Vistas Media Capital Making Feature Documentary About International Music And Feminist Icon Laura Nyro

Elton John, Joni Mitchell, Kate Bush and other artists have credited her as being a major influence on their songwriting.

By: May. 11, 2022
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Vistas Media Capital Making Feature Documentary About International Music And Feminist Icon Laura Nyro

Vistas Media Capital, which recently launched its North American division, today announced that it is developing and producing a feature documentary about Laura Nyro, the gifted and influential singer/songwriter that burst on the scene in the late 1960s while still a teenager, and who effectively rejected the demands of superstardom in her 20s and pursued a life of activism for women's rights and the environment.

She was David Geffen's first client before Clive Davis signed her to Columbia Records. Elton John, Joni Mitchell, Kate Bush and other artists have credited her as being a major influence on their songwriting. She died of ovarian cancer at age 49 in 1997, but remains an enduring icon of the feminist movement, with passionate fans of her music and art throughout the world.

Ben Waisbren (300, Blood Diamond, 22 Jump Street), the President of Vistas Media's North American division, is producing the feature with acclaimed music supervisor Bonnie Greenberg (RBG, The Long Kiss Goodnight, Something's Gotta Give). The film will be based, in part, on Soul Picnic: The Music and Passion of Laura Nyro by Michele Kort (2003, St. Martin's Press), which Waisbren optioned in 2021, and will feature new live performances of Nyro's songs by current artists.

Executive Producers on the project include award-winning documentary composer Miriam Cutler (RBG, Arlington Road), who will write the score for the feature, and music industry veteran and lawyer/producer George Gilbert (Laura Nyro Go Find The Moon: The Audition Tape; Trees Of Ages - Laura Nyro Live In Japan). Laura's son, Gil Bianchini, will be an Associate Producer.

The team is in the process of attaching talent to the project. Production will commence this year.

The announcement comes on the eve of the annual gala of New York City's Vineyard Theatre on May 16, which will feature Laura Nyro's songs, such as "Stoned Soul Picnic", "Wedding Bell Blues" and "And When I Die", performed by the original cast of the Vineyard's Obie Award-winning Eli's Comin', and other special guests.

"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", said Waisbren. "Her lyrics touched and galvanized a generation of women-words that have resonance today. I am honored that Bonnie, Miriam, George, and, of course, Laura's son, Gil, have brought their knowledge and passion about Laura and her music to a feature film project that will introduce a new generation to her art and message."

Abhayanand Singh, Co-Founder and Group CEO of Vistas Media Capital said, "We are proud to make a documentary that illuminates such an important and respected artist who has a passionate following throughout the world. 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."

Laura Nyro was one of the most influential songwriters of the 20th Century and yet is largely unknown by broad audiences today, notwithstanding her induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame by Bette Midler in 2012, where Sarah Bareilles' performed Nyro's classic, "Stoney End".

Nyro was, above all, original. During the singer/songwriter movement in the late '60s and early '70s, she was one of the most celebrated tunesmiths of her day, penning literate songs that took the folky introspection of her peers and infused it with elements of soul, R&B, jazz, and gospel, giving them an emotional heat and musical complexity that set her apart.

Her unflinching confessional lyrics and audacious rhythmic shifts made her an idol among music masters and a trailblazer. Espousing about Laura Nyro's sophomore record, 1968's "Eli and the Thirteenth Confession", record producing genius Todd Rundgren said, "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."

Nyro's songs were covered with great success by the Fifth Dimension; Blood, Sweat & Tears; Three Dog Night, and Barbra Streisand, and by contemporary artists, Rickie Lee Jones, Renée Fleming & Yo-Yo Ma, Audra McDonald and Wayne Shorter & Esperanza Spalding to name a few. She influenced a generation of "confessional" singer-songwriters with her authenticity and soulfully honest and personal lyrics. Her enduring commitment to peace and harmony, womanhood and the health of our planet continues to speak powerfully to the zeitgeist of our time.


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