Eunice Kathleen Waymon, known professionally as Nina Simone, was an American singer, songwriter, musician, arranger, and civil rights activist. Profoundly inspirational Nina Simone quotes will make you look at life differently and help you live a meaningful life.
If you’re searching for motivational quotes from musicians that perfectly capture what you’d like to say or just want to feel inspired yourself, browse through an amazing collection of quotes from Luke Bryan, powerful Lin-Manuel Miranda quotes and famous Layne Staley quotes.
Famous Nina Simone Quotes
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. – Nina Simone
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. – Nina Simone
It’s an artist’s duty to reflect the times in which we live. – Nina Simone
I tell you what freedom is to me: no fear. – Nina Simone
You have to learn to get up from the table when love is not being served. – Nina Simone
You can’t help it. An artist’s duty, as far as I’m concerned, is to reflect the times. – Nina Simone
I feel what they feel. And people who listen to me know that, and it makes them feel like they’re not alone. – Nina Simone
I was not reluctant to become a singer. Singing has been an activity I’ve done my whole life, without thought. – Nina Simone
I don’t like rap music at all. I don’t think it’s music. It’s just a beat and rapping. – Nina Simone
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. – Nina Simone
I have a cultured manner of speaking. – Nina Simone
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. – Nina Simone
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. – Nina Simone
Music is the center of my life. – Nina Simone
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. – Nina Simone
When a child is gifted, people try to help that child. – Nina Simone
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. – Nina Simone
That’s a very high goal to have, study eight hours a day to be a concert pianist. – Nina Simone
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. – Nina Simone
I think if I were over there in America, protest music would be more important. But I’m not going. – Nina Simone
Theory and harmony broadened my mind in music. I know what music is made of. – Nina Simone
My name sounds French but that’s just a stage name. – Nina Simone
I play piano, by ear. Yes, I write songs… and good ones. – Nina Simone
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. – Nina Simone
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. – Nina Simone
I’m a nut for Bach as a composer. – Nina Simone
I can read and arrange, but I can’t write. – Nina Simone
I had heard blues and jazz all my life but I was never aware that it was associated with nightclubs and drinking. – Nina Simone
When I choose material for an album all these songs I grew up with pour into my head. – Nina Simone
If I get an idea I put it on tape and somebody else writes it out. – Nina Simone
From the beginning, it has been a no-no for a black man to touch a white woman. – Nina Simone
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. – Nina Simone
I’m just human, I have faults like anyone – Nina Simone
I’m a real rebel with a cause. – Nina Simone
How can you be an artist and not reflect the times? – Nina Simone
What is love but a prelude to sorrow…with heartache ahead for your goal. – Nina Simone
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 – Nina Simone
I was always a politician from the day the civil rights people chose me as their protest singer. – Nina Simone
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. – Nina Simone
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. – Nina Simone
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. – Nina Simone
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. – Nina Simone
Inspirational Nina Simone Quotes
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. – Nina Simone
Many times I feel different like a different person. – Nina Simone
Everything that happened to me as a child involved music. It was part of everyday life, as automatic as breathing. – Nina Simone
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. – Nina Simone
Desegregation is a joke. – Nina Simone
It’s a good time for black people to be alive. – Nina Simone
Funk, gospel, blues is all out of slavery times, out of depression, out of sorrow. – Nina Simone
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. – Nina Simone
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. – Nina Simone
Tomorrow, I might be in a different mood and you wouldn’t recognize my voice. – Nina Simone
It was always Marx, Lenin, and revolution – real girl’s talk. – Nina Simone
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. – Nina Simone
What kept me sane was knowing that things would change, and it was a question of keeping myself together until they did. – Nina Simone
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 – Nina Simone
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? – Nina Simone
This is the world you have made yourself, now you have to live in it. – Nina Simone
Talent is a burden not a joy. I am not of this planet. I do not come from you. I am not like you. – Nina Simone
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. – Nina Simone
It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day…and I’m feeling good. – Nina Simone
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 – Nina Simone
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. – Nina Simone
Jazz is not just music, it’s a way of life, it’s a way of being, a way of thinking. – Nina Simone
Slavery has never been abolished from America’s way of thinking. – Nina Simone
I know I’m different, but I don’t think about it. – Nina Simone
I feel more alive now than I ever have in my life. I have a chance to live, as I’ve dreamed. – Nina Simone
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 – Nina Simone
Deep Nina Simone Quotes on Freedom, Beauty, Love and Life
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. – Nina Simone
You don’t have to live next to me / Just give me my equality. – Nina Simone
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. – Nina Simone
To be young, gifted and black! – Nina Simone
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. – Nina Simone
I try to swim every damn day I can, and I’ve learned to scuba dive and snorkel. – Nina Simone
To most white people, jazz means black and jazz means dirt, and that’s not what I play. I play black classical music. – Nina Simone
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. – Nina Simone
Jazz is a white term to define black people. My music is black classical music. – Nina Simone
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. – Nina Simone
Greed has driven the world crazy. And I think I’m lucky that I have a place over here that I can call home. – Nina Simone
I had a very intensive love affair from 1994 to 1995. It was like a volcano, so I don’t want that anymore for a while. – Nina Simone
You know, I am a doctor of music. – Nina Simone
Every person I ever met who heard her sing could remember what they wore and what she wore (on that occasion). – Nina Simone
Before she died we were able to laugh and chuckle about a lot of things. – Nina Simone
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. – Nina Simone
I look forward to doing my own show, not someone else’s. That’s always been my dream. – Nina Simone
I would like you to know, I am a doctor of music. – Nina Simone
I don’t like to go to strange places. I was in Italy for about five hours on my way to Africa. – Nina Simone
Music is a gift and a burden I’ve had since I can remember who I was. – Nina Simone
I demand perfection in what I do, and I practice very hard before I give a concert-sometimes three to six hours a day. – Nina Simone
I don’t like drug addicts and she sounds like a cat. – Nina Simone
The allusion was that I was actually naked. I loved that. It always, kind of shocked people enough that they became mine immediately. – Nina Simone
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. – Nina Simone
Music has been a burden and a joy for as long as I can remember. – Nina Simone
Every day has its emotional difficulties. I miss my mother whether I’m singing her music or not. – Nina Simone
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? – Nina Simone
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. – Nina Simone
I’m sorry that I did not become the world’s first black classic pianist. I think I would have been happier. – Nina Simone
There’s no excuse for the young. – Nina Simone
Nina Simone Quotes On Success In Life
- To me, we are the most beautiful creatures in the whole world. Black people. And I mean that in every sense.
- I’ll tell you what freedom is to me: no fear. I mean really, no fear!
- Did you know that the human voice is the only pure instrument? That it has notes no other instrument has? It’s like being between the keys of a piano. The notes are there, you can sing them, but they can’t be found on any instrument. That’s like me. I live in between this. I live in both worlds, the black and white world.
- My daughter is in more competition with me. I never wanted to be bigger than my mother or to challenge her.
- 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.
- I came to expect despair every time I set foot in my own country, and I was never disappointed.
- 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.
- All the time, there was the weight of my community’s expectations on my shoulders.
- 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.
- Having as little to do with human beings as possible – in some weird way, I’m at peace.
- To move the audience to make them conscious of what has been done to my people around the world.
- You don’t know what it’s like to love somebody the way I love you.
- 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.
- Lilac wine is sweet and heady, like my love, Lilac wine, I feel unsteady, like my love…
- 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.