Happy Monday, Everyone! This Week’s featured artist is Roberta Flack.
Roberta Cleopatra Flack (born February 10, 1937) is an American singer, and musician who is notable for jazz, Pop, R&B, and folk music. She is best known for her classic #1 singles “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face”, “Killing Me Softly with His Song”, and “Feel Like Makin’ Love”; and for “Where Is the Love” and “The Closer I Get to You”, two of her many duets with the late Donny Hathaway.
Flack was the first to win the Grammy Award for Record of the Year two consecutive times. “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” won at the 1973 Grammys and “Killing Me Softly with His Song” won at the 1974 Grammys. She remains the only solo artist to have accomplished this feat and only U2, who did it in 2001 and 2002 with “Beautiful Day” and “Walk On”, has done it since
Flack lived with a musical family, born in Black Mountain, North Carolina to parents Laron LeRoy (October 11, 1911 – July 12, 1959) and Irene Flack (September 28, 1911 – January 17, 1981) a church organist,on February 10, 1937 and raised in Arlington, Virginia. She first discovered the work of African American musical artists when she heard Mahalia Jackson and Sam Cooke sing in a predominantly African-American Baptist church.
When Flack was 9, she started taking an interest in playing the piano, and during her early teens, Flack so excelled at classical piano that Howard University awarded her a full music scholarship. By age 15, she entered Howard University, making her one of the youngest students ever to enroll there. She eventually changed her major from piano to voice, and became an assistant conductor of the university choir. Her direction of a production of Aida received a standing ovation from the Howard University faculty. Flack is a member of Delta Sigma Theta sorority and was made an honorary member of Tau Beta Sigma by the Eta Delta Chapter at Howard University for her outstanding work in promoting music education.
Roberta Flack became a student teacher at a school near Chevy Chase, Maryland. She graduated from Howard University at 19 and began graduate studies in music, but the sudden death of her father forced her to take a job teaching music and English for $2800 a year in Farmville, North Carolina.