Simone Johanna Maria Simons (born 17 January 1985) is a Dutch mezzo-soprano singer and the lead vocalist of symphonic metal band (band) Epica.
Early life and formationEditBorn on January 17, 1985, Simone's interest in music manifested itself at a very early age. Simone started playing flute for 2 years after joining music school at the age of 12. At the age of 14, she had one year of pop singing lessons, and at age 15, she switched to classical singing after listening to Nightwish's Oceanborn, which remains her favourite Nightwish album. At one point she was invited to join in a rehearsal for a black metal band; she joined it, although was a little afraid to sing. Simons sang in a choir for a few months, and later joined Epica.
Simons has a mezzo-soprano vocal range.
In early 2002, Mark Jansen left After Forever over creative differences. He then began looking for musicians who would work towards a more classical/symphonic type of music project; this was initially named “Sahara Dust”. In late 2002, the band courted Helena Michaelsen (from Trail of Tears) as its frontwoman, but shortly after she was replaced by the then unknown mezzo-soprano Simone Simons, who was Jansen’s girlfriend at the time
The band's line-up was completed by guitarist Ad Sluijter, drummer Jeroen Simons, bassist Yves Huts, and keyboard player Coen Janssen. The name was later changed to Epica, inspired by Kamelot’s eponymous album. Epica then assembled a choir (made up of two men and four women) and a string orchestra (three violins, two violas, two cellos and an upright bass) to play along with them. Still under the name Sahara Dust, they produced a two-song demo entitled Cry for the Moon in 2002. As a result, they were signed to Transmission Records.
Epica performs a blend of progressive metal, gothic metal and symphonic metal. Another component of Epica’s style is power metal; their former guitarist Ad Sluijter having described the band as “a bridge between power metal and gothic metal.” Vocalist Simone Simons has expressed a preference for the group to be described as symphonic metal though the founder of the group Mark Jansen notes that they do not mind being called gothic metal.
The music of Epica is aggressive, bombastic and excessive with some songs being “epic, grand and majestic” and others “more subdued and introspective.” The band is also known to have progressive tendencieswhile a gothic atmosphere and sentimentality is also present in their music.
In January 2008, it was announced on Epica's website that Simone was suffering from MRSA. This forced Epica to cancel many of their shows. In February, her condition improved, but she had not completely recovered. In March, Epica toured with Amanda Somerville, replacing Simons for their USA tour until May 11, 2008, when Simone performed again at their show in Bibelot, Dordrecht.
Being asked about her beauty as one of the factors that attracts attention to Epica, Simone said: "First of all the most important is the sound of the band, because beauty will fade one day, and I hope my voice won't [Laughs]... But, yeah, you have two aspects of the band - the music (the CD's) and then the live side of it (the show), and part of the show is also that it has to look nice, so I take good care of myself, I make sure that the fans have something to look at during the show.".
Among her inspirations, Simons cited metal bands such as Lacuna Coil, Nightwish, Tristania, Kamelot, Within Temptation, Dimmu Borgir, Tiamat, some classical music such as Mozart. While appreciating tattoos in other people, Simons said she won't ever get one.
In late April of 2013, it was announced on the Epica Facebook page that Simone and long-time partner, Kamelot keyboard player Oliver Palotai were expecting their first child in late summer 2013. Their son, Vincent Palotai, was born on October 2, 2013. In December of 2013, Simone announced on her blog that she got married with her long-partner Oliver Palotai.
Simons runs a blog called "SmoonStyle", wherein she writes about her fashion, makeup, food and experiences she has had as a member of Epica, as well as in her personal life.
- 2002: Cry for the Moon
- 2003: The Phantom Agony
- 2005: Consign to Oblivion
- 2007: The Divine Conspiracy
- 2009: Design Your Universe
- 2012: Requiem for the Indifferent
- 2014: The Quantum Enigma
- 2009: The Classical Conspiracy
- 2013: Retrospect
EPs and singlesEdit
- 2003: “The Phantom Agony”
- 2004: “Feint”
- 2004: “Cry for the Moon”
- 2005: “Solitary Ground”
- 2005: “Quietus (Silent Reverie)”
- 2007: “Never Enough”
- 2008: “Chasing the Dragon”
- 2009: “Unleashed”
- 2009: “Martyr of the Free Word”
- 2010: “This Is the Time”
- 2012: “Storm the Sorrow”
- 2012: “Forevermore”
Compilations and other recordingsEdit
- Aina – Days of Rising Doom (2003)
- Kamelot – The Black Halo in "The Haunting (Somewhere in Time)" and appears in its video (2005)
- Kamelot – One Cold Winter's Night in "The Haunting (Somewhere in Time)" (2006)
- Kamelot – Ghost Opera in "Blücher" and "Season's End" (2007)
- Primal Fear – New Religion in "Everytime It Rains" (2007)
- Ayreon – 01011001 in "Web of Lies" (2008)
- Xystus & US Concert – Equilibrio in "Act 1 – My Song of Creation", "Act 2 – Destiny Unveiled" and "Act 2 – God of Symmetry" (2008)
- Sons of Seasons – Gods of Vermin in "Fallen Family", "Fall Of Byzanz" and "Wintersmith" (2009)
- Kamelot – Poetry for the Poisoned in "House on a Hill", "So Long", "All is Over"(2010)
- MaYaN – Quarterpast in "Symphony of Aggression", "Mainstay of Society", "Bite the Bullet", "Drown the Demon" and "Sinner's Last Retreat" (2011)
- Sons of Seasons – Magnisphyricon in "Sanctuary" (2011)
- Avalon - Avalon II (2014)