*The last time we published part of our conversation with Simone, daughter of the late Nina Simone, she addressed a commonly held belief in the media that her mother was a drug addict.
This was made doubly upsetting for Simone when she read quotes from the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul, Mary J. Blige, who reiterated this belief when asked how she and Nina Simone compared to one another while discussing her role in an upcoming film about the late entertainer/activist.
This sparked a tiny bit of controversy as readers of EURweb.com emailed us defending Simone’s memory of her mother, and Mary J. Blige as well. This time around it’s not about any of that. It’s only about the beautiful singing voice of Simone herself.
As mentioned in that article, Simone has recorded her mother’s song “Four Women,” alongside Ledisi, Laura Izabora and featuring the vocals of Nina Simone herself. She’s also working on a follow up to the largely slept on classic jazz offering “Simone on Simone.” Here, she talks about recording her mother’s work.
“My mom wrote (‘Four Women’) back in the 60s, and she sang it alone,” Simone told EURweb’s Lee Bailey. “One of the concepts that was presented as this song came up as a possibility for the movie, was why don’t we get four separate women? But they didn’t know that I had been doing that concept for about four years already. Their idea was to bring in other things so that each of us could be one of the four women. Ledisi, Izabora, myself and Mommy is actually bringing us on home.”
Those that are fans of the works of Nina Simone know of “Four Women.” Though she wrote it for herself, the song lends itself to four women in almost a theatrical way.
“The first time I ever did it was at Carnegie Hall with Odetta, God rest her soul, Tracey Chapman, Liz Wright and myself, that was in 2004,” said Simone. “Last year I went out with Diane Reed, Liz Wright, and Angelique Kodjoe. We closed the show with that song. This spring it was Patti Austin, because Angelique couldn’t make it.
“There are four of us characters, I guess. We’re performing the song along with Mommy. The song is about four women, each of them looks differently,” she continued. “Each verse is about how their hair is different, their skin is different, their background is different. It’s made for four different characters to do it. I’m like ‘Wow Mommy, get down! You didn’t realize that when you were writing it, but it’s perfect!'”
While the song is the perfect selection for four women to sing on the soundtrack, Simone says she knows she wasn’t one of those four women from the beginning. But she has an idea of how they came to around.
“I administer my mother’s estate so they actually came to me for synchronization and that’s how it all got started,” the singer told EURweb.com “I can only tell you what I heard through the background because their initial conversation was not with me. The record label was like ‘Hey, why don’t we get four different women to do this song?’ And my manager was like ‘Dude, Simone has been doing this for 5 years!'”
And you all know the rest. The soundtrack for “For Colored Girls” is slated for release November 2nd and features selections from Lalah Hathaway, Estelle, Janelle Monae, Gladys Knight, Leona Lewis and Simone, of course in addition to many others. Besides appearing on the soundtrack Simone has been working to bring her own CD out as well.
“I am currently working on my second CD and I am very, very pleased with the direction we are going in,” she told us. “I would describe my debut as your classic jazz from back in the day. It was my way of paying homage to my mother and most of those arrangements were with an actual big band. A lot of them were my favorite songs. Unlike a lot of people I know in the industry, I’ve turned around and embraced who I am and where I come from and give my mother a bow … because she’s the one who went before me. So after having done that, now I can finally get to myself and what I want to do … my own message. The project I’m doing right now is a little different than ‘Simone on Simone,’ but it’s still classical. My heart is in folk and blues, R&B and church, but the more I immerse myself within the business of the music industry I realized that everything is kind of strategic. Once you get your foot in the door and reach certain levels you get to do anything you want. Right now, I don’t want to be just another R&B sister that’s out there singing. I don’t want to be compared to a lot of the famous, successful singers that are out there right now.”
For more on Simone, visit her website: www.simonesworld.com.
Watch Simon’e Electronic Press Kit (EPK):