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Eunice Kathleen Waymon, 21 February 1933, Tryon, North Carolina, USA, d. 21 April 2003, Carry-le-Rouet, Bouches-du-Rhône, France. An accomplished pianist as a child, Eunice Waymon made her public debut at the age of 10 in her native North Carolina. She later moved to Philadelphia and studied at New Yorks Juilliard School Of Music but left in 1954 after struggling to make headway in the tradition bound classical music world. Her rejection by the prestigious Curtis Institute was a crucial incident in the artists development, ruining her dreams of becoming a classical pianist and informing her passionate stance on racial injustice.
Waymon began working as a singer-pianist in the Midtown Bar and Grill in Atlantic City, taking her stage surname from the French actress Simone Signoret and Nina from nickname given to her by a boyfriend. Now known as Nina Simone, she secured a small fanbase for her club act of jazz,...