She’s one of the most important musicians of the twentieth century and her songs have been used in everything from rap samples, house classics and the Müller adverts. She was born in 1933 in North Carolina to a Methodist minister and a handy-man. Whilst she was an immensely talented youngster, her family did not have much money to pay for her lessons so a fund was set up by local people to pay for her tuition. She was a talented singer, pianist and songwriter, as well as a prolific Civil Rights activist. She died in 2003 in France after a battle with breast cancer. Basically I’m a big fan and I think you should be too. So consider this my blaggers guide to Nina Simone’s career.
She signed to a small jazz record label called Bethlehem and in 1957 released her debut album, ‘Little Girl Blue’. This was the first of some 40 albums that she went on to release and is incredibly jazzy. Her influences during this time include Billy Holiday and Duke Ellington, who’s ‘Mood Indigo’ features on the album alongside ‘Love Me Or Leave Me’, ‘African Mailman’ and one of her most famous songs, ‘My Baby Just Cares For Me’. She was only with the label for this one release before her popularity meant she was signed by a bigger label.