Ani DiFranco was born in 1970 in Buffalo, New York. Her mother Jewish American and her father is Italian-American. DiFranco became an emancipated minor when she was 15.
At the age of 18, DiFranco moved to New York City and started her own record company, Righteous Babe Records, under which she put out her debut album, Ani DiFranco. She built interest in her music through constant playing at local gigs and touring, and spent many years touring constantly on her own.
Over the course of over fifteen years, DiFranco's own career and the popularity of her label has grown exponentially. She has released 18 studio albums and 12 live albums, as well as several EPs and a couple of videos. She has also added other artists to her label, including Utah Phillips, Andrew Bird, and Toshi Reagon. She has also been heavily involved in city renewal in her home town of Buffalo, New York, including buying and renovating a church that was scheduled for demolition and giving it a new life as her record company headquarters and a 1,200 seat music venue. She also started the Righteous Babe Foundation, which backs various grassroots political organizations.
DiFranco uses her position as a musician and a celebrity (at least to her fan base) to encourage political involvement and activism. She is outspoken both in her music and in her comments about anti-racism, peace, and feminism. In 2006, she received NOW's Woman of Courage Award. She is the first musician to have received the award.
In 1998, DiFranco, who is openly bisexual, married her sound technician. The marriage lasted five years. Recently, she has announced she is expecting a baby in early 2007.