Verve Label Group and UMe are glad to announce the induction of trailblazers Nina Simone into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
Late pianist, singer and known activist Simone will be inducted into the 2018 Performer Category alongside Bon Jovi, The Cars and The Moody Blues, while Tharpe, the late singer and guitarist known as the “godmother of rock and roll,” will be inducted into the hall’s Early Influences wing, joining such icons as Billie Holiday, Robert Johnson, Hank Williams, Bessie Smith and Howlin’ Wolf.
The 33rd Annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will take place April 14, 2018 at Public Auditorium in Cleveland, Ohio.
She is known as the “High Priestess of Soul,” Nina Simone defies categorization.
A pianist, singer, songwriter, composer and activist, Nina Simone was one of the most talented vocalists of her generation, an extraordinary artist of the twentieth century, a icon of American music.
Instead of limiting herself to musical boundaries, she knew no bounds and merged jazz, blues, soul, folk, R&B, gospel, pop and show tunes with her classical roots, creating a rich tapestry filled with emotional honesty, spiritual depth and virtuosic musicianship.
Born Eunice Kathleen Waymon on February 21, 1933, in Tryon, North Carolina, Nina Simone took to music at an early age and begun playing piano at three years old. After graduating valedictorian of her high school class, her community raised money for a scholarship for her to study classical piano at Julliard in New York City.
Unfortunately, Nina then left after the money ran out and applied to the prestigious Curtis Institute in Philadelphia, where she was denied entrance, something Simone always felt was racially inspiring.
Determined to make a living playing music, she started to perform in bars in Atlantic City where she played jazz standards and was required to sing. Word instantly spread and at the age of twenty-four she got her first record deal.
Simone recorded more than 40 albums, starting in 1957 with her debut Little Girl Blue, featuring “I Loves You Porgy,” which hit the top of the charts when it became a Top 10 hit in the U.S. By the mid-1960s, Simone had become known as a main voice for the Civil Rights Movement as her music began to reflect the tumultuous times.
She signed to Philips in 1964 at the age of 31 and experienced an exceptional purple patch that included seven albums in three years. Her first for the label, Nina Simone In Concert, captured some of Simone’s most committed Civil Rights-era material, including her explosive rendition of “Mississippi Goddam.”
Since her death in 2003, Simone’s influence, significance and cultural relevance has only gotten bigger, especially most recently as issues of race, police brutality and civil rights are once again at the forefront of the cultural conversation.
The feature documentary, “What Happened, Miss Simone?” — which won the 2016 Emmy for Outstanding Documentary — helped put the spotlight on Simone’s great talents and fearless activism, resulting in a new generation discovering her timeless music and indelible impact. Simone’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame serves as a great recognition of her influence and contributions to the world of music.