I have always felt a kindred spirit to Nina Simone. I certainly owe a great deal to her inspiration. She began with a love of classical piano, just like me, and followed that passion to become one of the most important voices in American music and in American history.
There are so many things to admire about Nina but I think the thing that stands out the most to me is her courage. As an artist, she bravely tackled so many musical styles jazz, blues, folk, R&B, gospel, and pop, and did so at a time when women, especially black women, were told to keep silent.
The strength Nina found in music was only trumped by the strength she had as a pioneer and champion of the civil rights movement. She is an extremely special woman! One who I turn to time and time again as an example of breaking boundaries. – Alicia Keys