DiFranco, a mother of two who entered her second marriage well over a decade ago, explains that the idea of revolutionary love applies equally to clashes of ideology in the world at large and to struggles under one’s own roof—especially where marriage is concerned. She admits, however, that her own actions sometimes fall a wee bit afield of immaculate compassion and forgiveness. “I’m hoping if I sing about being smart, someday I will be,” she jokes.
Well, maybe she’s only half-joking. Over the years, DiFranco has indeed seen some of her lyrics come true after the fact. From her perspective, this is partly an act of manifestation through singing and partly a byproduct of the trancelike state that she enters while writing songs.
“I feel that hanging out with my guitar and letting things come through, putting out the antenna and receiving things, is my form of meditation,” she says. “I’m somewhere in a realm beyond my own limited consciousness. I feel somewhat liberated from that linear-time, knowing-only- what-you-know state, and things come through that I don’t understand: ‘What does that mean that I just wrote?’ And then as time goes on, you learn what it means.”
Intuition seems to have guided DiFranco in creating the title cut from her 2017 release Binary, which unintentionally touched on the timely topic of gender fluidity. The songwriter claims she wasn’t conscious of stepping into the gender debate when she wrote the title song; rather, she had been contemplating the idea that life and consciousness itself are binary in nature. This includes the masculine and feminine polarities. DiFranco, who came out as bisexual in her early 20s, rejects the notion that there’s no such thing as gender. However, she sees the male and female principles not as mutually exclusive, but as “a swirl, where black becomes white through grey, and it’s mixing, changing, and fluid.”
As an LGBTQ icon, DiFranco has found something better than superstardom: She’s a hero to millions who will never walk the red carpet or pass beyond the velvet rope.
“People, entities, writers, artists, activists, women, men, and all kinds of different makes and models of people have told me, ‘I know I exist because of your songs,’” she says. “And it’s like, ‘Oh! Yes! Yes! I’ve done my job today.’”