Documentary In The Works On Acclaimed Singer-Songwriter Laura Nyro, From Vistas Media Capital
EXCLUSIVE: Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Laura Nyro, one of the most revered singer-songwriters of the 20thcentury, will be the subject of an upcoming documentary from Vistas Media Capital.
Ben Waisbren (300, The Equalizer, Blood Diamond) and music producer Bonnie Greenberg (RBG) will produce the documentary about a talent who burst onto the scene in the late 1960s. Nyro made a breakthrough performance at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival at the age of 19, possessing a multi-octave voice that could move easily through folk, jazz, soul and blues.
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Nyro’s songs included “Stoned Soul Picnic,” “Wedding Bell Blues” (covered by The Fifth Dimension), “And When I Die” (covered by Blood, Sweat & Tears), and “Stoney End” (recorded with soaring vocals by Barbra Streisand). She was David Geffen’s first client as a music manager and he helped secure her a recording contract with Clive Davis at Columbia Records. Nyro’s music and activism turned her into an icon of the feminist movement.
“I was first attracted to Laura Nyro’s music and life story by what David Geffen so poignantly said about her in Susan Lacy’s 2010 feature film Inventing David Geffen,” Waisbren said in a statement. “Her lyrics touched and galvanized a generation of women—words that have resonance today.”
A director has yet to be announced for the project. Production is expected to begin this year. Laura’s son, Gil Bianchini, will serve as an Associate Producer. Among the executive producers on the project are award-winning documentary composer Miriam Cutler (RBG, Ghosts of Abu Ghraib), who will write the score for the feature, and lawyer-producer George Gilbert (Laura Nyro Go Find The Moon: The Audition Tape; Trees Of Ages – Laura Nyro Live In Japan).
“We are proud to make a documentary that illuminates such an important and respected artist who has a passionate following throughout the world,” commented Abhayanand Singh, co-founder and group CEO of Vistas Media Capital. “There is a universality to Laura’s persona that appeals to audiences no matter where they live, and this is precisely what we are attracted to as producers and distributors–material that can really travel and be embraced globally. Vistas is excited to be working with such an experienced team from the music and documentary communities, who bring to the project a deep passion for Laura and her music.”
Nyro died in 1997 of ovarian cancer, at the age of 49 (her mother died of the same disease, also at age 49). She shied away from the spotlight, often turning down opportunities to appear on television shows, preferring in general to keep her focus on activism. In addition to the women’s movement, she devoted energy to animal rights and environmental causes.
Joni Mitchell, Elton John and Kate Bush are among the artists who cite Nyro as an influence. Speaking about Nyro’s 1968 album, Eli and the Thirteenth Confession, record producer Todd Rundgren noted, “It just blew everybody’s mind-–everybody’s. It blew my mind, but it blew everybody’s mind that a girl [that] young was singing with [that] much soul, and the songwriting was hers and wasn’t like anybody else’s songwriting.”
The upcoming documentary will be based, in part, on the 2003 book Soul Picnic: The Music and Passion of Laura Nyro by Michele Kort, which Waisbren optioned in 2021. The producers say the film “will feature new live performances of Nyro’s songs by current artists.”
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