Eunice Kathleen Waymon (February 21, 1933 – April 21, 2003), also known by her stage name Nina Simone, was an American singer, songwriter, pianist, arranger, and civil rights activist widely associated with jazz music. Simone aspired to become a classical pianist while working in a broad range of styles including classical, jazz, blues, soul, folk, R&B, gospel, and pop.
Born the sixth child of a preacher's family in North Carolina, Nina's prodigious musical talent encouraged her ambition to become the first black concert pianist, but the realities of poverty and racial prejudice forced her to reconsider. Her musical path changed direction after she was turned down for full scholarship at a prestigious music institute - the Curtis Institute of Philadelphia. She began playing in a small club in Phildelphia to fund her continuing musical education to become a classical pianist, and was required to sing. She was approached for a recording by Bethlehem Records, and "I love you Porgy" became a smash hit in America in 1958. Over her career, Simone recorded over 40 albums, mostly between 1958 — when she made her debut with Little Girl Blue - and 1974.