50th Anniversary of “Nina Simone Sings The Blues” 1967 by Photojournalist Lisa Pacino
Nina Simone (born in North Carolina as Eunice Kathleen Waymon; February 21, 1933 – April 21, 2003) was an American singer, songwriter, pianist, arranger, and civil rights activist who worked in a broad range of musical styles including classical, jazz, soul, blues, folk, R&B, gospel, and pop. Simone’s musical style fused gospel and pop with classical music, in particular Johann Sebastian Bach, and accompanied expressive, jazz-like singing in her contralto voice. She was refused entry to Curtis Institute of Music; thereafter with the help of the few supporters she enrolled in the Juilliard School of Music in New York in 1950, and began her professional career in 1954. She released countless singles and albums, not just nine on RCA Records; but labels such as Verve, Déjà vu, Mercury, Elektra, Philips, and Sony. In 1965, she fulfilled one of her biggest dreams performing at Carnegie Hall, New York. In 1967, she was known as the High Priestess of Soul, after her eighth studio album was released, entitled the same name. That same year, she released her ninth album, Nina Simone Sings The Blues. Simone lived and performed worldwide. She was the recipient of a Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 2000 for her interpretation of “I Loves You, Porgy.” She has also received fifteen Grammy Award nominations. On Human Kindness Day 1974 in Washington, D.C., more than 10,000 people paid tribute to Simone. She received two honorary degrees in music and humanities and preferred to be called “Dr. Nina Simone” after these honors were bestowed upon her. Two days before her death, Simone was awarded an honorary degree by the Curtis Institute of Music, the music school that had refused to admit her as a student at the beginning of her career. In 2002, the city of Nijmegen, Netherlands, named a street after her, the Nina Simone straat; she had lived in Nijmegen between 1988 and 1990. On August 29, 2005, the city of Nijmegen, concert hall De Vereeniging, and more than fifty artists honoured Simone with the tribute concert Greetings from Nijmegen. She was inducted into the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame in 2009, her birth state. Simone passed away at age 70 in her home in Carry-le-Rouet, Bouches-du-Rhône, France, leaving behind her one daughter, Lisa.
Released 50 years ago in 1967, Nina Simone Sings The Blues was her first of nine albums for RCA Records.
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