Lisa Simone (b. 1962) is now following her mom’s footsteps by playing in the famous Olympia Hall in Paris this Thursday. It is kind of France’s Carnegie Hall for popular music. All the greats have performed there, including Umm Kulthum, Yves Montand, Dalida, Edith Piaf, Marlene Dietrich, Miles Davis, Jimi Hendrix, the Beatles…and the late Nina Simone, who retired and later died in France in 2003.
When I interviewed Nina on Morning Becomes Eclectic back in the day, Nina talked about her daughter Lisa, who was then in the Air Force. I had the sense that she missed her daughter; Nina in many ways felt her life has hampered by being in show business, and that she hadn’t spent enough time with her daughter. Lisa, for her part, had a difficult childhood with her fiery, tempestuous diva mom; at fourteen she ran away from home and even contemplated suicide. Nina and her husband Andy Stroud had a difficult relationship and often fought bitterly. Nina once told me that when she sang the classic song “Someone to Watch Over Me”, she was thinking about Lisa’s father: Nina married an ex-cop for protection, from others, showbiz weasels, and from herself as well. It didn’t work out that way. The discord between Nina and Andy traumatized the young Lisa Simone Stroud. Both of the recent Nina film documentaries–The Amazing Nina Simone and What Happened Miss Simone–explore their difficult family life.
While she clearly inherited some of Nina’s genius DNA, Lisa found her own path to success and stardom, unmolested by the demons that tormented her mom. She never felt like the classical artist manqué like her more famous mother. At 53, she has found her own niche and follows her mom to the legendary Olympia in Paris, performing this Thursday.
For the Paris-based fans, tickets are available here.
Here is her mom Nina performing at the Olympia in 1968:
And here is Lisa performing in the big summer festival in Marciac, France last summer. She really locks it down!
As you can see and hear, Lisa has power, strength, tons of talent, and plenty of attitude.