MIAMI, FL – February 21, 2012 will mark the 79th birthday and celebrated life of Nina Simone. As the only child of one of the most extraordinary artists of the twentieth century, Simone re-launched NinaSimone.com last Mother’s Day, to honor the timeless treasures and milestones in her mother’s career.
In commemoration of Nina Simone’s music and civil rights legacy, the Estate of Nina Simone is holding an African Inspired Nina Simone Art Contest for aspiring artists, friends and fans to pay homage to the musicalicon during Black History Month. Original artwork can be submitted to the site’s gallery. Visit www.NinaSimone.com for additional information and contest rules.
As executor of The Estate of Nina Simone and her mother’s biggest fan, Simone is dedicated to continuing her mother’s legacy ofliberation, empowerment and passion. “It is my heart’s desire to build upon the foundation that my mother has already built as a legacy walking,” said Simone. “I embrace this obligation on behalf of future generations and lineages in commemoration of the undeniable contributions Mommy has made in music and culture as a whole.”
NinaSimone.com explores the many nuances and flavors that made up the real Nina Simone. The website features a “blog,” whereby notable influencers have contributed personal Nina Simone experiences, encounters and memories. Posts to date include Maya Angelou, Dr. Bill Cosby, Ledisi, Nikki Giovanni and Dianne Reeves, with many more to come. The site also includes “Nina Simone Radio,” a 24 hour/7 day-a-week internet radio station that provides hundreds of recordings spanning over four decades, interviews and special guest commentary. Other features include: unreleased Nina recordings; archived video performances; and an expanded photo gallery with previously unpublished photos of Dr. Nina Simone behind the scenes and on-stage.
An icon of American music, Eunice Kathleen Waymon was born on February 21, 1933. She was a classically trained pianist and acknowledged as the consummate musical storyteller, a “griot,” as she would proudly proclaim on numerous occasions. Her remarkable talent and magnificent body of work earned her the moniker ‘High Priestess of Soul’ for she could weave a spell so seductive and hypnotic that the listener lost track of time and space as they became absorbed in the moment. When asked what genre she considered her music, without hesitation responded with two words, “Black Classical.”
Definition: Black Classical – a genre that bridges all races, cultures and walks of life; life gifts for everyone without boundaries; freedom (which is what Nina Simone’s life epitomized).
As a classically trained pianist, Nina Simone influenced countless with her musical genius and uncompromising voice to civil unjust. She received numerous recognitions including two honorary degrees in music and humanities from the University of Massachusetts and Malcolm X College. She was also bestowed a diploma by the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, the very music school that denied her admittance at the beginning of her career due to her race. Additionally, Nina Simone’s hometown of Tryon, NC erected a statute in her honor in 2010.
When Nina Simone died on April 21, 2003, she left a timeless treasure trove of musical magic spanning over 40 years from her first hit, the 1959 Top 10 classic I Loves You Porgy, to A Single Woman, the title cut from her one and only 1993 Elektra album. While 33 years separate those recordings, the element of honest emotion is the glue that binds the two together – it is that approach to every piece of work that became Nina Simone’s uncompromising musical trademark.
Among other popular recordings are Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood, I Put A Spell On You, Four Women (whereby Simone recorded a newer version of her mother’s original classic for the movie soundtrack “For Colored Girls”), and Nina Simone’s own anthems of empowerment -To Be Young, Gifted & Black and Feeling Good. Her trademark version of Feeling Good has become such a standard that it has been covered by Michael Buble, a popular choice for “American Idol” contestants and most recently pop diva Jennifer Hudson.
A multi-talented artist in her own right, Simone is very much her mother’s daughter – singer, songwriter and a highly praised performer. Her impressive resume includes starring roles on Broadway in such acclaimed musicals as AIDA, for which she received the National Broadway Theater Award for Best Actress in a Musical and RENT whereby she was nominated for both Helen Hayes and Jefferson Awards for her role as Mimi Marquez.
Simone has many exciting projects in development for release over the next year including a double Nina Simone CD, which Simone will produce; Simone’s own sophomore CD release; a Broadway play on the life and times of Dr. Nina Simone and the re-release of her mother’s autobiography.