Not So Soft: An Interview With Ani DiFranco

A few years ago I had a total fangirl moment when I had the chance to do a phone interview with Ani DiFranco for Bitch Magazine. As a teen coming into her own, Ani’s music helped me vocalize the many thoughts and feelings I had running through my head. Her poem, IQ, spoke volumes as did her plethora of songs that inspired, energized and just got me.

A couple weeks ago, I had the immense pleasure of interviewing Ani in person when she was in town for a show. Our conversation spanned the spectrum, hitting on topics from motherhood to abortion to the hubristic ramblings of an 18-year-old. It was pretty damn amazing.

Photo courtesy of Alexa Beach Photography

Photo courtesy of Alexa Beach Photography

What I found was that Ani hasn’t lost that passion or energy or drive. It’s changed since she’s “settled down” and had two kids, but it hasn’t gotten any less intense. I saw that clearly when she went on a long vent about the current state of maternal care in this country. It felt good to once again have somebody get it, and not make me feel alone in getting fired up about certain things that feel so large and important.

You can read the edited interview over at  The Frisky. But I wanted to post a couple quotes that got cut for length…

Me: Have you ever felt trapped or pressured by the “Good Mother” myth?(I know! But I had to ask!)

Ani: I don’t think I feel pressure, expect that I put on myself. You always beat yourself up for this mistakes you perceive along the way.

How do you isolate yourself from that outside pressure?

Maybe because I’ve had this job for a long time. I don’t know if I’ve developed thicker skin, but I’ve developed ways of ignoring or tuning out of the opinionated din, because it’s been around me for decades and decades. I guess maybe I have a few chops of not letting that in too much. I’ve heard from a lot of women that even when you’re pregnant everybody’s so opinionated and they tell you all this stuff, and it women’s hackles up. But for me, I didn’t even care at all. It’s like everybody told me something and I was fascinated by all that stuff. Some of it I learned from and some of it was silly, but it didn’t really bug me.

The situation of birth and birth culture in this county is pretty dire and should be addressed. But don’t judge the mom – look at the system.  

In our interview, Ani went into depth about the process of writing one of her newer songs, “Amendment.” Check the song out here:

4 thoughts on “Not So Soft: An Interview With Ani DiFranco

  1. Great interview. I am a self proclaimed Ani junkie and so very proud to be. Her music has been a soundtrack to my life for more than a decade now. The opportunity to sit down with her and talk about the issues you chose to focus on must have been epic. I really enjoyed reading this …and it even sparked a few ideas for future posts. Thanks for that. ~Dawn

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