Hear Lauryn Hill, Usher Interpret Nina Simone Classics
Three more tracks from the upcoming Nina Simone tribute album, Nina Revisited, find Lauryn Hill, Usher and Jazmine Sullivan putting unique spins on the jazz legend’s songs. Hill, who co-produced the compilation, transforms Simone’s vocal showstopper “Black Is the Color of My True Love’s Hair” from a pensive piano ballad into a lush tapestry of electronics, guitar and orchestra over which she channels the original’s heartache. Usher takes Simone’s upbeat, bouncy jazz standard “My Baby Just Cares for Me” and turns it into a modern-sounding, poppy R&B tune, though his soaring vocals harken back to Simone’s era. And Sullivan puts a harder-edged take on Simone’s reggae-inflected song “Baltimore.”
Nina Revisited: A Tribute to Nina Simone is due out July 10th, and, in addition to the newly released covers, features Simone songs by Mary J. Blige, Common, Alice Smith and Simone’s daughter, Lisa, among others. In addition to co-producing the comp, Hill contributed six tunes. Previously, she released her powerful, sultry take on “Feeling Good,” which is streaming here.
Lauryn Hill – “Black Is the Color of My True Love’s Hair”
“Because I fed on this music, both hers and lovers like her, like my basic food, I believed I always had a right to have a voice,” Hill said in a statement about her involvement in the release. “Her example is clearly a form of sustenance to a generation needing to find theirs. What a gift.”
The album comes shortly after the premiere of a new Liz Garbus–directed Netflix documentary, What Happened, Miss Simone?, which is set to premiere on June 26th. The film premiered earlier this month, along with a concert by Hill, at New York City’s historic Apollo Theater, where she sang “Black Is the Color of My True Love’s Hair,” for what Rolling Stone described as an “explosive” set. The film features archival footage and rare recordings, and recounts the singer’s life primarily through her own words.
Usher – “My Baby Just Cares for Me”
Jazmine Sullivan – “Baltimore”