Nina Simone Essay

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Eunice Kathleen Waymon born February 21, 1933. She was the sixth of eight children born to John - an entertainer turned family man - and Mary Kate - who became a church minister - a poor southern black family that lived in Tryon, North Carolina. Her father played piano, guitar, and harmonica; her mother played piano and sang. Her brothers and sisters all played piano and sang in the church choir, gospel groups, glee clubs and social events. She started learning music the natural way by watching her family. The Waymon’s owned a pedal organ, and by the time Eunice was tall enough to climb on the stool and sit on the keyboard, she had musical talent. She was a child prodigy. By the age of 6, Eunice would play piano in church and…show more content…
The disappointment of not getting into Curtis caused her to give up music for a while. Holding various jobs to support herself until she eventually started working as a pianist and assistant to a vocal teacher. One of the college students she taught introduced the idea that she go to Atlantic City and find employment as an lounge entertainer. Knowing that her mother would not approve of this notion, she decided to take a stage name. She chose Nina – an affectionate term that an ex-boyfriend used to call her meaning girl in Spanish – and Simone – after Simone Signoret a French actor, because she though it sounded sophisticated. With her new stage name, she got a job in a small bar and grill off the boardwalk. At first she just played the piano, but her boss told her that she had to sing or she could not keep the job. Nina began to put her own style – a mixture from her background of classical and gospel - to popular songs. This led to an unexpected career as a “jazz” entertainer putting aside her dreams of being a classical pianist. During the 1960’s, Nina got involved with the current events – the civil rights fight – as an activist. Outraged by the events and her own struggles this led her to take action; She used her music to try to change society. Her music was often anthems for civil right movements - such as the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee - during the 1960s and 1970s. After almost 50 years of music, Nina Simone
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