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Madisyn Gifford Covers Ani DiFranco's “32 Flavors”

Stripping back the original, the indie songwriter offers her own refreshing take on the feminist folk serenade.

by Ben Boddez

Still on the road supporting her latest album, Sleeping on the Ceiling, 22-year-old Vancouver-based indie-folk singer Madisyn Gifford has officially released a cover of a song that’s always provided meaning to her – Ani DiFranco’s “32 Flavors,” which she originally premiered as part of RANGE Magazine’s tribute to the Women & Songs compilation series on International Women’s Day.

Slowing things down in comparison to the original version but maintaining the classic chord progression, Gifford’s tender and airy vocals pay tribute to the lyrics of the feminist anthem that shaped her while growing up. Adding some ghostly harmonies in between tackling the verses, Gifford’s stripped-back take allows both her and her listeners to zero in on DiFranco’s original musings about unapologetic embrace of all forms of self, regardless of what jealous onlookers might have to say.

We caught up with Gifford below to talk about her love for all things 90s music, the ideal fall aesthetic, and ice cream.

What made you want to give this one an official release?
The opportunity you guys gave me to cover this song was such a fun and special one for me, and I ended up loving the way it turned out, so it felt appropriate to give the cover its own little moment! 

What’s special to you about this song or Ani DiFranco?
Both this song and Ani DiFranco as an artist are so special and influential for me. I learned so much of what I know about songwriting from listening to her discography on loop all throughout growing up, and she has influenced and inspired me so much as an artist. 

What’s your approach to taking on a classic cover? Do you try to stay true to the original or inject some of your own style into it?
I changed a couple little things when I covered this song: we slowed down the tempo and took out a couple of the instrumental parts, but other than that, I wanted to pretty much just keep it as an acoustic take on the original song because it is such a special song as is!

How do you hope your more modern audience will respond to bringing back a song like this?
I hope they fall back in love with 90s melodies and chord progressions, the way I have been in love with them my whole life. The female 90s singer-songwriter genre will always be #1 in my heart!

Do you think this song fits in with the sound or themes on your latest album, Sleeping on the Ceiling?
I definitely do, because I took a lot of inspiration from 90s music specifically while making that record. I also really tried to lean into acoustic guitar on a lot of the tracks because it’s always been my favourite!

What have you been listening to or watching lately? Any recommendations?
I’ve been listening to a lot of Josiah and the Bonnevilles, Gregory Alan Isakov, and Taylor Armstrong! Anything folky in the fall is my favourite! As for show recommendations, you will forever catch me rewatching Buffy the Vampire Slayer (favourite show of all time!!). 

In the spirit of the song, what’s your go-to ice cream flavour?
Peanut butter chocolate, no contest!

What’s next for Madisyn Gifford? Anything else you’d like us to know?
We are in the beginning stages right now of making some new music that I am very excited about! As for right now though, we’re still focusing on putting all of the love we can into my most recent album, Sleeping on the Ceiling! It’s a project I am still so so proud of!