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How Nina Simon Got Her Name - A Curious Story of a Woman Icon

How did the legendary performer get her name? We suggest finding out together...

How Nina Simon got her name: History and facts

Known for her explosive temper and undeniable talent, Nina Simon is an icon of her time and... genres. This delightful diva combined jazz, soul, pop, gospel and blues in a way that set her apart from other singers and, as a result, gave her immortal status.

Simone's songs are unique: all of them have a special depth, penetration, special sensitivity... Listening to them is a pleasure, though, under a certain mood. She died almost 20 years ago, but millions of people still occasionally discuss the star. And not many people know that Nina Simon - her fake name. In fact, the icon's name was Eunice Kathleen Waymon - is a far cry from the legendary pseudonym in both sound and spelling, isn't it? So where did this "Nina Simone" come from, and what does the French actress have to do with it? Let's get to the bottom of it.

A little about the singer: who Nina Simone is, and how her journey began

Nina Simon
Nina Simon

In 1954 Eunice Kathleen Waymon for the first time in her life walked into a bar. She had just arrived in Atlantic City from Philadelphia. A piano prodigy who began playing piano at age three and attended the prestigious Juilliard School of Music in New York City, Eunice planned to make a little extra money before she finally ran out of money for tuition. And the institution Midtown Bar & GrillThe bar, which she accidentally stumbled upon during her promenade, was the perfect place for it. The bar was to be a launching pad for a humble piano teacher.

At the time, Waymon was working piano teacherbut her precarious financial situation forced her to try something new. She wanted to be a pianist performing classical music. But until that happened, she had to play the piano and sing pop tunes, which she never did. She thought it was just for the summer, and the money was good. After attending Juilliard School, she moved to Philadelphia in hopes of going to Curtis Institute of Music for a scholarship, but she wasn't accepted, which she thought was because of her skin color.

A Spanish word and a French actress - how the legendary pseudonym appeared

Nina Simon
Nina Simon

Eunice's mother was a Methodist preacher who thought popular music was sinful, so the future star decided she would need stage nameif she performs at a bar. In her own words, she just "experimented." with words in search of "that very sound:

"It was kind of a trick for me when I first picked it out. And the new name caught on! Young people would come to the bar in the summer, and they all thought of me as Nina Simone, so I kept it..."

But why this particular word combination? In fact, the pseudonym was not entirely meaningless and accidental. The new name Eunice combined Spanish word and the name of the famous French actress. The singer used the pet name given to her by her Spanish-speaking ex-boyfriend, who called her "niña."which in Spanish means "girl" or "little girl.

Simone Signoret
Simone Signoret

As a surname she borrowed the name of a French movie star Simone Signoretwho began her acting career in the 1940s, and by the 50s had become a famous international star.

"The two seemed to go together, hand in hand, so I settled on them," the legendary performer later recalled.

The Rise of Glory

Nina Simon
Nina Simon

Born in North Carolina, February 21, 1933, Nina Simon went to New York to attend a prestigious institution Juilliard School, thanks to the support of her music teacher, who, according to her biography, created a foundation for her. After performing in Atlantic City in 1954, she began playing in Philadelphia and signed with the label Bethlehem Records. In 1957, she hit the top 20 with her first record, "Little Girl Blue," or rather her version of "I Loves You Porgy" from the musical Porgy and Bess.

Simone, known as "High Priestess of Soul Music."She became an international star, mixing jazz, blues, pop, and gospel. In addition to playing the piano and singing, she composed her own songs. She was also a civil rights icon. She spent the last 20 years of her life in Europe and died in France in 2003 at the age of 70 after a six-year battle with cancer.

The world still remembers and loves her, and it's impossible to imagine music history without her. But looking back, it's easy to amazing: Had it not been for an occasional summer job in Atlantic City, the world may never have been blessed with a gifted singer and pianist with an unforgettable stage name.

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