Nina Simone was an American singer, songwriter, pianist, arranger, and activist in the Civil Rights Movement. Her music spanned a broad range of musical styles including classical, jazz, blues, folk, R&B, gospel, and pop.
Though she chose to keep her personal life shrouded in secrecy, these facts grant VIP access into a life well-lived and the music that still lives on.
1.SHE HAD HUMBLE BEGINNINGS.
There’s a reason that much of the singer’s music had gospel-like sounds. Simone—the daughter of a Methodist minister and a handyman—was raised in the church and started playing the piano by ear at age 3. She got her start in her hometown of Tryon, North Carolina, where she played gospel hymns and classical music at Old St. Luke’s CME, the church where her mother ministered. After Simone died on April 21, 2003, she was memorialized at the same sanctuary.
2.HER CAREER WAS ROOTED IN ACTIVISM.
At the age of 12, Simone refused to play at a church revival because her parents had to sit at the back of the hall. From then on, Simone used her art to take a stand. Many of her songs in the ’60s, including “Mississippi Goddamn,” “Why (The King of Love Is Dead),” and “Young, Gifted and Black,” addressed the rampant racial injustices of that era.
Unfortunately, her activism wasn’t always welcome. Her popularity diminished; venues didn’t invite her to perform, and radio stations didn’t play her songs. But she pressed on—even after the Civil Rights Movement. In 1997, Simone told Interview Magazinethat she addressed her songs to the third world. In her own words: “I’m a real rebel with a cause.”
3.SHE NEVER HAD A NUMBER ONE HIT.
Nina Simone released over 40 albums during her decades-spanning career including studio albums, live versions, and compilations, and scored 15 Grammy nominations. But her highest-charting (and her first) hit, “I Loves You, Porgy,” peaked at #2 on the U.S. R&B charts in 1959. Still, her music would go on to influence legendary singers like Roberta Flack and Aretha Franklin.
4.NINA SIMONE WAS HER STAGE NAME.
The singer was born as Eunice Waymon on February 21, 1933. But by age 21, the North Carolina native was going by a different name at her nightly Atlantic City gig: Nina Simone. She hoped that adopting a different name would keep her mother from finding out about her performances. “Nina” was her boyfriend’s nickname for her at the time. “Simone” was inspired by Simone Signoret, an actress that the singer admired.
5.SHE HAD MANY HOMES.
New York City, Liberia, Barbados, England, Belgium, France, Switzerland, and the Netherlands were all places that Simone called home. She died at her home in Southern France, and her ashes were scattered in several African countries.
7.Nina Simone’s childhood home is a national treasure
The childhood home of Nina Simone is a National Treasure after been designated by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Source : http://www.ninasimone.com