Nina Simone: A musical legend well worth discovering during downtime
Written by Kate Morgan on June 8, 2020
With many of us stuck at home during COVID-19 lockdown, passing the day can be tough work. We all ought to try and find ways to stay busy, and what better way to stay busy than by listening to some awesome music?
That’s certainly the approach that quite a lot of people are taking to lockdown, and it’s easy to see why. At the moment, though, if you are running short of artists to listen to on Spotify or your chosen audio platform, you should take the time to listen to Nina Simone.
Simone, of course, will be a name that many classic music fans will know. Perhaps the biggest issue that Simone had is that, unlike other truly legendary artists, she never put together what you would call a ‘masterpiece’ – at least from a reputational point of view. A prolific producer of top songs, perhaps the main issue for Nina Simone – at least for music fans looking into artists of previous eras – is that her top songs often came on one album apiece.
However, if you were to take each of her top hits from her albums, you’d produce what would be one of the most listenable and diverse albums on shelves. Simone managed to product outstanding works in everything from jazz music to blues, folk to soul, rock to pop. She was someone who didn’t stick to one genre; she was incredible at them all.
When reviewing an artist, or discovering them, we often look for a major album to listen to. With Simone, such a suggestion can be tough. In truth, the best way to ‘get’ her might be to listen to something like a live album. This brings together a fantastic range of her top hits, avoiding being one singular genre or concept.
Something like her Mississippi Goddam performance at Carnegie Hall would be a fitting listen. As you spend your time in lockdown hunting down tremendous talents from generations in the past, you should definitely look to Nina Simone.
She might not have the grandiose ‘super album’ that some stars of her era did, but Simone has albums worth of top quality individual tracks. Give her the time during lockdown, and you might just find you’ve located an artist of truly ludicrous talent that it’s a shame isn’t more prolifically known.
Because once you have heard her music and once you have digested the sheer variety in her artistry, it becomes obvious that Nina Simone is a truly spectacular talent – someone who, in this day and age, could be the voice that gets you through lockdown. Try out her most famed live performances – you won’t be disappointed.