Nina Simone Biography
The "High Priestess of Soul" known as Nina Simone was born Eunice Waymon in Tryon, North Carolina. She was the sixth of eight children in a poor family. Learn about her life.
The "High Priestess of Soul" known as Nina Simone was born Eunice Waymon in Tryon, North Carolina. She was the sixth of eight children in a poor family. As a child prodigy she began playing the piano at the age of four. Years later her music teacher set up the "Eunice Waymon Fund" to help her continue her education. Through these efforts she was able to study piano at the Juilliard School and the Curtis Institute.
She began singing in a nightclub in Atlantic City where she had been hired as an accompanist. She was told she needed to sing to remain there. She changed her name to Nina Simone and soon began to gain widespread attention. Weaving the elements of blues, gospel, and soul music, Simone has enjoyed success as a prolific singer, pianist, and composer. Her songs have been heard in such movies as POINT OF NO RETURN, GHOSTS OF THE MISSISSIPPI, and STEALING BEAUTY.
Simone's works have an activist edge to them as evidenced by the song "Mississippi Goddam." She wrote this song in protest after four black children were killed in a church bombing in Birmingham. She renounced her U.S. Citizenship in 1969 because of the racism in her homeland and traveled the world until she settled in France in 1993. In 1978 she protested the Vietnam War by withholding taxes. She was arrested but was soon released. Recently, she has returned to the U.S. to perform at various locations on her Millennium Tour.
1933 She was born in Tryon, North Carolina.
1939 She began her first piano lessons.
1943 She gave her first piano recital at the town library.
1950 She began studying at the Juilliard School of Music.
1954 She started working as an accompanist at the Midtown Bar and Grill in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
1958 Her first album, JAZZ AS PLAYED IN AN EXCLUSIVE SIDE STREET CLUB (later known as LITTLE GIRL BLUE) was recorded.; She married Don Ross.
1959 She signed with Colpix, Columbia Pictures Records.; She divorced Don Ross.
1961 She married Andy Stroud. (December 4)
1962 Her daughter, Lisa Celeste Stroud, was born. (September 12)
1963 She wrote "Mississippi Goddam."
1964 She began collaborating with Phillips, a Mercury subsidiary.
1966 She wrote "Four Women."; She began recording with RCA.
1967 She recorded HIGH PRIESTESS OF SOUL.
1969 She renounced the United States because of the widespread racism in the country.
1970 She recorded BLACK SHROUD.
1971 She divorced Andy Stroud.
1978 She recorded BALTIMORE.; She was arrested for withholding taxes in protest of the U.S. Involvement in the Vietnam war.
1982 She recorded FODDER ON MY WINGS.
1985 She recorded NINA'S BACK and LIVE AND KICKIN.
1988 She recorded "My Baby Just Cares For Me."
1991 Her autobiography, I PUT A SPELL ON YOU, was published.
1993 A SINGLE WOMAN was released.; She moved to Bouc-Bel-Air in France.
1998 She was a special guest at Nelson Mandela's 80th birthday party. (July 24)
1999 She received a Lifetime Achievement in Music Award in Dublin. (October 7)