The late Nina Simone, the high priestess of soul music, was one of the most iconic musical voices of the twentieth century. She led a dual life for 30+ years of killing it and mastering form, and of personal, quiet suffering from undiagnosed bouts of bipolar and borderline personality disorders.
Fort Wayne’s own Christiana Danielle, recent Top Ten finisher on “The Voice,” loves and admires the indelible music and vulnerable spirit of Ms. Simone so much the songstress is dedicating the second half of her first solo show to her memory.
The Simone mini-tribute, including a Nina-inspired promo photo shoot, is just one example of Christiana Danielle showing her personality for her show to drop October 19 at the new Clyde Theatre, 1808 Bluffton Road, Fort Wayne, Indiana 46809.
This performance will be a SEATED concert, for those worried about standing for the 90-minute show, as is sometimes the case at the Clyde. A surprise-filled intermission will break up the all-ages show. Doors open at 7 P.M. for the 8.PM. concert; tickets are $20.
The singer and the social worker Danielle has deferred her graduate-level studies at Rutgers University -- in social work -- until next year to pursue this new-fledged singing career.
“Nina Simone struggled with mental health her whole life,” said Danielle, who will focus on black mental health when she returns to school. “I’m so happy that God has given me a platform to do both of the things I love, educating and empowering others.”
The first half of the show will be more upbeat, with show tunes, like the ones from The Voice. “I want the show to be entertaining but also moving and touching,” Danielle said. She’s all about vibe and feeling.
Danielle will be debuting a couple of original songs, one of which she will announce its immediate availability for purchase and download. She wrote her first song, “Resignation,” having adapted it from a longer spoken word piece from her undergrad years.
“I’m really excited to sing [it] in front of people because I haven’t yet,” Danielle said. “There will be more layers [of me] that you didn’t see on the show.”
There won’t be commercial breaks to spell her, no more comfortable three minute sets. She now has to learn how to pace and control that natural instinct to explode with excitement, evident when she talks about her musical independence.
“I have to figure out when to talk, and when to jam out,” Danielle said. Her voice will be challenged but she’s learning to conserve it. “Not many people who come off the show get a chance to do an entire show at such a great place and venue with an amazing community supporting them.”
“Voice” mentor Alicia Keys didn’t help her pick her band. And “that was so nerve-wracking,” she said because she didn’t know a lot of Fort Wayne musicians. She found her four-piece band members that meshed well; she met with her eventual musical director, Quentin Walker, because the two worked together before, “because he understood me [musically].” She is admittedly “very picky” about her band members (Quentin, Pat, Chandler, and Jonathan) “because I’m very expressive.”
And her luxurious hair, Danielle’s unofficial co-star because it was brought up all the time, has been cut, a spur of the moment decision and a shock to some. “I went in to get my ends clipped [originally],” she said. “I love black hair (I LOVE BLACK PEOPLE), but I felt I made it bigger than my craft. I am not my hair.”
All of her idols had short hair, Danielle said, like Erykah Badu and India Arie. Nina Simone had a short, pristine cut.
To purchase tickets, hit up the www.ClydeTheatre.com, call 800.514.3849 or in person at the Clyde box office, Wooden Nickel Records, Neat Neat Neat Records, and Sweetwater Sound.