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Nina Simone

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On the third night of his second Vegas residency (July 6, 2022), Morrissey wore a badge featuring James Baldwin & Nina Simone:

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American singer, songwriter, pianist.

Born: 21 February 1933 in Tryon, North Carolina, USA. Died: 21 April 2003 in Carry-le-Rouet, Bouches-du-Rhône, France (aged 70).

Nina was giving piano recitals after playing at her local church at an early age. Her childhood piano lessons were funded by her mother's employer and a local fund set up by her music teacher, so impressed were they by her talent.

She moved to Philadelphia aged 17, teaching piano and playing to raise the money for her studies at New York's renowned Juilliard School Of Music. To fund her family she worked in a bar in Atlantic City where she was also required to sing and built up a devoted following.

She recorded Gershwin's "I Loves You Porgy" which became a US Top 40 hit and transported her to a bigger stage, performing at Carnegie Hall and the Newport Jazz Festival.

Her repertoire went on to embrace numerous Civil Rights anthems, a movement for which she was a passionate and prominent supporter. She left the US in the 1970s, moving first to Barbados, and some other places, including Africa and the Netherlands, before eventually settling in France where she died from cancer in 2003.

Nina's voice drew heavily on other music forms. It was infused with gospel, blues, soul, jazz, R&B, and folk. And it found a wider audience late in her life when "My Baby Just Cares For Me" became an unlikely UK chart hit when it featured in a TV ad campaign.

In fact her music stayed very popular with advertisers as her tracks have been used to promote a multitude of products on TV, including yoghurt ("Ain't Got No (I Got Life)"), Diet Coke ("I Put A Spell On You"), cars ("Sinnerman"), fabric conditioner ("Feeling Good"), and perfume ("Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood"), et al.

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Eunice Kathleen Waymon (February 21, 1933 – April 21, 2003), known professionally as Nina Simone (), was an American singer, songwriter, pianist, and civil rights activist. Her music spanned styles including classical, folk, gospel, blues, jazz, R&B, and pop. The sixth of eight children born from a poor family in Tryon, North Carolina, Simone initially aspired to be a concert pianist. With the help of a few supporters in her hometown, she enrolled in the Juilliard School of Music in New York City. She then applied for a scholarship to study at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where, despite a well received audition, she was denied admission, which she attributed to racism. In 2003, just days before her death, the Institute awarded her an honorary degree.To make a living, Simone started playing piano at a nightclub in Atlantic City. She changed her name to "Nina Simone" to disguise herself from family members, having chosen to play "the devil's music" or so-called "cocktail piano". She was told in the nightclub that she would have to sing to her own accompaniment, which effectively launched her career as a jazz vocalist. She went on to record more than 40 albums between 1958 and 1974, making her debut with Little Girl Blue. She had a hit single in the United States in 1958 with "I Loves You, Porgy". Her musical style fused gospel and pop with classical music, in particular Johann Sebastian Bach, and accompanied expressive, jazz-like singing in her contralto voice.