Nina Simone (/ˈniːnə sɨˈmoʊn/; born Eunice Kathleen Waymon; February 21, 1933 – April 21, 2003) was an American singer, songwriter, pianist, arranger, and civil rights activist who worked in a broad range of musical styles including classical, jazz, blues, folk, R&B, gospel, and pop.
Born in North Carolina, the sixth child of a preacher, Simone aspired to be a concert pianist, but was denied a scholarship to the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, despite a well-received audition. Simone became fully convinced her rejection had been entirely due to her race. Soon after Simone moved to New York City where she enrolled in the Juilliard School of Music. To fund her musical education and become a classical pianist, she began playing at a small club in Atlantic City.