DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — For Nnenna Freelon everything she has earned has made her work that much harder.
Her most recent achievement though left her speechless.
“I was really moved because a lot of times the world recognizes some things that you do, but at home it is kind of like ‘oh, yeah.’ I was just humbled and pleased,” Freelon said.
Freelon recently found out that she’s in the 2022 North Carolina Music Hall of Fame inductee class.
“I mean (I am) so excited. I mean, you don’t think of your life as sort of, I mean I don’t think of my life like that, somebody who is writing a memoir, or someone is being inducted. That’s for old people. I don’t know — I’m thrilled,” she said.
Freelon’s career stretches back decades. She released her first, self-titled, album in the early 1990s.
Recent years, though, have been filled with both tears and joy.
In 2019, her husband of 40 years, Phil Freelon passed away. She channeled her grief through music.
Freelon released her album, Time Traveler, last year. It was inspired by Phil.
Time Traveler was nominated for best vocal jazz album at this year’s Grammy Awards.
Her son Pierce Freelon’s album, Black to the Future, was nominated in the best children’s album category.
“These moments. The Grammy nomination with Pierce, this wonderful induction. This just adds a bit of sweetness that is so needed and adds balance,” Freelon said.
While the hall of fame may be looked at as a bookend to a career, Freelon said she’s working on new music.
Her advice to young people is to continue to push toward their dreams and goals.
“Go for it! Do it. Don’t wait. Don’t wait. What are you waiting on? Nobody can tell the story that you can tell,” Freelon mentioned.
The North Carolina Music Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place Thursday, Oct. 20.