Nina Simone (/ˈniːnə sᵻˈmoʊn/; born Eunice Kathleen Waymon; February 21, 1933 – April 21, 2003) was an American singer, songwriter, pianist, arranger, and activist in the Civil Rights Movement. Simone employed a broad range of musical styles including classical, jazz, blues, folk, R&B, gospel, and pop.
Born in North Carolina, the sixth child of a preacher, Waymon aspired to be a concert pianist. With the help of a few supporters in her hometown of Tryon, North Carolina, she enrolled in the Juilliard School of Music in New York.
Waymon then applied for a scholarship to study at the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where she was denied despite a well-received audition. Waymon became fully convinced this rejection had been entirely due to her race, a statement that has been a matter of controversy. Years later, two days before her death, the Curtis Institute of Music bestowed on her an honorary degree.