The Philadelphia Tribune
The only child of jazz great Nina Simone makes her appearance at the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts March 17. Known only as Simone, the Broadway star will prove she is indeed her mothers daughter.
A highly-praised performer in her own right, Simones impressive resume includes starring roles on Broadway in such acclaimed musicals as Aida, for which she received the National Broadway Theater Award for Best Actress in a Musical, and Rent, which garnered her nominations for both Helen Hayes and Jefferson Awards.
But success took awhile to come her way because, bowing to her mothers wishes, Simone enlisted in the Armed Forces instead of following her musical dreams.
Because my mother was one of the most powerful symbols of the Civil Rights Movement in the 60s and suffered for her outspoken songs and deeds, she had a very difficult time living and working in the U.S., Simone recalls. She eventually left this country and went on to live out the rest of her life in France.
And so because of Nina Simones negative experiences and all the hard times she was forced to endure, she tried to spare her daughter all the pain, heartache and disappointment she feared would come her way.
Always the dutiful daughter, Simone put her dreams aside and enlisted in the Air Force. She served her country for eleven years in that capacity, even becoming a veteran of the Gulf War.
But she couldnt stifle her musical dreams forever. So she eventually left the Air Force and began her career in the music industry. Over the years, she has developed an exciting and diverse repertoire of pop, soul, jazz, rock and funk, expressed in the shows shes done throughout the world. Today, she says some of the favorite venues where shes played include the Sydney Opera House, the Montreaux Jazz Festival, New Yorks Lincoln Center and the Hollywood Bowl.
Growing up I listened to everything and the radio was very prevalent in my home, she explains. I guess you could call me the radio-listening queen. I could sing along with hundreds of songs, and in my repertoire I continue to do the same thing.
In 2008, Simone produced her one and only CD to date titled Simone on Simone, a big band tribute to her mother. Its my way to give a glimpse of my life over the decades, and a chance for me to do the songs I love the most the way I first heard them, she says.
But, she adds, there are many exciting projects still waiting for development. These include re-release of her first CD with bonus track, a European and U.S. Tour, what she calls the sophomore CD, a Broadway play on the life and times of Nina Simone, and the re-release of her mothers autobiography.
Most recently she was heard on the movie trailer, closing credits and the movie soundtrack of Tyler Perrys film, For Colored Girls, singing a new version of her mothers original classic Four Women.
Since her mothers passing in 2003, Simone has taken on other projects, which include managing her mothers extensive estate, as well as being an avid supporter for Breast Cancer Awareness (the disease which claimed her mothers life).
Today, she announces, her commitment is to keep singing, keep writing, keep performing, and keep spreading the word of healing and love.
For times and ticket information, call (215) 898-3900.
The Philadelphia Tribune