Valerie Simpson: Still Solid as a Rock
Posted on June 22, 2012 in Huffingtonpost.com

It wasn't romance from the start. For eight years Nick and Valerie shared a purely creative partnership, but their bond became too hard to deny. In 1974 they married. Life without her husband and best friend has been difficult for Simpson, but she is healing through music. Her favorite song off of Dinosaurs Are Coming Back Again, Love Never Dies, sums up her feelings on moving on, but never forgetting the past. No doubt she will rise to the occasion. As she confidently said, "I didn't know I was short, so I acted like I was tall."

You've talked about Nick's passing as just "one step at a time." What has been the most difficult part?

Just realizing that you had something that was so perfect. I was so fortunate to have someone who allowed me to be totally myself. He would say he didn't feel married. Even though we were together all the time, there was a great freedom in the relationship. Yet he was somebody who would hold my hand in the car. He was so romantic. A very romantic man. He was so good looking and just such a great guy. It really was kind of storybook. I didn't think about it at the time. I miss the companionship.

What has it been like performing without him?

I just reach out. In transition I think the spirit goes somewhere, but I don't think it leaves. I assume he would look after me for as long as I need. So, I know he is on my shoulder or in the wind that crosses my breath. I'm not afraid to reach out to that or speak to it.

Even though you two had been writing songs together, it took eight years before a romantic relationship began. When did you start to look at him in a different way?

It was at a function--one those dinners where they serve that chicken. Then they had a band playing. We danced on a slow dance. Even though I always called him my brother, suddenly he didn't seem like my brother! There was something different. Then we got in the limo, and he said, "Do you want to talk about this?" Then we took a walk in Central Park and fell into each other's arms.

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Valerie Simpson's 'Monstrous' Return To The Stage
Posted on May 23, 2012 in Manhattan Local Music Examiner

Valerie Simpson’s show at The Beacon Saturday night represented both a homecoming for the Bronx-born Simpson and a gathering of the tribe--not that the longtime East Side resident had gone anywhere, or that the tribe that had always followed her and late husband Nick Ashford had dispersed.

Indeed, both can still be found in full regalia every Thursday at Ashford & Simpson’s West Side Sugar Bar restaurant/nightclub, where crowds regularly gather for the renowned Thursday Night Open Mic shows that invariably feature Simpson as backup vocalist.

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