On this day , April 21, in 2003, we lost Eunice Kathleen Waymon, more commonly known as Nina Simone. She was an American singer, songwriter, pianist, arranger, and civil rights activist.
Displaying musical talent early in life, she gave her first piano recital at age ten in her small town in Tryon, North Carolina. Her parents were removed from the first row to accommodate whites.
Later, local supporters helped pay her way to the Juilliard School of Music in New York, and she also took private lessons. Her career took off when she worked to support herself as a singer-pianist in an Atlantic City bar.
Her first album, “Little Girl Blue” was published in 1958. The single released from that recording (featuring “I Loves You Porgy” and “He Needs Me”) sold over a million copies. This video features a 1962 performance of “I Loves You Porgy”:
During her lifetime she recorded more than forty albums. She suffered from breast cancer for several years before she died in her sleep at her home in France.