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“I was a huge Todd Rundgren fan and followed him all the way through Utopia. Then I realized that a lot of his chord voicings, melodies, and a lot of his classic style were the result of him trying to be like Laura Nyro.
“She created great songs, of course, but she also took you on a journey with her voice. If her vocals were digitally edited like they do nowadays, the power and effectiveness would’ve been ruined. There’s so much emotion in what she’s doing. To me, she’s beautiful, but you can tell in her music that she thinks she’s the ugly duckling. There’s a lot of vulnerability in her performances.
“The song Billy’s Blues can bring me to tears. Every time I hear it, it kills me. What a vocal on that thing! I can still go back to this record and be astounded by how good it is. It’s sad but so hopeful at the same time. That’s a hard combination to pull off.”