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Channeling essence of ‘High Priestess of Soul’ Nina Simone
Destiny Stone in musical ‘Nina Simone: Four Women’
Published Wednesday, January 23, 2019 11:00 am
by Ashley Mahoney | The Charlotte Post

Destiny Stone portrays the title character in “Nina Simone: Four Women,” which debuts Jan. 24 at Queens University of Charlotte.

Destiny Stone is not trying to be Nina Simone.

Stone portrays the High Priestess of Soul in the Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte production of Christina Ham’s “Nina Simone: Four Women” Jan. 24-Feb. 16 at Queens University of Charlotte’s Hadley Theater (2132 Radcliffe Ave.). Stone, a December graduate of Catawba College, who earned a popular music degree with a minor in worship arts, balances teaching music at Woodhill Elementary School in Gastonia, producing her own music and performing on stage. The Holly Springs, Mississippi native decided to stay in North Carolina to pursue her careers. She is releasing new music on Jan. 31.

“I worked hard to encapsulate [Simone’s] essence for my senior project in college,” said Stone on The Post’s podcast, The Creatives. “I wanted to do something different, and I asked my professor, ‘could I do a tribute to her?”

Stone’s project, which she performed at Simone’s home in Tryon, North Carolina and will perform in South Carolina during February for Black History Month, involved a great deal of study.

“I went through this weird, strange phase of, ‘how much should I try to be her?’” Stone said. “Should I try to talk like her? How far do I go?’ I had to realize I can’t be her. There was only one Nina Simone. There is never going to be another. I came to the place of, ‘how can I give you the essence of her?’”
“Four Women” director Chanel Blanchett described Stone’s audition as one that blew her away. Stone is cast alongside Erica Truesdale as Aunt Sarah, Krystal Gardner portraying Sephronia and Arlethia Friday playing Sweet Thing.

The biggest difference between Stone and Simone is that one did not wear glasses.

“I wear glasses, and I don’t wear contacts,” Stone said. “That’s been really fun, because Nina Simone [didn’t] wear glasses.”
Thankfully for Stone, she knows most of the music by heart.

“It doesn’t bother me that I can’t see the audience,” Stone said. “I couldn’t see them anyway with my glasses because of the lighting.”


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