Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Nina Simone...High Priestess of Soul!

Hello Lovers of Wonderful Music,

It has been a little while since I have spoken about musicians that I believe ABSOLUTELY changed the way we look at expressing ourselves.  One of the people that I feel blazed the way for future singers to open themselves up and say that their voice was valid and important was Nina Simone.  She had such a distinctive voice.   I would dare anyone to say otherwise!  When covering her at my Enrichment Program, I was asked by my students whether it was a man or a woman that was singing.   I would answer their question with another.  When you listened to what the person was saying, what perspective do you think it was coming from?  The answer would ultimately lead them to the conclusion that it was a WOMAN!!

I was originally introduced to this amazing singer over fifteen years ago, and I was immediately blown away.  She had a tone and expression that was commanding and honest at the same time, and was life altering for me as a singer.  Growing up Baptist there was always a right way and a wrong way to approach the way you sang.  Yes, there was a rawness that can only be expressed when singing a Gospel hymn, but I was shown this outlet for free form and take no prisoners boldness that I cannot put into words.

Born Eunice Kathleen Waymon in North Carolina, she experienced a very poor existence.  She had a music teacher that recognized her potential and established a special fund to pay for her education (Bless that teacher!).  She was to become a classically trained pianist (from Julliard no less!), activist, singer, arranger, and composerShe counted Langston Hughes and James Baldwin as admirers.  Because of the racial turmoil that was rampant in the United States, she moved to several places and eventually settled in the South of France. She penned the song "Young, Gifted, and Black" after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  And when she were moved!  There are only a few singers that can do that, and she was one! 

She will forever hold a special place in my heart.  I hope that you enjoy my short video tribute to her.  I would love to know what you think!

til next time,



  1. Kat!! I love this! You did her proud! I love Nina and I so enjoyed your rendition...thank you for sharing this with us! YOU ROCK!

  2. YEAH! Love Nina Simone & you sing her from your heart!

  3. The gift of song is SO precious and AMAZING and from God. Thank you for sharing your gifts with us!!

  4. Count me among those who love her & your beautiful tribute to Miss Simone!