Nina Simone

~ Person

Legal name: Eunice Kathleen Waymon


Nina Simone (/ˈnnə sɨˈmn/; born Eunice Kathleen Waymon; February 21, 1933 – April 21, 2003) was an American singer, songwriter, pianist, arranger, and civil rights activist. She worked in a broad range of musical styles including classical, jazz, blues, folk, R&B, gospel, and pop.

The sixth child of a preacher's family in North Carolina, Simone aspired to be a concert pianist. Her musical path changed direction after she was denied a scholarship to the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, despite a well-received audition. "Simone said she later found out from an insider at Curtis that she was denied entry because she was black." To fund her continuing musical education and become a classical pianist, she began playing in a small club in Atlantic City where she was also required to sing. She was approached by Bethlehem Records, and her rendition of "I Loves You, Porgy" was a hit in the United States in 1958. Over the length of her career Simone recorded more than 40 albums, mostly between 1958, when she made her debut with Little Girl Blue, and 1974.

Her musical style arose from a fusion of gospel and pop songs with classical music, in particular with influences from her first inspiration, Johann Sebastian Bach, and accompanied with her expressive jazz-like singing in her characteristic contralto voice. She injected her classical background into her music as much as possible to give it more depth and quality, as she felt that pop music was inferior to classical. Her intuitive grasp on the audience–performer relationship was gained from a unique background of playing piano accompaniment for church revivals and sermons regularly from the early age of six years old.

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Year Title RatingReleases
1958 Little Girl Blue 8
1959 The Amazing Nina Simone 4
1961 Forbidden Fruit 3
1962 Nina Simone Sings Ellington 2
1964 Broadway Blues Ballads 7
1964 Folksy Nina 1
1965 I Put a Spell on You 5 5
1965 Pastel Blues 5
1966 Let It All Out 2
1966 Nina Simone With Strings 1
1966 Wild Is the Wind 4
1967 High Priestess of Soul 4
1967 Nina Simone Sings the Blues 5
1967 Silk & Soul 3
1969 Nina Simone and Piano! 3
1969 To Love Somebody 4
1971 Here Comes the Sun 1
1972 Nina Simone Sings Billie Holiday 1
1972 Right On! 1
1973 Gospel According to Nina Simone 1
1978 Baltimore 2
1979 A Very Rare Evening 1
1982 Fodder on My Wings 3
1982 My Baby Just Cares for Me (essentially her debut album Little Girl Blue with a new track order) 4
1988 Nina's Back 5
1990 In Concert / I Put a Spell on You 1
1990 Pastel Blues / Let It All Out 1
1990 Wild Is the Wind / High Priestess of Soul 1
1993 A Single Woman 2
1993 My Baby Cat 1
1997 Saga of the Good Life and Hard Times 1
1998 Forbidden Fruit / Nina Simone at Newport 1
1998 Folksy Nina / Nina With Strings 1
1998 The Amazing Nina Simone / Nina Simone at Town Hall 1
1998 To Love Somebody / Here Comes the Sun 1
1999 Gin House Blues 1
1999 Let It Be Me 1
1999 Nina Simone & Piano! / Silk & Soul 1
2000 Sings Duke Ellington / At Carnegie Hall 1
2003 Sings the Standards 1
2004 Sings the Blues / 'Nuff Said 1
2004 The Jazz Biography 1
2005 Nina Simone for Lovers 1
2010 Trilogy (Little Girl Blue / The Amazing Nina Simone / At Town Hall) 1
2010 3 Originals (Little Girl Blue / The Amazing Nina Simone / Nina Simone at Town Hall) 1
2013 Love Me or Leave Me 1
My Baby Just Cares for Me (2-in-1 reissue of Little Girl Blue / The Amazing Nina Simone) 1

Album + Compilation

Year Title RatingReleases
1967 Ne me quitte pas 4
1970 The Best of Nina Simone 1
1970 The Best of Nina Simone (black cover) 2

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