Nina Simone - born Eunice Kathleen Waymon on February 21, 1933, in Tryon, North Carolina - was a jazz diva extraordinaire. She was a woman of many talents - singer, pianist, arranger, and composer - who was just as well-known for her activism and her volatile personality. The sixth of eight children, Nina Simone began playing piano at the age of three, then went on to study classical piano, giving her first recital at 12. Subsequent rejections for music scholarships on what she believed to be racial grounds, hardened her political sensibility and laid the seeds of her involvement with civil rights issues. Playing Atlantic City bars, she adopted the name Nina Simone to avoid being chastised by her mother for playing the "devil's music”. Her first significant hit was “I Loves You Porgy” in 1958, followed by her debut album Little Girl Blue, which contained “My Baby Just Cares For Me," which became one of her signature songs. While commonly referred to as a jazz artist, she would add a mix of blues and soul into her repertoire. By the mid 1960s, albums like Pastel Blues (1965), Let It All Out (1965), High Priestess of Soul (1967) and Silk & Soul (1967) were charting in the R&B Top 40 while barely making a mark on the jazz chart. With her own songs that tackled racial inequality, Simone developed into a uniquely individual performer with little tolerance for music industry conventions. She left the US in 1970 and spent the next 33 years dealing with personal issues, sporadically recording, performing live, and relocating in several countries over the years. In her later years, there was a resurgence of interest in her music and she was acknowledged for her magnificent and influential body of work. Nina Simone died of breast cancer in Carry-le-Rouet, in the south of France, on April 21, 2003.