Ok, I admit it. I began to take an interest in the beautiful voice of Nina Simone after watching the movie “Point of no return”, where the main character, a young misfit drug addict, played by a wonderful Bridget Fonda, is chosen by the classic FBI divert cell to become a serial killer. During her hard training inside a bunker, the woman often seeks refuge in Simone’s songs, trying to forget herself and what she is slowly becoming.
Sixth of eight brothers and sisters, Nina Simone (stage-name for Eunice Kathleen Waymon) was born in North Carolina, living surrounded by a heavily racist atmosphere in the deep American South of the 1940s. She started her career as a pianist and singer, going through several clubs in New York, taking inspiration from Billie Holiday’s style.
After her first album in 1958, Jazz As Played In An Exclusive Side Street Club, Nina Simone focused on civil rights theme, recording, in 1963, some of the songs symbol of her political commitment, such as “Mississippi Goddam” and “Old Jim Crow”. Just during that period, she started supporting Malcolm X and Marthin Luther King’s struggle.
Wide-ranging artist, she soon became a Jazz music icon, even if her style was changeable, never fixed, swinging among different genres: soul, R&B, folk and gospel. Among her best-known songs, later become ads soundtracks, I remember “My Baby Just Cares For”, used by Chanel during a commercial in the 1980’s.
The song I propose to you is an old text from 1923, written by Jimmy Cox, entitled “Nobody Knows You When You’re Out and Down”, which Nina gives us a particularly intense version of. A cult piece, resumed and reinterpreted by many artists, such as Elton John, Janis Joplin, Eric Clapton and whose origin is somewhat mysterious (information about Jimmy Cox is actually unobtainable); the piece is a bitter image of life, making us reflect upon its waywardness, upon the unexpected events change. It’s so easy to fall down from a success golden age into the dark of solitude, almost without realizing it. Enjoy your song!!!