Simone, daughter of Nina Simone, to perform at Penn in PhiladelphiaMarch 16, 2012
Gloucester County Times
Simone definitely has a voice all her own.
But the daughter of jazz great Nina Simone cant deny that her moms genes run strong in her.
We breathed the same air, we shared blood, Simone said in a phone interview from her home in Miami, where, she pointed out, its 81 degrees at 11 in the morning. Im very much like my mother. I remind a lot of people of her and she definitely influenced me.
She influenced her in many ways. And Simone, who will perform at the University of Pennsylvanias Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia, Saturday, is happy to share her memories of her mother with audiences.
At her show in Philadelphia, she will speak at 7 p.m., before show time, with Salamishah Tillet, Ph.D., professor of English and African Studies at Penn.
They asked me if I was willing to speak ahead of time and Im always willing to share and get to know people before a show, she said. I dont know what they want to talk about, my mom, or my time on Broadway, I didnt ask. But theyll probably have some students there who will have quite a few questions.
Simone said she brings her own style to the stage. And she loves performing live in front of an audience with the musicians she tours with.
Were always changing and shapeshifting and growing as all things living do. Performing on stage, its an experience for us as well as the audience. Thats the beauty of a live performance, Simone said. Audiences always get involved, and that seems to garner so many positive responses.
Growing up, Simone was always surrounded by music, but, even though she got praise singing as a child, she was never encouraged to follow in her mothers footsteps.
I always got positive reactions, which kids revel in, but it wasnt something I thought I wanted to do. The elders in my life didnt want me performing on stage, she said.
An honor student, Simone originally set out to go to college and eventually law school.
My plans to become a lawyer were derailed and I was desperate, she said.
She joined the Air Force at 18. After Simone a Gulf War veteran left the service after 11 years, she began to return to her roots.
I was wide open for change. I was really happy to start singing again. I was ready, she said. Thats when I entered this whole new phase in my life.
She was ready for Broadway.
Her resume includes starring roles in Broadways AIDA and Rent. She also released a CD, Simone on Simone in 2008. Today, shes just two songs away from finishing her sophomore album and she hopes to drop some singles in the next five to six months, she said. She also has several other projects in the works, including one about the life of her mother.
Im very excited. There are a lot of things happening right now, Simone said.
If you go: Simone with Jason Marsalis will perform at the University of Pennsylvanias Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts (Zellerbach Theatre,) 3680 Walnut St., Philadelphia, Saturday at 8 p.m. A pre-show talk with Simone will be at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20 to $46. For tickets, visit www.pennpresents.org. For more information on Simone, visit www.simonesworld.com.
Contact Kristie Rearick at 856-686-3638 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gloucester County Times