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This profile was last updated on 8/26/03  and contains information from public web pages.

Lisa Simone Kelly

Wrong Lisa Simone Kelly?
 
Background

Employment History

Board Memberships and Affiliations

13 Total References
Web References
U-Daily News - STAGE
u.dailynews.com, 26 Aug 2003 [cached]
Lisa Simone Kelly
...
When Nina Simone died earlier this year, the name of her daughter, Lisa Simone Kelly, was mentioned only in passing -- if at all.
...
This although Kelly, Simone's only child, was starring at the time in "Aida," ' one of the most popular shows on Broadway.
...
But at 41, Kelly is ready to claim the spotlight.Earlier this summer, she wrapped up two years of playing the title role in "Aida."' Now she's determined to make a name for herself while promoting the legacy of her mother.
She is starting the Nina Simone Foundation, a nonprofit group designed to preserve and celebrate her mother's music, social causes and legacy.An all-star concert tribute is planned for next year.And Kelly, a married mother of two children, is preparing to tour with her own band until she lands a record contract.
"It" s time for people to know who I am, what I can do, and where I come from, and there's no better way for them to realize that than by watching me perform," Kelly says.
"I always told my mother she was the gateway.I just didn" t realize how prophetic that was.The moment I found out that she died, I stepped through the gateway."
...
Simone and her daughter don't look particularly alike -- Kelly, tall and lanky, has more angular features than her mother's.
...
Singing came naturally to Kelly: "I was in her womb when she was playing music, so it" s always been like breathing for me." Growing up in a Simone household meant she often sang along to her mother's songs, and famous musicians like Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Miriam Makeba dropped by the house.
But if Kelly's early childhood was marked by excitement and glamour, upheaval characterized much of her adolescence.Her parents divorced when she was 8, and Simone often left Kelly in the care of family or friends while she toured the globe.In addition, they moved often, living in varied locales from Liberia to Switzerland.
Kelly remembers one year when she went from attending an exclusive boarding school in Europe to a New York public school.
"That was culture shock!"' she laughs."But hey, I managed."'
Her relationship with her mother, a mercurial figure known for her temperamental ways, was difficult and sometimes strained.Kelly says her mother was often angered by the racism, sexism and other struggles she endured as an entertainer.
"She had a lot of sadness in her life, a lot of disappointment in her life," ' she says, then adds with a laugh: "She was a sweet person.Under different circumstances, we would have been great friends."'
...
Kelly would eventually land a gig as the lead singer for the fusion-jazz band Liquid Soul, and sang on their 2000 Grammy-nominated album "Here" s the Deal."That led to a role in the touring group of the musical "Rent" ' and the touring version of "Aida."' She took over the Broadway role when Tony-winner Heather Headley departed.
Kelly was performing in "Aida" ' the last time she saw her mother, who was frail but still made the performance.
During that visit, "she told me she" d be around for a long time," Kelly said.
Although the pair sometimes had a rocky relationship, Kelly says the two were close: "She always knew that I loved her, and she always knew that I was there, no matter what.
...
Meanwhile, Kelly may have to wait a while for her own star to rise -- but that's O.K.
"You can feel free to say I" m Nina Simone's daughter, because that's who I am," she says.
UnityFirst.com
www.unityfirst.com, 17 May 2006 [cached]
Ghana (WCIG) Lisa Simone Kelly (Nina Simone's Daughter)
L'hommage: Nina Simone | Forum | View topic - Nina Simone Cultural Village (NSCV)
www.high-priestess.com, 30 Jan 2007 [cached]
"The dedication of this land on behalf of the Foundation is a major stepping-stone in achieving a dream that my mother fought so hard for throughout her life," states Lisa Simone Kelly, Nina Simone's daughter and sole heir.
GoErie.com/Erie Times-News Showcase
www.timesnews.com, 25 Aug 2003 [cached]
NEW YORK - When Nina Simone died earlier this year, the name of her daughter, Lisa Simone Kelly, was mentioned only in passing - if at all.
This although Kelly, Simone's only child, was starring at the time in "Aida," one of the most popular shows on Broadway.But the singer-actress, who goes by the name Simone professionally, is used to living in her mother's shadow.
"Most people don't even know who I am, or that I exist," she said without a trace of bitterness.
But at 41, Kelly is ready to claim the spotlight.
Earlier this summer, she wrapped up two years of playing the title role in "Aida."Now she's determined to make a name for herself while promoting the legacy of her mother.
She is starting the Nina Simone Foundation, a nonprofit group designed to preserve and celebrate her mother's music, social causes and legacy.An all-star concert tribute is planned for 2004.And Kelly, a married mother of two children, is preparing to tour with her own band until she lands a record contract.
"It's time for people to know who I am, what I can do, and where I come from, and there's no better way for them to realize that than by watching me perform," Kelly says.
...
Simone and her daughter don't look particularly alike - Kelly, tall and lanky, has more angular features than her mother's.
...
Kelly remembers one year when she went from attending an exclusive boarding school in Europe to a New York public school.
"That was culture shock!"she laughs."But hey, I managed."
Her relationship with her mother, a mercurial figure known for her temperamental ways, was difficult and sometimes strained.Kelly says her mother was often angered by the racism, sexism and other struggles she endured as an entertainer.
"She had a lot of sadness in her life, a lot disappointment in her life," she says, then adds with a laugh: "She was a sweet person.Under different circumstances, we would have been great friends."
Simone didn't want Kelly to follow in her footsteps; she discouraged her teenage daughter when she started singing in a band.Yet she was dismayed when Kelly ditched her college plans and joined the Air Force.
"Everybody was extremely concerned and mortified," Kelly laughs.
She remained enlisted for over a decade.But her singing career was eventually restarted while she was stationed in Germany, singing along with a piano player in a bar.Her friend, impressed with her voice, recommended her as a background singer for another friend, and she began performing on a regular basis, eventually leaving the service to pursue singing full time.
She even took her mother's surname as her stage name, after some initial concerns.
"At the time, I was reticent about it, because Mommy and I weren't exactly seeing eye to eye, and I knew if I adopted the name professionally, it had to be for the right reasons," she says.
"(But) I realized no matter what's going on between she and I, that's my mom, it's part of my heritage, and so I have to carry on."
While Simone was initially displeased by her daughter's career path, she eventually grew to appreciate and admire her daughter's choice, even inviting her to sing in concert with her in 1999.
Kelly would eventually land a gig as the lead singer for the fusion-jazz band Liquid Soul, and sang on its 2000 Grammy-nominated album "Here's the Deal."That led to a role in the touring group of the musical "Rent" and the touring version of "Aida."She took over the Broadway role when Tony-winner Heather Headley departed.
Kelly was performing in "Aida" the last time she saw her mother, who was frail but still made the performance.
During that visit, "she told me she'd be around for a long time," Kelly said.
Although the pair sometimes had a rocky relationship, Kelly says the two were close: "She always knew that I loved her and she always knew that I was there, no matter what.I knew that she was there for me, too, no matter what."
Now, as she prepares to raise her own profile, she also wants to put more focus on the achievements of her mother, who she believes never received her proper due in life.
"I told her in the early '90s ...I said, 'I want to do a tribute to you, so you will know before you die how much people love you, and give them a chance to honor you and your music,'" she recalls.
The Nina Simone Foundation aims to fulfill that dream.Meanwhile, Kelly may have to wait a while for her own star to rise - but that's OK.
"You can feel free to say I'm Nina Simone's daughter, because that's who I am," she says.
UnityFirst.com
www.unityfirst.com, 17 May 2006 [cached]
"The dedication of this land on behalf of the Foundation is a major stepping-stone in achieving a dream that my mother fought so hard for throughout her life," states Lisa Simone Kelly, Nina Simone's daughter and sole heir.
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