Many of today’s recognized artists, such as Aretha Franklin, Joni Mitchell, and Lauryn Hill, have cited Nina Simone as an inspiration for their work, thereby furthering their reputation as one of the most influential record artists of the 20th century.
century. The talented singer and pianist, whose musical style spanned various genres as she masterfully fused gospel music with the sound of classical and jazz, was unfortunately never honored with a noteworthy award in her lifetime. She received a total of four Grammy Award nominations, two in her lifetime and two posthumously, but was eventually inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2018.
Nina Simone Early Life and Education
Nina Simone was born the sixth of eight children of Mary Kate Waymon (née Irvin) and Rev. John Devan Waymon on February 21, 1933, in Tyron, North Carolina, as Eunice Kathleen Waymon. Her family was poor because her mother worked as a maid while her father was a craftsman, although both parents eventually became ministers.
Simone began playing the piano at the age of about 3 and honed her skills by playing the instrument in the local church before making her concert debut at a classical recital at the age of 12. Because her family is from a low-income background, Simone was able to attend the Allen High School for Girls in Asheville, North Carolina, only thanks to funds provided by her community. After graduating high school, she had hoped to attend the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, but her application was rejected.
After this disappointment, Nina Simone took a job as a photographer and accompanist while teaching piano from home. In 1954, she began performing in Atlantic City under the pseudonym Nina Simone, so that her mother would not find out that she was making secular music, which her mother called “devil music”.
Nina Simone’s Family – Daughter, Husband
Nina Simone was married twice; first to beatnik/fairground barker Donald Ross from 1958 to 1960, then to New York City Police Detective Andrew Stroud from 1961 to 1971.
Details about their first marriage are quite sketchy, as Mrs. Simone is said to have regretted the union. The couple is said to have been friends at first before deciding to take their relationship to the next level. They married in 1958 but ended the marriage only one year later. The singer, who at that time became increasingly popular because of her work, decided to form a union with Andy Stroud, who had been divorced three times.
After an exchange of vows, Stroud, a former Marine who had earned a fearsome reputation on the streets as a policeman, decided to become her manager and abused her both physically and mentally during her marriage, although Simone revealed that one of the things that attracted her to him was his macho, aggressive style. From her biography, it is clear that her husband beat her once from outside a club to her car and then to the elevator in her apartment and then in her house before tying her up and raping her for putting a note in her pocket that a fan had given her.
Despite all the trauma, she went through, Nina Simone and her husband together welcomed a baby, a daughter named Lisa Simone Waymon Stroud, born September 12, 1962. Lisa Simone served as a technical assistant in the United States Air Force before following in her mother’s footsteps to pursue a career in the entertainment industry and become a singer and actress. Lisa Simone has released four solo albums to date and has appeared in a number of theater productions, most notably the title role in the Disney musical Aida.
Death Of The Singer
At the end of the 1980s, Nina Simone was diagnosed with a mental illness, more precisely a bipolar disorder. She was living in the South of France at the time and was able to control the disease while reviving her almost dead career. Later, in the late 1990s, Simone was diagnosed with breast cancer. The “Young, Gifted and Black” singer struggled with the disease for several years before she died in her sleep on April 21, 2003, at her home in Carry-le-Rouet, Bouches-du-Rhône.
Hundreds of people attended Nina Simone’s funeral, including singers Patti LaBelle and Miriam Makeba, and her ashes were subsequently scattered in several African countries.