The Nina Simone Database
Influenced by Nina

Marlon Riggs (interview by Chuck Kleinhans in Oakland CA in November 1989)
I love Billie Holliday and Nina Simone. I grew up with these songs. To use them means bringing up stuff from my past. I played those songs over and over as a kid and listened to them as my parents played them. That's partly why my own Nina Simone album is so scratched but I don't care if it's not perfect sounding. At age ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, I felt so lonely. Listening to this music kept me thinking that there must be something better than this. ...
The Nina Simone song was one I had always loved. I played over and over as a kid and teenager the way some people played Beatles' songs or the Fifth Dimension or the Temptations. I'd pick up the record and play it again and again: "Black is the color..." I'd listen to Simone's voice tremble, it'd get so soft and it was so filled with....I didn't know then why that song had such strong feeling and meaning for me. Now I look back and see obviously why. Her voice is androgenous and could almost play as a man's voice: "Black is the color of my true love's hair...his hands...his face"--it's obviously male gender here. That was before I knew I was gay and my response was not about a man talking about a woman. I had this sort of involuntary response to that song

Peter Gabriel (from The Book of Genesis)
The first album I had was the Beatles' first album. I can remember exactly where I was when I first heard "Love Me Do". There are probably ten records where I can recall the emotional excitement of hearing something which was new, earthy and gutsy. Like Nina Simone's "I Put a Spell on You", for example.
Tony Banks (found on Genesis)
Peter and I had been close friends for a long time, ever since we had been at school. He was less shy than me, but he was also quite shy. So whenever we could, we used to get around the piano, and Peter would try to sing. He wasn't much of a singer in those days, I tell you," Tony added with a smile," but we were having fun. There were certain songs that appealed to both of us, and I remember working out things on the piano like "Change Gonna Come" and "Try a Little Tenderness" by Otis Redding, and "I Put A Spell On You" by Nina Simone
John Lennon (from John Lennon and Yoko Ono Playboy Interview)
Take "Michelle." Paul and I were staying somewhere, and he walked in and hummed the first few bars, with the words, you know [sings verse of "Michelle"], and he says, "Where do I go from here?" I'd been listening to blues singer Nina Simone, who did something like "I love you!" in one of her songs and that made me think of the middle eight for "Michelle" [sings]: "I love you, I love you, I l-o-ove you . . . ."
Aretha Franklin (from liner notes of CD reissue of Aretha Franklin's Young, Gifted and Black)
The song "Young, Gifted and Black", inspired by renowned African-American author and poet Lorraine Hasberry's play of the same name, had been written by an artist whose musical contribution to the struggle for civil rights was of paramount importance, Nina Simone.
Jeff Buckley (from The Jeff Buckley FAQ)
Q: Whose version of "Lilac Wine" did you first hear?
A: I've only heard Nina Simone's. ... And that's the only one that matters. There's one by Ertha Kitt. There's one by Elkie Brooks, which I've never, ever heard. There's another one. But they've done it, but Nina does it best. That's the end all of it. That's the be all end all version. She's the king.
Q: Just wanted to get that straightened out.
A: Yeah, I'm glad. I'm glad you asked, because everybody thinks it's their country's version.
Q: I had heard it was Elkie Brooks' version.
A: Eccch. No. All I know about her is that she used to be in a band called Vinegar Joe.
Q: With Robert Palmer.
A: With Robert Palmer? Now anybody who's in a fucking hippie band with Vinegar Joe can not hold a candle to Nina Simone.
Richie Havens (from Richie Havens Biography)
At that point, Havens left Bedford-Stuyvesant behind for good - or so he thought - and sought out the artistic stimulation of Greenwich Village. "I first went there to perform poetry in the late '50s during the beatnik days. Then I drew portraits for about two years. I'd stay up all night listening to folk music in the clubs, but it took a while before I thought of picking up a guitar." Nina Simone had been a key vocal influence early on; Paul Stookey, Len Chandler, and Dino Valenti were among the folk singers who had an impact on Havens during this period.
Cat Stevens (from Cat Stevens - Matthew And Son)
Mike [Hurst, producer] decided to invest money in his prodigy [Cat Stevens], and on a sadly uninitiated day or days in the summer of 1966, sat behind a recording studio control panel as his 5ft 10in tall, Nina Simone-admiring discovery cut two self-penned titles on tape. "I Love My Dog" and "Portobello Road" were the results.
Janis Ian (from Janis Ian: Breaking Silence)
Growing up, one of my favorite albums was Nina Simone's "Wild is the Wind." There wasn't a bad song on it. There wasn't a bad vocal lick, there wasn't a bad piano note, there wasn't a bad arrangement. It was this wonderful blend of songs like "Four Women" that were instinct married to tremendous harnessing of her own talent and craft.
Tanita Tikaram (Barbara Jaeger, The Record [Bergen County, New Jersey ??], April 7, 1995)
"My last album contained a lot of my passions about my music," she said, referring to the collection that served as an homage to some of her favorite artists, including the Beatles, Phil Spector, Ry Cooder, and Nina Simone.
(from The best of Tanita Tikaram)
Throughout her time in the public eye, Tanita has been scrupulously generous in praising those artists who have inspired or infulenced her, among them Nina Simone, Jennifer Warnes, Dinah Washington and Mary Margaret O'Hara.
Elizabeth Frazer, Cocteau Twins (from Cocteau Twins Official Web Site)
Nina Simone...she's, she's just done so much. I don't know much about her life but that doesn't bother me, because I've learnt so much about her through her material. She's so vulnerable. And I can really relate to that. A lot of her songs are about being fallible. She's a really dysfunctional person. And dysfunctional people are attracted to each other. I guess that's why I am attracted to her. We both had a rough life. She's familiar.
I adore her versions of "Don't let me be misunderstood" and "Four Women". Perhaps because I'm having a sad day. And so my favorite song is Nina Simone's version of "Wild is the Wind." And I'll probably play it quite a lot today. Especially the live version; this live version I've got is just fucking, I don't know, I just haven't got the vocabulary. I mostly listen to Nina Simone when I am feeling really raw. The more raw I feel, the more I relate to her.
Sade (found on Sade)
Sade was born Helen Folesade Adu in Nigeria, the daughter of a Nigerian teacher and an English nurse. Her parents separated when she was four, and she moved with her mother to London's North End. In her teens, she worked a succession of part-time jobs from waitress to bike messenger, yet devoted all of her free time to music, inspired by the likes of Billie Holiday, Nina Simone, Marvin Gaye and Al Green.
Donovan (from The Donovan Scrapbook)
"But now it's down to just one man -- Mickie Most," he added. "And we're so attuned to each other that we know exactly where we're going. I think you will realize the results of my progress when you hear the "Sunshine Superman" LP. It consists of five or six different types of music all fused together. There's Nina Simone jazz, folk songs, children's fairy tales with classical accompaniment and R & B."
Beth Gibbons (Never mind the bollocks)
Perhaps if we met and talked I'd discover that we have some shared experiences but, no, Polly Harvey isn't a person I look at or listen to and say, 'yeah, that's me'. You've probably got a better idea of who she is and what she's about than I do because I'm not one to 'hang out' with other musicians and, apart from the odd scan through the news pages, I don't read the music press. I'm sure there's loads of great stuff around if you can be bothered to find it but I'm quite happy listening to my Nina Simone records.
Laura Nyro (found on Laura Nyro at the bottom line)
My jazz background put certain inflections in my writing and singing; when I was fifteen, I remember being heavily into Coltrane and singers like Sarah Vaughan and Nina Simone. Throw in all the poetry I read since I was a kid, and just being a woman, and that's what made my songs complex and emotionally rich.
Beth Waters (from Beth Waters)
"My influences are all over the map", she says, "I love Jazz, particularly Nina Simone, who has a low husky voice like mine."
Benjamin, Smoke (from Smoke)
He has a handful of heroes: Tracy Terrill (the reclusive songwriter also known as Cake), Debbey Richardson, Dana Kletter (Black Girls), Vic Chesnutt, and Nina Simone.
Heather Curtis (from Heather Curtis)
During high school in Orlando, Curtis worked in a record store, like so many young musicians do, using the store as a source for development of what was by then a very real musical passion. She discovered jazz, and studied up on the repertoires of Abbey Lincoln, Sarah Vaughn, and Nina Simone
Matthew Shipp (from Matthew Shipp)
I also remember seeing Nina Simone on TV one time, and it was really very scary; there was something eerie about it I liked. She can be eerie... she used to scare me, I was like nine or ten. But I don't remember a specific event or one album. It was always in the air and I just gravitated toward it naturally."
Blanchard (from Blanchard FAQ)
His tastes are a bit eccentric here, his favourite artists including Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Cannonball Adderley, Nina Simone and Aretha.
Fiona Apple (from Los Angeles Time, Nov. 3, 1996 and Dec. 16, 1996)
Though her voice has been compared more than once to that of jazz chanteuse Nina Simone, Apple says she's only heard two songs recorded by Simone--"and that was last year."
As the 19-year-old New Yorker sang with deep apparent knowledge and maturity and spun highly literate lyrics about broken promises and failed relationships, her sultry, jazzy voice boiled under with a powerful sensuality, hinting of such greats as Nina Simone and Janis Joplin.
Run On (from Run On Communique)
"Road" and "Sinnerman" which we learned from Nina Simone.