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The original Righteous Babe talks politics, Prince, and her new album.


When Ani DiFranco arrived on the music scene in 1990—an openly bisexual woman who used a traditional genre (folk music) to explore risky subject matter— she made an immediate impression. But it took the music industry suits a good half-dozen years to catch on. It was only after she’d released extremely popular albums like Not a Pretty Girl, Dilate, and Little Plastic Castle (all issued between 1995 and 1998) that the majors came calling. The first time we met, in December 2007, DiFranco told me exactly what she thought about signing with a major label: “I determined early on that, for me, being independent was not a means to an end…I looked at the five-year contracts, and whatever tiny percentage of my record sales I would actually see, and I just thought, ‘Fuck that.’ “ So, to her credit, Di- Franco has stayed on her own label, Righteous Babe Records, to this day, and she has continued to release CDs (by herself and other artists) prolifically.

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