Nina Simone - WXPN
Where they’re from: Tryon, North Carolina
Who they are: Nina Simone was a classically trained pianist who made a name for herself playing and eventually singing in nightclubs in Atlantic City. Her unconventional contralto voice and improvisational jazz acumen – which made her live performances so captivating – set her apart from other singers of the 50s and 60s. As a Black woman and civil rights activist, Simone left behind an inspiring legacy on the music industry and popular culture that bleeds still into the 21st century. Among the over 40 albums of music she produced, her covers of other rock superstars, like Dylan and The Beatles, stand out.
Years active: 1954 – 2002
Essential albums: Little Girl Blue (1958), I Put A Spell On You (1965), High Priestess of Soul (1967)