Nina Simone



Simone, seen here in 2002 attending a benefit concert in New York. Simone broke out of a single genre and expanded her discography and style of music like no one before her.

Adhiti Chundur, Print Editor-in-Chief

Nina Simone, also known as the “Priestess of Soul”, was a legendary African- American singer and activist. Born in 1933 in North Carolina, Simone’s musical career started when her family raised enough money for her to study classical piano at Juilliard in New York City.
After leaving Juilliard due to lack of money, Simone started performing at nightclubs, blending together different styles of music including jazz, blues, and folk. In 1957 at the age of 24, she released her first album under Bethlehem records.
As her music career grew and evolved, Simone was soon asked to play at the acclaimed Newport Jazz Festival.
During the Civil Rights Movement in the mid 1960s, Simone emerged as a powerful voice for the movement. She started to write songs in response to the racism in America, including “Mississippi Goddamn” in response to the shooting of civil rights activist Medgar Evers.
At the end of the 1960s, Simone, tired of the racial divides and segregation in the US, settled in Southern France, taking a break from recording.
During the 1980s Simone started recording again, creating top hits such as “My Baby Just Care For Me”, which was used for a Chanel perfume commercial in England.
During the course of her career, Simone created more than 40 albums- fusing different genres and ideas into her music and developing a powerful voice for the civil rights movement.

“I had spent many years pursuing excellence, because that is what classical music is all about… Now it was dedicated to freedom, and that was far more important.”
– Nina Simone