The public initially learned of Simone through her relationship with the Golden Globe winner after they were spotted at LAX in 2015, though they kept their romance private. Now, as the California native is elevating personally, she believes it’s time to introduce her enlightened self, whom she calls “sahn,” to the world.
“sahn is not so much an alter ego. Sometimes I want to describe her like that, but she’s more just the version of myself I am constantly aspiring to be,” the California State Polytechnic University graduate said in an interview with Vibe.
“She’s Simone, elevated. Simone without the ego. I’m always striving to just respond in a space that is that higher version of yourself. She represents who I am when I am at my best. She’s always growing, always a point I can reach up to,” she added.
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She met Boseman at a James Brown tribute concert ahead of the Godfather of Soul’s 2014 biopic, Get On Up. And the “rest was history,” reported Vibe. He proposed to Simone in October 2019 and they wed shortly after; the following year, Boseman died after privately battling colon cancer for four years.
Simone has been writing songs ever since she was a young girl, and her love for music was so deep that she earned a bachelor’s degree in industry music studies. Mourning the loss of her soulmate, she naturally turned to what she knew best: writing poetry and music. Inspired by “the example that he set in his relationship to the work, and his relationship with people that he worked with,” she honed in on her craft as a way to cope during the grieving process.
Though the song “wake up, my love,” a lullaby that was penned not long after Boseman’s passing about pushing through sorrow. Simone did not want her project to be perceived solely as art from a grieving widow, so she selected “angelsxdemons,” which talks about the duality of having good and bad traits, as the lead single for the 9-track compilation.
“Any artist’s work is about the experiences that they have had, but myself as an artist is not encapsulated in grief. I have more to say, and I have more to contribute to more conversations than solely about the grieving process and loss,” she said.
She continued, “I just got to a point where I had to acknowledge what was keeping me from really pursuing music in a real way. I think at the base of that was fear, which is what I think keeps a lot of artists from pursuing their work and reaching their full potential — fear of failure.”
While processing her new life without Boseman, Simone kept busy by learning to play the guitar. Although creating music wasn’t on her radar at the time, she eventually felt compelled and called to do so.
“I was also taking guitar lessons at that time, just trying to fill my day and fill my brain up with things. I had this progression that I was just playing with, trying to get my fingers comfortable, and it just turned into this song,” she said. “[The album] wasn’t something that I had a goal of doing immediately. It just started happening and I felt really keenly aware of what I felt like God was telling me to do.”
She hopes that anyone who listens to the mornings will recognize her healing journey and unlock the value and power that comes with being transparent about what they feel.
“There’s a couple of lessons in there. Being vulnerable is okay, and you should do it — not only for yourself as a method to understand your own emotions [but for others]. [Also] call yourself on your s**t. That is part of being vulnerable too,” she said.
As she moves forward, Simone is dedicated to utilizing the ways he impacted her life to continue living to the fullest.
“He changed my life. Knowing him and loving him changed my life. Losing him changed my life. I think that sahn is how I move forward, how I forge a path that is my own. This is how I now take the influence of someone else’s legacy because I don’t think that I am his legacy,” she said.
She added, “His legacy is so much bigger than me. His legacy is in millions of people that were impacted by him. I could never encompass all of that. He’s just bigger than that. I think that what I’m trying to do is create my own legacy, which is my work. His legacy is his work. My legacy is mine. Taking everything that I learned and how I was influenced by his legacy is how I’m able to move forward and to continue to carry his spirit with me in my own work.”
Check out the music video for “angelsxdemons” below!