September 23: Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Ani DiFranco is 41-years-old today.

Born Angela Maria DiFranco in Buffalo, New York, Ani has released over twenty albums. She started her musical career by playing Beatles covers at local bars when she was nine years-old. In 1989, DiFranco started her own record company, Righteous Records which she renamed Righteous Babe Records in 1994.

DiFranco's rapid rise in popularity in the mid-1990s was fueled mostly by personal contact and word of mouth rather than mainstream media.

While  most of DiFranco's songs are autobiographical, they are also often  political. Many of her songs are concerned with contemporary social issues such as racism, sexism, sexual abuse, homophobia, reproductive rights, poverty, and war. The combination of personal and political is partially responsible for DiFranco's early popularity among politically active college students.

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Since 2003, DiFranco has been nominated four consecutive times for Best Recording Package at the Grammy Awards. In 2004 she won for Evolve.