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ARTIST-OF-THE-MONTH 2024

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February 2024 - Nina Simone

Happy Birthday Nina Simone!

February 27, 1933 - April 21, 2003

 

Ms. Simone: A Songbird With Fire in Her Soul 

 

Nina Simone, born Eunice Kathleen Waymon in 1933, wasn't just a jazz singer. She was a fiery whirlwind of talent, activism, and raw emotion, leaving an indelible mark on music and society. Though categorized as jazz, her genre-bending sound incorporated blues, folk, gospel, and classical, reflecting the depth and complexity of her artistry and life.

 

Simone's journey began in rural North Carolina, where dreams of a concert pianist career burned bright. Despite facing racial discrimination, she secured funding to study at Juilliard, only to abandon it due to financial hardship. Instead, she began singing in Atlantic City nightclubs under the pseudonym Nina Simone, crafting a persona that would captivate audiences.

 

Early success with "I Love You Porgy" belied the growing social unrest brewing within her. The brutal murder of Emmett Till in 1955 ignited a fire, and Simone poured her grief and anger into the protest anthem "Mississippi Goddam," a defiant cry against racial injustice. This marked a turning point, transforming her into a powerful voice for the Civil Rights Movement.

 

Through songs like "To Be Young, Gifted and Black" and "Ain't Got No, I Got Life," Simone became a soundtrack for the movement. Her smoky vocals carried tales of struggle and resilience, laced with vulnerability and rage. She wasn't afraid to confront injustice head-on, her music becoming a weapon wielded with grace and fury.

 

But Simone's complexities extended beyond activism. She explored love, loss, and personal demons with unflinching honesty. Songs like "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" and "Feeling Good" unveiled emotional depths, resonating with audiences far beyond the boundaries of race and politics. Beyond her activism, Simone explored a vast musical landscape. She reinterpreted classics like "I Put a Spell on You" infusing them with her unique style. Her piano playing, often percussive and bluesy, complemented her smoky vocals, creating an intensely personal and captivating sound.

 

Despite her immense talent and cultural impact, Simone's career was riddled with personal and professional struggles. Mental health issues, industry exploitation, and political tensions led to self-imposed exile in Europe in the 1970s.

 

Nina Simone passed away in 2003, leaving behind a legacy that continues to inspire. Her music remains a timeless testament to the power of artistic expression in the face of adversity. More than just a singer, she was a force of nature, a complex artist who dared to confront the world with her truth, forever etched in the tapestry of music and activism.

https://www.ninasimone.com/

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January 2024 - Celeste

Celeste “Hear My Voice

 

Simple words with a profound underscore, Celeste becries the following:

 

Hear my voice

Hear my dreams

Let us make a world, world, in which I believe 

Hear my words 

Hear my cries 

Let me see a change through these eyes

 

Celeste performs “Hear My Voice” in London’s Union Chapel, July 2021. The song is featured in the film “The Trial of the Chicago 7.” The call for a better world is still being asked today. 

 

Born in the US but raised in the UK. Celeste Epiphany Waite Is a generation-defying icon in the making. Her larger than life blend of Jazz, Soul, and R & B, brings forth the whispers of the ancestor greats. We hear the subtle rhythms of Ella Fitzgerald and the pain of Aretha Franklin. There are some who hear the strains of Adele, the rugged passion of Amy Winehouse, and the fragility of Billie Holiday. Some have stated Celeste is the finest talent to emerge from the UK in years.

 

And yet, the approach is distinctively Celeste who is forging toward creating her own irresistible presence. 

Enjoy!

 

https://www.celesteofficial.com/

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