Laura Nyro was an incredibly talented and beloved singer, songwriter and pianist who was most well known for having written songs for artists such as The Fifth Dimension and Barbara Streisand. She grew up in the Bronx, New York and was part of a very musical family. She was the daughter of Gilda (born Mirsky) Nigro, a bookkeeper, and Louis Nigro, a piano tuner and jazz trumpeter. Laura also had a younger brother, Jan Nigro, who was also a musician. She had a difficult childhood growing up, and taught herself how to play the piano at a very young age, learning songs from her mothers record collection which included records by Leontyne Price, Billie Holiday as well as more classical composers such as Debussy and Ravel.
After getting help from her father’s connections within the music industry, she signed to her first label in 1966, later releasing her debut album on Verve Folkways titled More Than a New Discovery in 1967. After a few critically acclaimed records throughout the years, and personal situations with a broken marriage and being pregnant, she released her critically acclaimed seventh studio album titled Nested, an album full of themes of love, motherhood and womanhood. With an emphasis on more melodic tracks, this album had a smoother feel compared to some of her previous records.
It was the 4th record ‘Crazy Love’ that caught Madlib’s ears. With it’s lush, melodic piano keys, and Laura’s gorgeously passionate vocal performance and metaphoric lyrics about love and her past relationships, it is one of the many highlights of her 1977 album. Madlib sampled this song for his Beat Konducta Series, more specifically Volume 5: Dil Cosby Suite on ‘King Chop (Top Line).’ He takes the piano keys throughout ‘Crazy Love’ and loops them throughout the 1-minute beat. The subtle but present vocal samples are intertwined with Madlib’s classic bass-heavy drums and other vocal snippets. As with every Madlib beat, it would be preferable if they were twice the length, but during this minute it makes a vibrant, memorable presence.
I recommend you listen to Nested as for the longest time it was overlooked commercially and critically, but is now considered one of her most underrated albums.
Listen to Laura Nyro’s ‘Crazy Love,’ off her 1977 album Nested. You can purchase the entire album here.
Listen to Madlib’s ‘King Chop (Top Line)’ off his classic 2008 beat project Beat Konducta Volume 5: Dil Cosby Suite. You can purchase the entire project here.