80 Nina Simone Quotes from American Singer & Activist

Born Eunice Waymon in 1933, Nina Simone was a multifaceted musical maestro, combining gospel, blues, folk, pop and classical genres, making waves as a significant Civil Rights Movement figure.

Starting piano at six, Simone’s talents were nourished by her mother and benefactors, eventually leading her to Juilliard School and a budding career in music.

Though she faced racial prejudice and professional setbacks, her powerful voice and poignant songs, like “Mississippi Goddam” and “To Be Young, Gifted and Black”, became anthems of resistance and empowerment.


Simone’s legacy, acknowledged late, is celebrated today, influencing countless artists across diverse musical landscapes.

Let’s go through some of the top quotes by Nina Simone.

Nina Simone Quotes

I came to expect despair every time I set foot in my own country, and I was never disappointed. ~ Nina Simone.


I’m a real rebel with a cause. ~ Nina Simone.

I know I’m different, but I don’t think about it. ~ Nina Simone.


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

All the time, there was the weight of my community’s expectations on my shoulders. ~ Nina Simone.


I’m just human, I have faults like anyone. ~ Nina Simone.

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. ~ 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.

Empowering Nina Simone Quotes

To be young, gifted and black! ~ Nina Simone.


Desegregation is a joke. ~ Nina Simone.

Many times I feel different like a different person. ~ 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 tell you what freedom is to me: no fear. ~ 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.

Sometimes I sound like gravel, and sometimes I sound like coffee and cream. ~ 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 flirt all the time. I like men! I don’t think we can do without them. ~ Nina Simone.

You don’t know what it’s like to love somebody the way I love you. ~ Nina Simone.

Greed has driven the world crazy. ~ Nina Simone.

It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day…and I’m feeling good. ~ Nina Simone.


I wanna stay here with you forever. ~ Nina Simone, I Loves You, Porgy.

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.

Best Nina Simone Quotes

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.

Jazz is a white term to define black people. My music is black classical music. ~ Nina Simone.


Slavery has never been abolished from America’s way of thinking. ~ Nina Simone.

You get racism crossing the street; it’s in the very fabric of American society. ~ 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.

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.

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 drink much more that I ought to drink because it brings me back you. ~ Nina Simone.

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.

Famous Nina Simone Quotes

It’s an artist’s duty to reflect the times in which we live. ~ 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.

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 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.

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.

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.


Music is an art and art has its own rules. ~ 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.

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.

Powerful Nina Simone Quotes

Having as little to do with human beings as possible – in some weird way, I’m at peace. ~ 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.


You’ve got to learn to leave the table When love’s no longer being served. ~ 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.

It’s logical that people from bad times will reflect their feelings in their communication. Music is part of communication. If you lived it, you can do it. ~ Nina Simone.

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

I look forward to doing my own show, not someone else’s. That’s always been my dream. ~ Nina Simone.


When I’m on that stage, I assume honor. I assume compensation, and I should. ~ 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.

Great Nina Simone Quotes

If I get an idea I put it on tape and somebody else writes it out. ~ Nina Simone.

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! ~ 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.

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.


This is the world you have made yourself, now you have to live in it. ~ Nina Simone.

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

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.

Inspiring Nina Simone Quotes

My first love is the sea and water, not music. Music is second. ~ 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.

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.

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


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

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

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.


You don’t have to live next to me / Just give me my equality. ~ 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.

Inspirational Nina Simone Quotes

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.

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.


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

You can’t help it. An artist’s duty, as far as I’m concerned, is to reflect the times. ~ Nina Simone.

There’s no excuse for the young people not knowing who the heroes and heroines are or were. ~ Nina Simone.

It’s a good time for black people to be alive. ~ Nina Simone.

I didn’t get interested in music. It was a gift from God. ~ Nina Simone.

So these were the 80 quotes from Nina Simone.

If you like these quotes and sayings, then you can also read my other posts on Upton Sinclair quotes and Magda Gerber quotes.

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Chandan Negi
Chandan Negi

I’m the Founder of Internet Pillar - I love sharing quotes and motivational content to inspire and motivate people - #quotes #motivation #internetpillar