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With her tantalizingly soulful vocals, Roberta Flack (born February 10th, 1939) became one of the seminal vocalists of the '70s and '80s, with her jazz ballads oozing with romance.
Born in Asheville, NC, US, Flack was the daughter of a church organist, picking up the piano from an early age. Her talents led to a music scholarship and degree from Howard University, before being discovered by jazz musician, Les McCann, whose connections led to Flack signing for Atlantic Records. Her first two initial albums, 1969's "First Take" and 1970's "Chapter Two" failed to gain any hits initially. However, Flack was to find success with an easy single, her version of Ewan McColl's "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face," which topped the charts in 1972 after being featured on the soundtrack for the movie, "Play Misty for Me."
Establishing her name, Flack then found successive hits with a duet with Donny Hathaway, "Where Is the Love," and the hugely successful "Kiling Me Softly With His Song," which spent five weeks at the top of the charts in 1973. Afer another number one singe, 1974's "Feel Like Makin' Love," Flack took a break from performance, dedicating herself to charitable causes and recording projects.
Hits continued for Flack as the decade went on, with the 1977 album, "Blue Lights in the Basement," finding success with the Hathaway-duet, "The Closer I Get To You." Tragedy hit Flack, after Hathaway's suicide two years later, with the world losing one of the most creative forces in soul. FInding a new creative inspiration in Peabo Bryson, Flack returned with the successful 1983 duet, "Tonight I Celebrate My Love."
Throughout the rest of the decade, Flack joined Miles Davis on stage frequently, as well as performing alongside orchestras, offering dramatically textured interpretations of her songs and standards. In 1991, Flack again found chart success, after the Maxi-Priest duet, "Set the Night to Music," which broke into the Top Ten. Releases continued intermittently for Flack as the decade progressed, continuing to find strong support on Adult Contemporary Radio. In 2012, a Beatles tribute, "Let It Be Roberta: Roberta Flack Sings the Beatles," was released, showcasing Flack's impressive vocal abilities in a new light.
Flack has had a remarkable career, earning countless Grammy Award awards and nominations, including 'Record of the Year' in 1973 and 1974, being the first artist to win this accolade in consecutive years.