Eunice Kathleen Waymon's beautiful, mellifluous voice is one of the most distinctive and celebrated in music. As Nina Simone she recorded over forty albums during a long and distinguished career that stretched over five decades.
She was born in 1933 and, as a child, was a talented pianist. A fund was set up for her continued education and this enabled her to go to Juilliard School of Music in New York. She took a job singing and playing piano to supplement her funding and adopted the name Nina Simone at this time. As a result of this job she finally recorded her first album, the successful Little Girl Blue in 1950.
Many further albums followed, with Simone retaining full artistic control as singer, songwriter and arranger. This control allowed her to incorporate themes into her music which were gaining prominence in her own ethos at the time, particularly civil rights.
She was described variously as a jazz singer, a soul singer, and a folk singer - really she was all of these and more. Her heartfelt songs remain in the public consciousness to this day, having been made famous by both her and by those who re-recorded them.
Her numerous albums and wonderful concerts are a marvelous testament to her passion and power. She has inspired many legendary artists including Jeff Buckley, Aretha Franklin and The Animals; artists who have, in turn, inspired further generations.
She died, aged 70, in 2003, after a long battle with cancer.