· By Three Keys Roaster
If Nina Simone Roasted Coffee...
“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
If Nina roasted coffee… her roasts would be fearless and daring. They would reflect unapologetic creativity and passion yet always strive to make the next roast better than the previous.
From a childhood playing recitals and a summer spent training at Julliard, Nina Simone bridged her way from classical piano to jazz, blues, folk, and pop covers, seamlessly blending her vocal style and storytelling.
Nina’s first transformation was in the creation of her name– born Eunice Waymon, she adopted the name Nina Simone when she started playing in jazz clubs so that her mother wouldn’t find out what she was up to.
While Nina’s musical education was never focused on vocals, the manager of the jazz club where she was gigging informed her that she was expected to sing, and Nina underwent another great transformation. The Nina Simone, the legend, was born.
Eventually, as the civil rights movement and political climate of the 60s simmered and came to a full rolling boil, Nina’s beliefs started expressing themselves through her music. Her song “Mississippi Goddamn” became an anthem of the civil rights movement, and Nina can be seen in the 1970 documentary King: A Filmed Record... Montgomery to Memphis singing the song to a crowd of about forty thousand people at the end of the Selma to Montgomery marches.
In an era where few artists were willing to put their careers on the line for their beliefs, Nina’s decision to do just that is what solidified her place in the annals of history as a civil rights icon in addition to her musical genius.
Nina’s career spanned five decades, several continents, and demonstrated a commitment to knowing herself and fighting for a better world, one record at a time. An ethos we strive to learn from with every roast and every coffee we put out into the world.
This is the spellbinding nature of Three Keys Coffee... “I ain’t lyin.” Brew and enjoy.
(Photos courtesy of the Nina Simone official website. For a more in-depth look at the life of Nina Simone, I recommend this article from the New Yorker.)