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Nina Simone’s story is one of pain, and her work is the way she carried it. It might be surprising to read now that she felt unfulfilled as a jazz artist and would have rather been famous for her piano playing, but that’s only because as the audience it’s easy for us to say what someone should do with their talent and career. We have a damaging tendency to meddle in things that should never be ours. Nina was singular in both her ability and the music she made. She will always be one of the best to ever do it. Those things are obvious. What’s less obvious is who she was behind all of the things she was famous for. Who Eunice Kathleen Waymon was. And it isn’t ours to know. At least not completely. What’s ours is to honor her work as best we can, and lose ourselves in her sound. To be grateful for the light she gave us, and grieve for the things she never found.
We break down the hidden history of the songs included on the album.
Looking to stack your collection with even more Nina? We got you.
We try to decode the five different times Kanye sampled Nina Simone during his career.
We watched 5 movies and read 4 books about Nina to tell you where to continue your Nina studies. Read here.
We talk to Melana Bass, who made the unique print in our Nina Simone package here