“I’ll tell you what freedom is to me – no fear!” The boldness behind Miss Simone’s statement, in her rich velvet tone, is irrefutable! It’s a similar vibe you may get when you hear her contralto vocals draped over jazzy classical instrumentation. Throughout the twentieth century, Nina Simone has been recognized as an iconic singer/songwriter, pianist, activist and griot with a fearless soul. Her ability to tell it like it is with her leathery vocal style and dexterity with the piano has made her music timeless and uniquely one of a kind.

The influence of the soul singer continues to be evident in retail stores today! Whether it’s an original composition, cover, sample or remix version of Nina Simone’s music, her songs still resonate with many. Lauryn Hill, Common, Talib Kwali, and Flying Lotus are some artists many may be familiar with who have sampled or covered her music. Prior to being a Music Designer, I personally used a remixed version of Miss Simone’s “Feeling Good” (Bassnectar Remix) as an intro when I hosted and produced my own university radio show; my audience was young females who embraced freedom and change.  At Mood Media, Music Designers have actually programed Nina Simone or music influenced by her style, for many of our clients. Cosmetic stores, restaurants, hotels, casinos, and spas have costumers who identify with her music.  The following are a few retailers that incorporate Nina Simone’s music as a part of their music by design.

Retailers: Department stores, prescription eyewear, bridal wear, home essentials, art & crafts stores, convention centers, furniture manufacturers, cupcake bakeries, family restaurants, pizzerias, hotels and resorts

“Feeling Good” (Original)

Retailers: Coffee and doughnut companies, pancake houses, hotels, fast food chains, Thai restaurants, healthcare systems, spas, tapas bars, bistro restaurants, tea cafes, luxury hotels, steakhouses

“Gimme Some” (Mike Magini Remix)


Retailers: Musical instrument centers, surf and skate brands, sporting goods, furniture chains, brand-name urban wear, boutique hotels, health and fitness clubs, tanning salons, celebrity radio podcasts

“Blood On The Leaves” Instrumental (Sample by Kanye West)

Needless to say, Nina Simone was a woman who lived without boundaries. Her legacy of empowerment and embracing one’s soul continues to live on through her personal work, sampling and renewal of her magnificent artistry. I think we should all take note from the soultress and strive to live a life of liberty, passion and love.

“To Be Free”

– Submitted by Civonne Ray, Music Design