Though she did go to New York's Jiulliart school for music, but never finished due to lack of funds. She had to give up hope of becoming the first black classical pianiste.
After that Simone was introduced to jazz and blues through her work at the Midtown Bar & Grill.. In 1954 she took her stagename. Nina was the name her boyfriend called her, Simone after actress Simone Signoret.
Her first and only American no 1. hit was I loves you Porgy in 1959, a cover from George Gershwin. Her second single, My baby just cares for me became a huge hit in the UK, after it was used in a Chanel commercial.
Further songs often had a strong anti-racism message as Simone got heavily involved in the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s.
Simone continued to perform into the 1980s. She died in 2003 after battling cancer for several years.
Her voice is raw, her music sometimes simple, yet full of emotion. She can truely bring tears to my eyes.
Nina Simone - My Baby Just Cares for Me (1958)