I think that the first time I heard Nina Simone was on CBC Radio as a child many, many years ago. Not only was I intrigued by her voice but also by her activism, something I made of point of instilling in my own daughters as they grew. She was a classically trained pianist, began playing at the age of three, studied at Julliard, and though she also applied and was rejected by the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia (she suspected it was due to her race) she eventually received an honorary degree. She changed her name from Eunice Kathleen Waymon in order to perform 'the devil's music' (jazz) unbeknownst to her family. She suffered abuse from her second husband and also struggled with bipolar disorder but in spite of this became known as the High Priestess of Soul. Her music has been featured in a large selection of movies and television programs and inspired many of the most famous musicians (including The Beatles and Elton John).
AIRdirondack Art Project