The late singer-pianist Nina Simone was one of the most unique performers in music, crossing over such idioms as jazz, soul, R&B, pop, funk, protest music, folk, vintage blues and other unclassifiable styles. Her daughter Simone has recently emerged as a powerful singer herself but she has no need or desire to merely copy her famous mother, even when paying tribute to her. Lisa Celeste Stroud, who uses the name Simone in her performances, grew up in Mount Vernon, N.Y., New York City and North Carolina. She also spent time living with her mother in Barbados and Liberia before attending boarding school in Switzerland. She was an engineering assistant in the U.S. Air Force for 10 years, occasionally singing in West Germany as Simone.
After her discharge, she worked as a background singer for various artists in Europe, toured the world with Spanish artist Raphael, and appeared throughout the U.S. in Jesus Christ Superstar. She was an understudy in the Broadway show Rent, and played Mimi in its first national tour. Simone sang with the acid-jazz band Liquid Soul and then came back to Broadway, starring in Aida. In 2004 Simone began three years of touring in Europe with the children of Chaka Khan and Donny Hathaway in a show called “Daughters of Soul.” In launching her own solo career, Simone decided to start off paying tribute to her mother in concerts even though she has her own individual voice and is a skilled songwriter. This year her debut solo album, Simone on Simone, has been released by Koch, teaming her voice with a big band on songs taken from most of the periods of Nina Simone’s career.