May 27, 2024

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Celebrating Roberta Flack at 86 – Killing Me Softly: Video, Photos

Award-winning vocalist and educator Charenee Wade joins Angélika Beener to celebrate Roberta Flack on the legendary musician’s 86th birthday through a rich discussion of her classic Killing Me Softly LP, which turns 50 this year and the new PBS American Masters documentary which chronicles Flack’s fascinating career.

Wade speaks on Flack’s invitation to expand what soul and activism can sound like, the true role and impact of an interpreter, and much more.

Roberta Flack can no longer sing after ALS diagnosis | CNN

Internationally hailed as one of the greatest songstresses of our time, GRAMMY Award winning Roberta Flack remains unparalleled in her ability to tell a story through her music. Her songs bring insight into our lives, loves, culture and politics, while effortlessly traversing a broad musical landscape from pop to soul to folk to jazz. She is the only solo artist to win the GRAMMY Award Record of the Year for two (2) consecutive years: The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face won the 1973 GRAMMY and Killing Me Softly with His Song won the 1974 GRAMMY.

Classically trained on the piano from an early age, Ms. Flack received a music scholarship at age 15 to attend Howard University. Discovered while singing at the Washington, DC nightclub Mr. Henry’s by jazz musician Les McCann, she was immediately signed to Atlantic Records. With a string of hits, including, The First Time Ever I Saw Your FaceWhere Is the Love (a duet with former Howard University classmate Donny Hathaway), Killing Me Softly With His SongFeel Like Makin’ LoveThe Closer I Get to YouTonight I Celebrate My Love, and Set the Night to Music, Roberta Flack has inspired countless artists with her musical brilliance and honesty.

Described by Reverend Jesse Jackson as “socially relevant and politically unafraid”, Ms. Flack is very active as a humanitarian and mentor. She founded the Roberta Flack School of Music at the Hyde Leadership Charter School in the Bronx, providing an innovative and inspiring music education program to underprivileged students free of charge.

In 2010, Ms. Flack founded The Roberta Flack Foundation whose mission statement is to support animal welfare and music education. In 2019, she awarded grants to Anasa Troutman’s Shelectricity and filmmaker Carol Swainson.

In 2018, Ms. Flack retired from touring and continues to make special appearances.

In 2020, Ms. Flack received a GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award. In addition, she raised awareness and funds for Feed The Children.org during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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