Andra Day Pays Tribute To Nina Simone With "Mississippi Goddam"
A true cultural touchstone, Nine Simone set a powerful example for a legion of artists who followed her. Armed with a hypnotic voice, prodigious piano talent and politically minded conviction, the High Priestess of Soul made her mark with powerful songs such as "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood," "To Be Young, Gifted And Black" and "See-Line Woman," among others.
GRAMMY-nominated singer/songwriter Andra Day, a voice to be reckoned with in her own right, is one of the many artists who fell under Simone's "spell."
"First of all, it started with her voice. I first heard 'I Put A Spell On You,'" says Day. "When I first heard her voice kind of creep through the radio, it was such a different sound. And her note choice was different, her phrasing was different. Between her and Billie Holiday, that was my introduction into jazz music."
Day paid tribute to Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Simone on "GRAMMY Salute To Music Legends," the Recording Academy's PBS special saluting the 2017 Special Merit Awards recipients. When it came to picking a song to honor Simone, Day's choice of song was an easy one.
"'Mississippi Goddam' … that's a song I regularly do in my set," says Day. "The reason that I choose that song always is because it was a fight song for Nina. It ended up being an incredible anthem. She really rebelled against people who advised her against doing music like that. She was willing to say what was important at the time to the detriment of her own career. To me, that's the definition of an artist."
Tune in to "GRAMMY Salute To Music Legends" on Oct. 13 from 9–11 p.m. on PBS.