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Nina Simone - Three Great Tracks

8 March 2012







Eunice Kathleen Waymon (February 21, 1933 – April 21, 2003), better known by her stage name Nina Simone (/ˈniːnə sɨˈmoʊn/), was an American singer, songwriter, pianist, arranger, and civil rights activist widely associated with jazz music. Simone aspired to become a classical pianist while working in a broad range of styles including classical, jazz, blues, folk, R&B, gospel, and pop. Born the sixth child of a preacher's family in North Carolina, Simone aspired to be a concert pianist as a child. 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 was later told by someone working at Curtis that she was rejected because she was black. She then began playing in a small club in Philadelphia to fund her continuing musical education to become a classical pianist and was required to sing as well. She was approached for a recording by Bethlehem Records, and her rendition of "I Loves You Porgy" became a smash 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. After the success of Little Girl Blue, Simone signed a contract with Colpix Records, and recorded a string of studio and live albums. Colpix relinquished all creative control to her, including the choice of material that would be recorded, in exchange for her signing the contract with them. At this point, Simone only performed pop music to make money to continue her classical music studies, and was indifferent about having a recording contract. She kept this attitude toward the record industry for most of her career. Simone married a New York police detective, Andrew Stroud, in 1961; Stroud later became her manager. Throughout her career, Simone assembled a collection of songs that would become standards in her repertoire. These songs were self-written tunes, tributes to works by others with a new arrangement by Simone, or songs written especially for Simone. Her first hit song in America was her rendition of George Gershwin's "I Loves You, Porgy" (1958). It peaked at number 18 in the pop singles chart and number 2 on the black singles chart. During that same period Simone recorded "My Baby Just Cares for Me", which would become her biggest success years later, in 1987, when it was featured in a Chanel No. 5 perfume commercial. A music video was created by Aardman Studios for the commercial. In 1993, Simone settled near Aix-en-Provence in Southern France. She had suffered from breast cancer for several years before she died in her sleep at her home in Carry-le-Rouet, Bouches-du-Rhône on April 21, 2003. (In addition, Simone received a diagnosis of bipolar disorder in the late 1980s). Her funeral service was attended by singers Miriam Makeba and Patti Labelle, poet Sonia Sanchez, actor Ossie Davis, and hundreds of others. Elton John sent a floral tribute with the message "You were the greatest and I love you". Simone's ashes were scattered in several African countries. She left behind a daughter, Lisa Celeste Stroud, an actress and singer, who took the stage name Simone, and has appeared on Broadway in Aida.
Nina Simone

Simone at a concert in Morlaix, France
May 1982
Background information
Birth nameEunice Kathleen Waymon
BornFebruary 21, 1933
TryonNorth CarolinaUnited States
DiedApril 21, 2003 (aged 70)
Carry-le-RouetBouches-du-RhôneFrance
GenresJazzbluesR&Bfolkgospel
OccupationsSingersongwriterpianist,arrangeractivist
Years active1954–2003
LabelsBethlehemColpixPhilipsRCA VictorCTILegacy Recordings
Websitehttp://www.ninasimone.com/

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