Jazz Singer and Diva Nina Simone

Written By Sonny Akbar Sembada

Hi, my name is Sonny Akbar Sembada and I welcome you to my blog, The Uncle Jazz. The main topic of my blog is everything related to jazz music.. 

Jazz singer and diva Nina Simone – a vocal powerhouse who effortlessly dances through genres like jazz, blues, soul, pop, and gospel.

Born as Eunice Waymon on February 21, 1933, in Tryon, NC, she rolled out more than 50 albums, making her mark on labels like RCA Victor, Colpix, Verve, Collectables, Bethlehem/Charly, Philips, and Mercury.

Story of Being a Jazz Singer and Diva

Let’s kick it off with some piano lessons at age 4, followed by formal education at the Juilliard School of Music in New York. The real magic happens when she breaks out George Gershwin’s “I Loves You Porgy,” hitting the Top 20 charts in America.

Story of Being a Jazz Singer and Diva
Jazz Singer and Diva Nina Simone Image by gettyimages.com

In the early ’60s, she throws down at least nine albums for Candix, mixing in some live gigs. Rumor has it her best recordings drop with Philips in the mid-’60s.

Jazz singer and diva Nina also steps up for U.S. civil rights during the ’50s and ’60s, all while breaking barriers as a Black woman.

Life Adventures and Musical Vibes

So, in ’73, she decides to take a break from the U.S., jetting off to Liberia, Barbados, Switzerland, and the UK before settling in Carry-le-Rouet, France. Even in the South of France, she keeps the groove alive, touring a bit, and dropping tracks – maybe not as wild as the ’60s, considering health stuff and all.

Anthems like “Mississippi Goddam!,” “Old Jim Crow,” and “To Be Young, Gifted, And Black” become her signature tunes for the movements she’s backing.

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Fast forward to ’87, “My Baby Just Cares For Me” storms the UK charts, thanks to a Chanel ad. Nina’s name is back in the game, catching the attention of major U.S. labels who toss her tracks into the mix for ‘Point of No Return.’

Life Adventures and Musical Vibes
Nina Simone perform image by gettyimages.com

Leaving behind three brothers and one sister, her marriage to Andy Stroud, who also manages her, brings Lisa into the world. Oh, and she pens her life story in “I Put a Spell on You” in ’91.

Jazz singer and diva Nina bows out on a Monday (04/21/2003) at her spot in southern France, hitting 70. Clifton Henderson, her manager, chalks it up to old age, while Yahoo!/Launch leans towards a stroke.

The Ultimate Jam Playlist

Check it out – the entire lineup of her tunes is right below:

  • 1957 Nina Simone and Her Friends Bethlehem
  • 1957 Little Girl Blue Bethlehem
  • 1957 Nina Simone and Her Friends Bethlehem
  • 1958 Jazz As Played In An Exclusive Side Street… Bethlehem/Char
  • 1958 Jazz As Played In An Exclusive Side Street… Bethlehem
  • 1959 Nina Simone at Town Hall [live] Colpix
  • 1959 The Original Nina Simone Bethlehem
  • 1959 The Amazing Nina Simone Colpix
  • 1959 My Baby Just Cares for Me [ZYX] Happy Days
  • 1959 My Baby Just Cares for Me [Charly] Charly
  • 1960 Nina Simone at Newport [live] Colpix
  • 1961 Forbidden Fruit Colpix
  • 1961 Nina At the Village Gate [Roulette] [live] Roulette
  • 1962 Nina Simone Sings Ellington! Colpix
  • 1962 Nina Simone At the Village Gate… [live] Collectables
  • 1963 Nina Simone at Carnegie Hall [live] Colpix
  • 1963 Nina’s Choice Colpix
  • 1964 Blues: Ballads Philips
  • 1964 Folksy Nina Colpix
  • 1964 Nina Simone in Concert [live] Philips
  • 1964 Broadway-Blues-Ballads Verve
  • 1965 I Put a Spell on You Mercury
  • 1965 Pastel Blues Mercury
  • 1966 Nina Simone Sings the Blues RCA
  • 1966 Nina Simone with Strings Colpix
  • 1966 Wild Is the Wind Philips
  • 1966 High Priestess of Soul Philips
  • 1966 Let It All Out Philips
  • 1967 Silk & Soul RCA
  • 1968 ‘Nuff Said RCA Victor
  • 1969 A Very Rare Evening with Nina Simone [live] PM
  • 1969 Black Gold RCA Victor
  • 1969 To Love Somebody RCA
  • 1969 Gifted & Black [live] Canyon
  • 1970 Black Soul RCA
  • 1970 Nina Simone and Piano! RCA Victor
  • 1970 Nina Simone and Piano! [Bonus Tracks] RCA
  • 1971 Here Comes the Sun RCA Victor
  • 1972 Heart & Soul RCA
  • 1973 Emergency Ward! RCA
  • 1974 It Is Finished RCA
  • 1974 Portrait of Nina Trip
  • 1977 I Loves You Porgy, The Finest CBS
  • 1978 Baltimore CTI
  • 1980 The Rising Sun Collection Just A Memory
  • 1982 Artistry of Nina Simone RCA
  • 1982 Fodder On My Wings Carrere
  • 1984 Live at Ronnie Scott’s [DRG] DRG
  • 1985 Nina’s Back [Import Bonus Track] Import
  • 1985 Nina’s Back Meteor Magnum
  • 1987 Live & Kickin’ [1987] VPI
  • 1987 Let It Be Me [live] Verve
  • 1991 Live [Huub] Huub
  • 1993 A Single Woman Elektra/Asylum
  • 1996 Live in Paris Accord
  • 1996 In Concert [live] DJ Specialist
  • 1998 Live & Kickin’: In Europe & the Caribbean,… Overall
  • 1998 At Newport, The Village Gate and Elsewhere [live] WestSide
  • 1998 Ain’t Got No-I Got Life: In Concert [live] Remember
  • 2003 It’s Cold Out There Freud
  • Live in Europe Trip
  • Live at Ronnie Scott’s [Hendring] Hendring-Wadha
  • Live in Europe [Double Set] Phoenix
  • Nina Simone [Bella Musica] Bella Musica
  • My Baby Just Cares for Me: Live Castle
  • Live Zeta

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