In a special edition of Bootie Samples, we decided to honor the great American singer, songwriter, pianist, and civil rights activist Nina Simone, but rather than select a handful of her songs we have focused on the resonating power of her all-time classic, Feeling Good.
Originally written by Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse, it is Simone’s 1965 rendition of Feeling Good that became the standard at which all artists, both past and present, have sought to equal. Her powerful voice rumbles through the iconic stanzas as if giving fans a glimpse into her troubled and genius mind, making for a heavily honest and rare piece of recorded music.
Many contemporary artists have covered the track including Ed Sheeran, Michael Buble, The Pussycat Dolls, and Muse, whose 2001 version was included on their album Origin of Symmetry. We’ve pulled together some of our favorite bootlegs, edits, and remixes inspired by Feeling Good from the last five years to show just how far-reaching Simone’s presence continues to travel, even across the most unlikely genres.
Nina Simone – Feeling Good
2015 | Tropical house | MÖWE – Birds Flying High (Original Mix)
MÖWE’s viral rendition of Feeling Good takes flight with iconic tropical house drum rolls laid snug alongside an uplifting melody. Simone’s vocals remain at the forefront but are elevated to new euphoric highs with the duo’s beachside appeal. Hear more from the pair here.
2014 | Bass / Funk | Marshall McGee – And I’m Feelin’ Good (Original Mix)
Boston producer Marshall McGee takes his version in a completely surprising bass-centric direction. He adds in bluesy guitar riffs and piano chords for an undeniable swagger, while a few selected syllables from Feeling Good embellish the track during calculated pauses. Had he not made his title a tribute to the original, fans may have missed the reference to the craftily nuanced samples entirely. Head to his SoundCloud for more tunes here.
2014 | Deep House | Lane 8 – How I Feel (Original Mix) [French Express]
French Express and Anjunadeep label mainstay Lane 8 creates a chugging house anthem and keeps Simone’s echoed vocals as the driving focus while simple piano chords drift in the background. This remix and his first couple productions were an early glimpse into a career of one of the most in-demand producers currently on the scene. Download it for free here.
2014 | Electro House | Solidisco feat. Nina Simone – Feeling Good (Original Mix)
Solidisco crafts a completely original soundscape for their rendition and credit Nina Simone as the featured vocal against their driving bassline and energetic brass effects. Synth chords that feel like a cross between French house and ‘80s pop are introduced at the interludes while Simone’s voice croons invitingly on top. Claim your free download of the track here.
2014 | Nu disco | Falcon Punch & Pixelated – Flying High (Original Mix)
Falcon Punch and Pixelated open by introducing a chopped-up vocal that is delivered as if Simone is humming in the background to prepare for the track’s bright and bouncing beat to kick in. It’s a groovy take on the original that distorts and loops her vocals as if they are another instrument altogether. Grab your free download here.
2013 | Indie Dance / Funk | FKJ – Unchained (Original Mix) [Roche Musique]
In addition to sampling vocal snippets from Feeling Good, Parisian musician FKJ opens his track with a recorded interview clip of a young Simone wishing for a life without fear, no doubt inspiration for the title, Unchained. Rather than take Simone’s entire vocal phrases, FKJ samples tiny clips and pitches the frequencies in various directions. Buy your copy here.
2010 | Electronica | Nina Simone – Feeling Good (Nicolas Jaar Edit)
To align with the dark and experimental tendencies found in his own remixes and productions, Nicolas Jaar offsets Simone’s vocals with piercing drones while a reverberating rhythm creates the somber tone. Like the original, Jaar keeps his version simple and filled with space, rather than layer in too many effects to clutter Simone’s vocals. You can grab this edit, along with five more Jaar edits, for free here.