Wormz Obituaries

Nina Simone

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Nina Simone died in her sleep aged seventy at her home in Carry-le-Rouet, photo of Nina SimoneBouches-du-Rhône, France on 21st April 2003. Her funeral service was attended by singers Miriam Makeba and Patti LaBelle, poet Sonia Sanchez, actors Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee, and hundreds of others. Nina Simone's ashes were scattered in several African countries. She is survived by her daughter, Lisa Celeste Stroud, an actress and singer, who took the stage name Simone.
Nina Simone was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in the late 1980s. In 1993, she settled near Aix-en-Provence in southern France. She had suffered from breast cancer for several years.
Nina Simone was born Eunice Kathleen Waymon and raised in Tryon, North Carolina, U.S.A. The sixth of eight children in a poor family, she began playing piano at the age of three; the first song she learned was "God Be With You,Till We Meet Again." Demonstrating a talent with the instrument, she performed at her local church. But her concert debut, a classical recital, was given when she was aged twelve. Nina Simone later said that during this performance, her parents, who had taken seats in the front row, were forced to move to the back of the hall to make a way for white people. She said that she refused to play until her parents were moved back to the front, and that the incident contributed to her later involvement in the civil rights movement. Nina Simone's mother, Mary Kate Waymon, was a Methodist minister and a housemaid. Nina Simone's father, Rev. John Devan Waymon was a handyman who at one time owned a dry cleaning business, but also suffered bouts of ill health. Nina Simone's music teacher helped establish a special fund to pay for her education. Subsequently, a local fund was set up to assist her continued education. With the help of this scholarship money she was able to attend Allen High School for Girls in Asheville, North Carolina.
After her graduation, Nina Simone spent the summer of 1950 at the Juilliard School, as a student of Carl Friedberg, preparing for an audition at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. Her application, however, was denied. As her family had relocated to Philadelphia in the expectation of her entry to Curtis, the blow to her aspirations was particularly heavy, and she suspected that her application had been denied because of racial prejudice. Discouraged, she took private piano lessons with Vladimir Sokoloff, a professor at Curtis, but never re-applied to the institution. She took a job as a photographer's assistant, but also found work as an accompanist at Arlene Smith's vocal studio and taught piano from her home in Philadelphia.
To fund her private lessons, Nina Simone performed at the Midtown Bar & Grill on Pacific Avenue in Atlantic City, whose owner insisted that she sing as well as play the piano, which increased her income to $90 a week. In 1954, she adopted the stage name "Nina Simone". "Nina", derived from niña, was a nickname given to her by a boyfriend named Chico, and "Nina Simone" was taken from the French actress Nina Signoret, whom she had seen in the 1952 movie Casque d'Or. Knowing her mother would not approve of playing the "Devil's Music", she used her new stage name to remain undetected. Nina Simone's mixture of jazz, blues, and classical music in her performances at the bar earned her a small but loyal fan base.
In 1958, Nina befriended and married Don Ross, a beatnik who worked as a fairground barker, but she quickly regretted their marriage. Playing in small clubs in the same year, she recorded George Gershwin's "I Loves You, Porgy", which she learned from a Billie Holiday album and performed as a favor to a friend. It became her only Billboard top 20 success in the United States, and her debut album 'Little Girl Blue' soon followed on Bethlehem Records.
After the success of Little Girl Blue, Nina Simone signed a contract with Colpix Records and recorded a multitude 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. After the release of her live album 'Nina Simone at Town Hall', Nina Simone became a favorite performer in Greenwich Village. By this time, she performed pop music only 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.
Nina Simone married a New York police detective, Andrew Stroud, in 1961. He later became her manager and the father of her daughter Lisa, but he abused her psychologically and physically.
In 1964, Nina Simone changed record distributors from the American Colpix to Dutch Philips, which meant a change in the contents of her recordings. She had always included songs in her repertoire that drew on her African-American heritage, such as "Brown Baby" by Oscar Brown and "Zungo" by Michael Olatunji . On her debut album for Philips, Nina Simone in Concert (1964), for the first time she addressed racial inequality in the United States in the song "Mississippi Goddam". This was her response to the June 12, 1963, murder of Medgar Evers and the September 15, 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama that killed four young black girls and partially blinded a fifth.The song was released as a single, and it was boycotted in some southern states. Promotional copies were smashed by a Carolina radio station and returned to Philips. She later recalled how "Mississippi Goddam" was her "first civil rights song" and that the song came to her "in a rush of fury, hatred and determination". The song challenged the belief that race relations could change gradually and called for more immediate developments. It was a key moment in her political radicalization. "Old Jim Crow", on the same album, addressed the Jim Crow laws. After "Mississippi Goddam", a civil rights message was the norm in Nina Simone's recordings and became part of her concerts. As her political activism rose, the release of her music declined.
In 1967, Nina Simone moved from Philips to RCA Victor. She sang "Backlash Blues" written by her friend, Harlem Renaissance leader Langston Hughes, on her first RCA album, Nina Simone Sings the Blues in1967. On Silk & Soul in 1967, she recorded Billy Taylor's "I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free" and "Turning Point". The album 'Nuff Said! in 1968 contained live recordings from the Westbury Music Fair of April, 1968, three days after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. She dedicated the performance to him and sang "Why?", a song written by her bass player, Gene Taylor.
Nina Simone and Weldon Irvine turned the unfinished play To Be Young, Gifted and Black by Lorraine Hansberry into a civil rights song. She credited her friend Hansberry with cultivating her social and political consciousness. She performed the song live on the album Black Gold in 1970. A studio recording was released as a single. She wrote in her autobiography, "I felt more alive then than I feel now because I was needed, and I could sing something to help my people".
In an interview for Jet magazine, Nina Simone stated that her controversial song "Mississippi Goddam" harmed her career. She claimed that the music industry punished her by boycotting her records. Hurt and disappointed, Nina Simone left America in September 1970, flying to Barbados and expecting Stroud to communicate with her when she had to perform again. However, Stroud interpreted Nina Simone's sudden disappearance, and the fact that she had left behind her wedding ring, as an indication of a desire for a divorce. As her manager, Stroud was in charge of Nina's income.
Nina Simone recorded her last album for RCA, It Is Finished, in 1974, and did not make another record until 1978, when she was persuaded to go into the recording studio by CTI Records owner Creed Taylor. The result was the album Baltimore, which, while not a commercial success, was fairly well received critically and marked a quiet artistic renaissance in Nina Simone's recording output. Her choice of material retained its eclecticism, ranging from spiritual songs to Hall & Oates' "Rich Girl." Four years later Nina Simone recorded Fodder on My Wings on a French label.
During the 1980s, Nina Simone performed regularly at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club in London,U.K. where she recorded the album Live at Ronnie Scott's in 1984. Although her early on-stage style could be somewhat haughty and aloof, in later years, Nina particularly seemed to enjoy engaging her audiences sometimes by recounting humorous anecdotes related to her career and music and by soliciting requests. In 1987, the original 1958 recording of "My Baby Just Cares for Me" was used in a commercial for Chanel No. 5 perfume in Britain. This led to a re-release of the recording, which stormed to number 4 on the UK's NME singles chart, giving her a brief surge in popularity in the UK.
Known for her temper and frequent outbursts, in 1985 Nina Simone fired a gun at a record company executive, whom she accused of stealing royalties. Nina Simone said she "tried to kill him" but "missed". Later in 1995, she shot and wounded her neighbor's son with an air gun after the boy's laughter disturbed her concentration. According to a biographer, Nina Simone took medication for a condition from the mid-1960s on, although this was only known to a small group of intimates. It was kept out of public view for many years, until 1994 when a biography, Break Down and Let It All Out written by Sylvia Hampton and David Nathan, was published posthumously. Singer-songwriter Janis Ian, a one-time friend of Nina Simone's, related in her own autobiography, Society's Child: My Autobiography, two instances to illustrate Nina Simone's volatility: one incident in which she forced a shoe store cashier at gunpoint to take back a pair of sandals she'd already worn; and another in which Nina Simone demanded a royalty payment from Ian herself as an exchange for having recorded one of Ian's songs, and then ripped a pay telephone out of its wall when she was refused.
When Nina Simone returned to the United States, she learned that a warrant had been issued for her arrest for unpaid taxes , and returned to Barbados to evade the authorities and prosecution. Nina Simone stayed in Barbados for quite some time and she had a lengthy affair with the Prime Minister, Errol Barrow.image of Nina Simone A close friend, singer Miriam Makeba, then persuaded her to go to Liberia. Later, she lived in Nyon, Switzerland and the Netherlands, before settling in France in 1993. During a 1998 performance in Newark, she announced, "If you're going to come see me again, you've got to come to France, because I ain't coming back."
Nina Simone published her autobiography, I Put a Spell on You, in 1992. She recorded her last album, A Single Woman, in 1993, where she depicted herself as the "single woman". She continued to tour through the 1990s but rarely travelled without an entourage. During the last decade of her life, Nina Simone had sold more than one million records, making her a global best-seller.

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song:'Wish I Knew How It Would Feel' by Nina Simone