My manager also managed Laura, so I got in on the ground floor of her career; she was the first artist to sing my songs. We would hang out a lot, and she was fun. I'll always remember this: I had never been to a Japanese restaurant, and she said, ''Try this green-tea ice cream.'' And it was wasabi sauce! She had that kind of wicked sense of humor.
She used to stay at the Chateau Marmont in West Hollywood, and I remember sitting together in the really echoey bathroom, going over the songs. Laura had a powerful voice. To me, she had similarities to Donna Summer. She made some classic records ''Gloria'' not only brings you back to that time, it stands the test of time.
I don't know if she was appreciated as much as she should have been. When I first started working with Celine Dion, you could tell she was influenced on some level by Laura. If things had been different, Laura could have had that sort of career. (Branigan died of a brain aneurysm in East Quogue, N.Y.)