An inspirational songwriter, singer and campaigner, Ani DiFranco pursued a stridently independent and individual approach to music almost from day one, resisting all approaches from the mainstream music industry to set up her own label and cottage industry, Righteous Babe Records. Galvanised by the politics of Woody Guthrie and other folk and blues stars, her razor sharp lyrics, talented guitar playing and highly original arrangements made her a modern folk music heroine, although her style swiftly embraced a broad array of other musical traditions, from jazz to blues and rock. Born in Buffalo, New York to an Italian father and Canadian mother, she started playing Beatles covers in local bars and busking with her teacher Michael Meldrum. She was writing her own songs from the age of 14 and, having graduated from Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts, she set up Righteous Babe Records at the age of 18 to release her self-titled debut album. Her uncompromising lyrics and vibrant guitar arrangements instantly marked her out as someone who would make a big impact and she did that with a flood of equally powerful, inventive and charged self-made albums, like 'Not So Soft' (1991), 'Imperfectly' (1992), 'Puddle Dive' (1993), 'Out of Range' (1994) and 'Not a Pretty Girl' (1995). Continuing to release an album a year, she involved herself in numerous causes and campaigns, both in music and deed, resisting the overtures of the mainstream as she ploughed a defiantly individual furrow while consistently broadening her musical horizons to incorporate everything from hard rock to hip-hop. She still liked, however, to refer to herself as a folk singer, saying that "folk music is not an acoustic guitar". She appeared at many benefit concerts and collaborated with a varied array of performers, including folk legend Utah Phillips and Prince, who much admired the way she controlled her own career. Marriage and children barely halted her productivity or mellowed her resolve as she continued to be a major concert attraction with albums like 'Which Side Are You On?' (2012) and 'Allergic to Water' (2014). She was back again in 2017 with the funk-flavoured 'Binary', which also featured Maceo Parker and Justin Vernon of Bon Iver.