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Nina Simone: Strength & Bravery

Singer Kellylee Evans reflects on Nina Simone’s influence and legacy

Nina Simone
Kellylee Evans

Strong. Sweet. Sharp as ice. As gentle as falling snowflakes. Sometimes frightening. Always nourishing. That, for me, was/is/will always be, the music of Nina Simone. It’s a sound so squarely wrapped up with the living of my life, that I can’t say where my experience with Ms. Simone begins or where it ends. She’s there and that’s it.

When I set out to record my album in homage to her, the idea was to expose people to the songs that “Nina” had taught me. Not the songs that she made popular, but those which all these years later, I still associate with her. Whether they arrive as little aural fixations I can’t get rid of no matter what I do, or whether I hear another group or singer’s rendition. For me, this homage was all about me. Somewhat selfish, yes. But isn’t that what music is for each and every one of us: a personal manifesto into what makes us tick. A snapshot into the sounds and ideas that drive a life.

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