Quotes by Nina Simone

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Music is a gift and a burden I've had since I can remember who I was. more...

Jazz is not just music, it's a way of life, it's a way of being, a way of thinking. more...

I demand perfection in what I do, and I practice very hard before I give a concert-sometimes three to six hours a day. more...

I feel what they feel. And people who listen to me know that, and it makes them feel like they're not alone. more...

It was always Marx, Lenin, and revolution - real girl's talk. more...

I'm just human, I have faults like anyone more...

Life is short. People are not easy to know. They're not easy to know, so if you don't tell them how you feel, you're not going to get anywhere, I feel. more...

How can you be an artist and not reflect the times? more...

Music has been a burden and a joy for as long as I can remember. more...

You have to learn to get up from the table when love is not being served. more...

I tell you what freedom is to me: no fear. more...

Jazz is not just music, it's a way of life, it's a way of being, a way of thinking. . . . the new inventive phrases we make up to describe things - all that to me is jazz just as much as the music we play. more...

I don't like drug addicts and she sounds like a cat. more...

I was always a politician from the day the civil rights people chose me as their protest singer. more...

Talent is a burden not a joy. I am not of this planet. I do not come from you. I am not like you. more...

Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood," a song that was written for Simone, she confronted the band's lead singer, Eric Burdon. "So you're the honky," she said, "who stole my song and got a hit out of it? more...

How do you explain what it feels like to get on the stage and make poetry that you know sinks into the hearts and souls of people who are unable to express it more...

I do not believe in mixing of the races. You can quote me. I don't believe in it, and I never have. I've never changed. I've never changed my hair. I've never changed my color, I have always been proud of myself, and my fans are proud of me for remaining the way I've always been. I married a white man one time, but he was a creep more...

I made wine from the lilac tree/Put my heart in its recipe/It makes me see what I want to see/And be what I want to be more...

There's no excuse for the young... more...

Everything that happened to me as a child involved music. It was part of everyday life, as automatic as breathing. more...

To be young, gifted and black! more...

That is why we fly from the inner void, since God might steal into it. It is not the pursuit of pleasure and the aversion for effort which causes sin, but fear of God. We know that we cannot see him face to face without dying, and we do not want to die. more...

You've got to learn to leave the table When love's no longer being served". more...

You can't help it. An artist's duty, as far as I'm concerned, is to reflect the times. more...

I only knew classical music, which to me was the only true music. The only way I could survive at the bar was to mix the classical music with popular songs, and that meant I had to sing. What happened was that I discovered I had a voice plus the talent to mix classical music together with more popular songs, which at the time I detested. more...

I would like you to know, I am a doctor of music. more...

Birds flying high you know how I feel Sun in the sky you know how I feel Breeze driftin' on by you know how I feel And this old world is a new world And a bold world For me And I'm feeling good I'm feeling good more...

My job is not done. I address my songs now to the third world. I am popular all over Asia and Africa and the Middle East, not to speak of South Africa, where I'm trying to go to see Nelson Mandela. more...

My love is like the wind and wild is the wind. Give me more than one caress, satisfy my hungriness. Let the wind blow through your heart for wild is the wind. more...

What is love but a prelude to sorrow...with heartache ahead for your goal. more...

It's a new dawn, it's a new day...and I'm feeling good. more...

This is the world you have made yourself, now you have to live in it. more...

What kept me sane was knowing that things would change, and it was a question of keeping myself together until they did. more...

I feel more alive now than I ever have in my life. I have a chance to live, as I've dreamed. more...

I'm sorry that I did not become the world's first black classic pianist. I think I would have been happier. more...

The allusion was that I was actually naked. I loved that. It always, kind of shocked people enough that they became mine immediately. more...

Since I was three I've been playing the piano. I've been onstage. more...

It's a good time for black people to be alive. more...

I don't like to go to strange places. I was in Italy for about five hours on my way to Africa. more...

I don't like to go to strange places. more...

Since I was three I've been playing the piano. I've been onstage. My mother is an Evangelist and I used to play the piano at her revival meetings. more...

I believe the time will come when the whole definition of pop music will change. It will get to the point where a song will not be a good song until it has a high level of creativity in writing and performance. In other words, in order to be popular, songs will have to meet these high standards. more...

It is difficult to retain your standards with the pressure of trying to make money, which always has its rules...It's hard to walk the tightrope of doing what you think is your best and making money at it. more...

The pressure of show business is on all the time and show business is a fickle business. Whatever is popular now - that's all that counts. I have to constantly re-identify myself to myself, reactivate my own standards, my own convictions about what I'm doing and why. more...

The Beatles are lucky, very lucky. But what has happened to them has nothing to do with them, in a sense. They came along at the right time. Attention was focused on them. They've had the chance to grow in almost any direction they wanted. Very lucky. They are not exceptionally talented. more...

It doesn't matter to me what is going on today because my music encompasses every kind of mood that exists in human beings. That's my stick. more...

There are all kinds of things that can be done. You can change rhythms, you can change chords, you can change whole concepts. But it will only work, on a record or in a performance, if you can make the people buy it. more...

As far as piano players are concerned, Oscar Peterson is my very favorite. I also like McCoy Tyner. I think that the big jazz stars, both now and in the past...how shall I say it? These guys are as great as Bach, Beethoven; all of them. People don't know it yet. If jazz survives and is put on a pedestal as an art form, the same as classical music has been through the years, a hundred years from now the kids will know who they were, with that kind of respect. more...

Music is an art and art has its own rules. And one of them is that you must pay more attention to it than anything else in the world, if you are going to be true to yourself. And if you don't do it - and you are an artist - it punishes you. more...

We have ordered things so long in a certain way, we are numb. Nobody dares question it. This is what is wrong, symbolically, with America. more...

Music is one of the ways by which you can know everything which is going on in the world. You can feel... through music... Whew... you can feel the vibrations of everybody in the world at any given moment. more...

Through music you can become sad, joyful, loving, you can learn. You can learn mathematics, touch, pacing... Oh my God! Ooh... Wow... You can see colors through music. Anything! more...

Anything human can be felt through music, which means that there is no limit to the creating that can be done with music. You can take the same phrase from any song and cut it up so many different ways - it's infinite. It's like God... you know? more...

I do love to sing Jacques Brel songs, intensely. I get terribly excited, just by reading a couple of lines in any one of his songs. more...

I was reared in the church from the age of three. I've played piano since I was three. I performed at revivals and for my people around North Carolina for several years. People around town collected money to send me to school. more...

By the time I was eight I was taking classical piano lessons and I wanted to be a concert pianist. But that didn't work out. I graduated from high school and my formal education ended. more...

My name sounds French but that's just a stage name. more...

My singing, if you want to call it that is merely another medium of expression. Just an instrument I play. That's how I see my voice. more...

When I choose material for an album all these songs I grew up with pour into my head. more...

I know I'm different, but I don't think about it. more...

You can't be different if you look at it. Being gifted is different. I had that in my piano playing. I'm very thankful for that. I'm very aware of that. The style and what I fed is just me. I never worked at it. It just happened. more...

I had heard blues and jazz all my life but I was never aware that it was associated with nightclubs and drinking. more...

When a child is gifted, people try to help that child. more...

That's a very high goal to have, study eight hours a day to be a concert pianist. more...

As I got older though I wanted a life of my own. The classical training was very demanding and thorough. It was a very sheltered existence. Even though I heard blues and gospel on the radio sometimes, it was always back to the piano and study and give recitals. more...

I can read and arrange, but I can't write. more...

If I get an idea I put it on tape and somebody else writes it out. more...

Theory and harmony broadened my mind in music. I know what music is made of. more...

If I want to take a particular form of blues somewhere else I have the equipment to do it but I never even thought of it. more...

Funk, gospel, blues is all out of slavery times, out of depression, out of sorrow. more...

It's logical that people from bad times will reflect their feelings in their communication. Music is part of the communication. If you lived it, you can do it. more...

I have a cultured manner of speaking. more...

Tomorrow, I might be in a different mood and you wouldn't recognize my voice. more...

My people have very subtle slang, inflections and ways of saying things that has little to do with words. If you're from the same place, you'll feel the jargon and know exactly what's happening. Same with any neighborhood cat. What he sees and hears and feels and lives makes him what he is. That's what blues is. more...

I believe in racial memory too. I'm sure I've got ancient African blood in me that has something to do with what I am. more...

Many times I feel different like a different person. more...

I can't stand loud guitars that make me deaf. more...

Music is the center of my life. more...

I love to travel to hear different kinds of music. more...

I love the classics but there are many new ideas to be made into reality. I'd rather be concerned with my own thing. There are many masters of classical piano so I'll leave it to them. more...

I'm a nut for Bach as a composer. more...

I applied for a scholarship to Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. I knew I was good enough, but they turned me down. And it took me about six months to realize it was because I was black. I never really got over that jolt of racism at the time. more...

I was not reluctant to become a singer. Singing has been an activity I've done my whole life, without thought. more...

Every day has its emotional difficulties. I miss my mother whether I'm singing her music or not. more...

I play piano, by ear. Yes, I write songs... and good ones. more...

I look forward to doing my own show, not someone else's. That's always been my dream. more...

It's time to take a look at my failures and stop calling them successes. Now I can start working at something that can use me best. more...

Jazz is not just music, it's a way of life, it's a way of being, a way of thinking.... the new inventive phrases we make up to describe things - all that to me is jazz just as much as the music we play. more...

How do you explain what it feels like to get on the stage and make poetry that you know sinks into the hearts and souls of people who are unable to express it? more...

You don't have to live next to me / Just give me my equality. more...

I am particular about the seating of the audience - also about how much money they pay - but most of all where they are seated. If I am going to sing something intimate, who am I going to sing it to? more...

The worst thing about that kind of prejudice... is that while you feel hurt and angry and all the rest of it, it feeds you self-doubt. You start thinking, perhaps I am not good enough. more...

Slavery has never been abolished from America's way of thinking. more...

Jazz is a white term to define black people. My music is black classical music. more...

This may be a dream, but I'll say it anyway: I was supposed to be married last year, and I bought a gown. When I meet Nelson Mandela, I shall put on this gown and have the train of it removed and put aside, and kiss the ground that he walks on and then kiss his feet. more...

Greed has driven the world crazy. And I think I'm lucky that I have a place over here that I can call home. more...

There's no excuse for the young people not knowing who the heroes and heroines are or were. more...

I don't like rap music at all. I don't think it's music. It's just a beat and rapping. more...

I had spent many years pursuing excellence, because that is what classical music is all about... Now it was dedicated to freedom, and that was far more important. more...

Once I understood Bach's music, I wanted to be a concert pianist. Bach made me dedicate my life to music, and it was that teacher who introduced me to his world. more...

I would like a man now who is rich, and who can give me a boat - a sailboat. I want to own it and let him pay for it. My first love is the sea and water, not music. Music is second. more...

I think the rich will eventually have to cave in too, because the economic situation around the world is not gonna tolerate the United States being on top forever. more...

I'm a real rebel with a cause. more...

I think if I were over there in America, protest music would be more important. But I'm not going. more...

I think the rich are too rich and the poor are too poor. I don't think the black people are going to rise at all; I think most of them are going to die. more...

I try to swim every damn day I can, and I've learned to scuba dive and snorkel. more...

When I was studying... there weren't any black concert pianists. My choices were intuitive, and I had the technique to do it. People have heard my music and heard the classic in it, so I have become known as a black classical pianist. more...

To most white people, jazz means black and jazz means dirt, and that's not what I play. I play black classical music. more...

Desegregation is a joke. more...

From the beginning, it has been a no-no for a black man to touch a white woman. more...


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