Many accomplished artists today, such as Aretha Franklin, Joni Mitchell and Lauryn Hill have cited Nina Simone as the inspiration for their work, furthering her reputation as one of the most influential recording artists of the 20th century.
The talented singer and pianist, whose musical style varied across genres, as it was renowned for masterfully fusing gospel with classical and jazz sounds. Unfortunately, she never received a notable award during her lifetime. She has received four Grammy nominations. two living and two posthumously, but was eventually inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2018.
Youth and education
Nina Simone was born Eunice Kathleen Waymon, Mary Kate Waymon (née Irvin) and Reverend John Devan Waymon, the sixth of eight children, on February 21, 1933 in Tyron, North Carolina. His family was poor as his mother was a housekeeper while his father was a handyman, although both parents became ministers.
Simone started playing the piano around the age of She later honed her skills playing the instrument in the local church before she was able to make her concert debut at a classical recital when she was 12 . Simone was unable to attend Allen High School for Girls in Asheville, North Carolina, thanks to funding provided by her local community. After graduating from high school, she hoped to attend the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, but her request was denied.
Following this disappointment, Nina Simone made a decision to become a photographer and accompanist, while teaching piano at home. In 1954, she began performing in Atlantic City under the pseudonym Nina Simone so her mother wouldn’t find out she was making secular music, which her mother called “devil’s music.”
Nina Simone’s Family – Daughter, Husband
Nina Simone has been married twice; first to Donald Ross, Beatnik/showman lawyer from 1958 to 1960, then to Andrew Stroud, New York City Police Inspector, from 1961 to 1971.
The details of her first marriage are quite sketchy as it is reported that Ms Simone regretted the union. The pair were reportedly friends at first before deciding to take it to the next level. They married in 1958 but called it quits a year later. The singer, then gaining popularity for her work, decided to bond with three-time divorcee Andy Stroud.
After exchanging vows, Stroud, a former Navy soldier who gained a creepy reputation on the streets as a police officer, decided to become her manager and physically and psychologically abused her throughout their marriage, although that Simone revealed that she was particularly attracted to his aggressive and macho style. It was revealed in her biography that her husband once beat her from outside a club to his car, then to the elevator in their apartment and then to their home, before tying her up and raping her, because she had pocketed a note given to her by a fan.
Despite all the trauma she’s been through, Nina Simone and her husband welcomed a baby together, a daughter named Lisa Simone Waymon Stroud, born September 12, 1962. Lisa Simone served in the United States Air Force as a technical assistant before following in her mother’s footsteps in the entertainment industry, becoming a singer and actress. Lisa Simone has already released four solo albums and starred in numerous theater productions, including the lead role in the musical Aida.
Death of the singer
In the late 1980s, Nina Simone was diagnosed with a mental illness; bipolar disorder to be exact. She was living at that time in the south of France and was able to manage the illness while restoring her almost dead career. In the late 1990s, Simone was diagnosed with breast cancer. The “Young, Gifted and Black” singer battled the disease for a few years before dying in her sleep on April 21, 2003 at her home in Carry-le-Rouet, in the Bouches-du-Rhône.
Hundreds of people, including singers Patti LaBelle and Miriam Makeba, attended Nina Simone’s funeral. His ashes were then scattered in several African countries.