Nicolette Larson

Nicolette Larson
Occupation: 
Entertainer
Musician
US USA

From A Tribute to Nicolette Larson

Nicolette was born in Helena, Montana in 1952. Her father was with the Treasury Department and moved the family's six children to a different U. S. city every two years, exposing Nicolette to diverse styles of music that combined into the unique vocal style that eventually made her into a recording star. Later in life after college, Nicolette got her first break when she was hired as a singer with Hoyt Axton's band and later with Commander Cody and his Lost Planet Airmen. She was soon on her way to becoming one of the top recording and touring vocalists in the business, recording with key musical figures like Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt, Michael McDonald, Willie Nelson, Jimmy Buffett, Neil Young, Christopher Cross, The Dirt Band, the Beach Boys and the Doobie Brothers.

Within five years of her arrival in California, Nicolette found herself at the top of the pop chart with "Lotta Love", the Neil Young song that she turned into a classic. This song propelled Nicolette's career into the musical stratosphere. Her subsequent hits, both in the United States and abroad, included "Rumba Girl", "I Only Want To Be With You", "Let Me Go Love" (a duet with Michael McDonald) and "That's How You Know When Love's Right" (a top 10 country single). Nicolette released two critically acclaimed albums (four for Warner Brothers and two for MCA). Her awards included Best New Vocalist by both Cashbox Magazine (1985) and the Academy of Country Music (1984) and Performance Magazines Best Female Vocalist (1979).

Married to the music industry's renowned drummer Russell Kunkel, Nicolette gave birth to Elsie May in 1990. The birth of her daughter inspired the last album she recorded, "SLEEP, BABY, SLEEP," for the SONY WONDER Family Artist Series in 1994. The album is a collection of lullabies and children's songs including duets with Graham Nash and Linda Ronstadt. One of the songs, "Oh Bear" was written with her young daughter, Elsie. In another Nicolette-penned song on that album called "Starlight, Starbright," a heartfelt lyric summed up her feelings toward motherhood and the all-embracing love of a child:"You're the answer to a million prayers;

You're the apple of my eye;
I can hear you breathing next to me
Just how lucky can one person be?
I am looking at a mystery…
Everything I dreamed, More than I could wish for"

Nicolette passed away in December of 1997 due to complications from a cerebral edema. She is survived by her husband, Russell Kunkel, and their 8-year-old daughter, Elsie May. Those who loved her came together in February of 1998 to honor her in a memorial concert.