiFranco.
Subscribe to the Emerging Women podcast on iTunes.

Chantal Pierrat: Welcome, Ani! It’s a real pleasure to have you here today.

Ani DiFranco: Hi! Thanks for having me!

CP: I was mentioning to you as we were chatting [that] this is such an honor. I feel kind of exposed by saying this, but I definitely had a very big girl crush on you in college.

AD: [Laughs] All right! I’m giving myself a high-five.

CP: [Laughs] Well, I’m not entirely sure that it’s gone away. I was preparing for the conference, for Emerging Women Live, and also our interview here, [and] I was just going, for the last week, back through all the old records. Oh my gosh.

AD: Oh, wow. Craziness. That’s something you’ll never find me doing. [Laughs]

CP: Oh, really? Interesting.

AD: It’s always a bit dicey when I want to learn a new old song, like, “I should play that song, blah-de-blah,” and then I have to pull out the record and tiptoe very delicately through it to try to listen to what I need to listen to. Anything could throw me for a week-long loop, delving back into my own catalog.

CP: Well, luckily it’s all there and we can dip into it anytime. What surprised me, though, was your recent record. It was amazing—this morning, when we had to reschedule, I was like, “I really have not spent time,” because I was getting so caught up in the old stuff. And there’s a song on there called “Life Boat,” and I do want to talk about the new record. I know it was last year, but I could not believe how deep and how touched I was by that song.

AD: Wow, cool.

CP: You know, you mention your child. I guess my lead-in question with that is—in fact, I was actually weeping as I was listening to the song, truth be told. It touched me that deeply. I’m curious to see how—you’re a rocker, sister, you’re a freaking cool rocker, and then you’ve had kids. Not that your music has changed tremendously. It’s still very moving. But I’m curious to see internally if there’s been a shift inside of you and the music to create since you’ve had kids.

AD: Yes, I’m sure, there’s been so many shifts. Life keeps knocking you one direction or another, and then you have a slightly new direction with every knock. Kids are a big one, I imagine. I think in a big sense, I have a kind of balance in my life how that I didn’t before my family. I used to just be all about my work. And bringing people joy through music is very rewarding.

I noticed that, especially now that I have kids and I get deep into mom mode, you know, when I’m home and I can’t even remember what it i…