Nina Simone, birth name Eunice Kathleen Waymon, was born February 21, 1933 in Tryon, North Carolina. Daughter of Mary Kate Waymon and John D. Waymon, an ordained Methodist minister, Simone was the sixth of eight children. The house was always filled with music, Nina recalled, and she learned to play the piano early in her childhood. Her mother took a job as a maid for extra money. The family Mary Kate worked for, saw that young Nina had special musical talent and sponsored classical piano lessons for her.
In her last year of high school, Nina attended Juilliard in New York, hoping for acceptance to the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. She was rejected. Nina Simone believed that she was good enough for the program, but was rejected because of the color of her skin. This was one of many disappointments she would encounter and attribute to racism.
Nina defied easy classification. It was her alto voice, with its rich timbre and her distinctive interpretation… read more