Brown - Dark
Tryon, North Carolina, USA
Place of Death
Carry-le-Rouet, Bouches-du-Rhone, France
Cause of Death
Claim to Fame
Grammy Award-nominated American singer, songwriter, pianist, arranger and civil rights activist
Jazz, Standards, Vocal Jazz, Torch Songs
Passionate, Fiery, Dramatic, Uncompromising, Earthy, Confident, Poignant, Bittersweet, Gritty, Austere, Volatile, Brooding, Melancholy, Intimate, Theatrical, Aggressive, Organic, Autumnal, Provocative, Sad, Freewheeling
Nina Simone (born Eunice Kathleen Waymon; February 21, 1933 – April 21, 2003) was an American singer, songwriter, pianist, arranger, and civil rights activist who worked in a broad range of musical styles including classical, jazz, blues, folk, R&B, gospel, and pop.
Soundtrack, Composer, Actor/Actress
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Profile Bio Text
Eunice Kathleen Waymon, better known by her stage name Nina Simone (IPA: ninɐ sʌmɞnɑ) (February 21, 1933 – April 21, 2003), was a fifteen-time Grammy Award-nominated American singer, songwriter, pianist, arranger and civil rights activist.
Although she disliked being categorized, Simone is generally classified as a jazz musician. Simone originally aspired to become a classical pianist, but her work covers an eclectic variety of musical styles besides her classical basis, such as jazz, soul, folk, R&B, gospel, and pop music. Her vocal style is characterized by intense passion, a loose vibrato, and a slightly androgynous timbre, in part due to her unusually low vocal range which veered between the alto and tenor ranges (occasionally even reaching baritone lows). Sometimes known as the High Priestess of Soul, she paid great attention to the musical expression of emotions. Within one album or concert she could fluctuate between exuberant happiness or tragic melancholy. These fluctuations also characterized her own personality and personal life, worsened by a bipolar disorder with which she was diagnosed in the mid-1960s, but was kept secret until 2004.
Simone recorded over 40 live and studio albums, the biggest body of her work being released between 1958 (when she made her debut with Little Girl Blue) and 1974. Songs she is best known for include "My Baby Just Cares for Me", "I Put a Spell on You", "I Loves You Porgy", "Feeling Good", "Sinner Man", "To Be Young, Gifted and Black", "Strange Fruit", "Ain`t Got No/I Got Life" and "I Want a Little Sugar in My Bowl". Her music and message made a strong and lasting impact on African-American culture, illustrated by the numerous contemporary artists who cite her as an important influence (among them Mary J. Blige, Alicia Keys, Jeff Buckley, and Lauryn Hill), as well as the extensive use of her music on soundtracks and in remixes.
Simone was born Eunice Kathleen Waymon in Tryon, North Carolina, one of eight children. She began playing piano at her local church and showed prodigious talent on this instrument. Her concert debut, a classical piano recital, was made at the age of ten. During her performance, her parents, who had taken seats in the front row, were forced to move to the back of the hall to make way for white people. Simone refused to play until her parents were moved back. This incident contributed to her later involvement in the civil rights movement.
Cover of Simone`s debut album Little Girl Blue (1958), also known as Jazz as Played in an Exclusive Side Street ClubSimone`s mother, Mary Kate Waymon (who lived into her late 90s) was a strict Methodist minister; her father, John Divine Waymon, was a handyman and sometime barber who suffered bouts of ill-health. Mrs. Waymon worked as a maid and her employer, hearing of Nina`s talent, provided funds for piano lessons. Subsequently, a local fund was set up to assist in Eunice`s continued education. At 17, Simone moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she taught piano and accompanied singers to fund her own studying as a classical music pianist at New York City`s Juilliard School of Music. With the help of a private tutor she studied for an interview to further study piano at the Curtis Institute, but she was rejected. Simone believed that this rejection was directly related to her being black, as well as being a woman. It further fueled her hatred of the widespread and institutionalized racism present in the U.S. during the period.
 Early success (1954–1959)
Simone played at the Midtown Bar & Grill on Pacific Avenue in Atlantic City to fund her study. The owner said that she would have to sing as well as play the piano in order to get the job. She took on the stage name "Nina Simone" in 1954 because she did not want her mother to know that she was playing "the devil`s music". "Nina" (from "niña", meaning "little girl" in Spanish) was a nickname a boyfriend had given to her and "Simone" was after the French actress Simone Signoret, whom she had seen in the movie Casque d`or. Simone played and sang a mixture of jazz, blues and classical music at the bar, and by doing so she created a small but loyal fan base.
After playing in small clubs she recorded a rendition of George Gershwin`s "I Loves You Porgy" (from Porgy and Bess) in 1958, which was learned from a Billie Holiday album and performed as a favor to a friend. It became her only Billboard top 40 hit in the United States, and her debut album Little Girl Blue soon followed on Bethlehem Records. Simone would never benefit financially from the album; she sold the rights for $3000, missing out on more than $1 million of royalties (mainly because of the successful re-release of "My Baby Just Cares for Me&
Couple Profile Source
Juilliard School of Music, NY
Full Name at Birth
Eunice Kathleen Waymon
Has Detailed Data (Music)
Lisa Stroud (Daughter)
Has Detailed Data (105)
Has Detailed Data (76)
Music Profile Complete
Music Genre (Text)
Jazz, Blues, R&b, Folk, Gospel
Bethlehem, Colpix, Philips, RCA Victor, Cti, Legacy Recordings
Music Genre (Text)
R&B, jazz, blues, folk, soul, classical, gospel
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