I Put a Spell on You
Nina Simone
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Buy *I Put a Spell on You: The Autobiography of Nina Simone* online

I Put a Spell on You: The Autobiography of Nina Simone
Nina Simone with Stephen Cleary
DaCapo Press
192 pages
August 2003
rated 3 of 5 possible stars

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Dubbed "the high priestess of soul," this recently departed diva's story brings you up close to a woman of color and creativity growing up in the segregated world of 1930s North Carolina. There is no separating Nina the performer and Nina the person, and here she talks about slavery, the travails of poverty, and her ultimate rise to fame as a pianist, beginning at age six, and most notably, as an accomplished singer.

She found her way into the circuit of bars and honky tonks and after working in these, as her mother called them, "fires of hell," she moved to New York, landed an agent and cut her first record titled "I Loves You, Porgy."

Nina's internal voice, as written here, is clear and high and powerful. She became a larger-than-life figure in the rights for black women and aligned herself with the protest movement of the 60s and 70s. This is a simply written yet deeply moving life sketch of a woman able to break through the insane barriers of skin color to become one of the original and most intriguing blues/folk/jazz singers the world has ever seen.

© 2004 by Steven Rosen for Curled Up With a Good Book

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