Best Known For
Laura Nyro is best known for her musical career as a singer-songwriter, which began in the 1960s.
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Nyro returned to playing and recording music in 1976, with the album Smile. She continued to release sporadic albums over the next 20 years, writing and performing the music she wanted to write, often with strong feminist and pantheist lyrical themes, and playing occasional concerts in small venues. In 1978, she had a son, Gil Bianchini, the product of a short-lived relationship to a man named Harinda Singh. By the early 1980s, she had retreated to Connecticut with her son and her partner,
painter Maria Desiderio. "Laura lived a woman-identified, goddess-driven existence," one of her close friends later rcalled. "Everything was about female energy, with the exception of her son."
Nyro was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 1995. Shortly after the release of her greatest-hits album, The Best of Laura Nyro: Stoned Soul Picnic, Nyro died on April 8, 1997, at the age of 49—the same age that her mother was when she had succumbed to ovarian cancer years earlier.
In the years since her death, Nyro has remained an inspiration to a generation of artists; her songs are still frequently covered and performed live. Nyro carved out a niche for young female singer/songwriters to perform behind a piano, heralding the popularity of artists like Tori Amos, Ani DiFranco and Fiona Apple. While Nyro may not have the name recognition that her biggest fans might desire for her, her songs live on—in tribute albums and concerts, as well as in her son Gil Bianchini, a hip-hop artist who performs as Gil-T and samples her songs in his raps.
In the very first song she ever sold, "And When I Die," Nyro wrote: "I'm not scared of dyin' and I don't really care/ If it's peace you find in dyin' well then let the time be near/ And when I die and when I'm gone/ There'll be one child born and a world to carry on."
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