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date: 22 October 2019

Flack, Roberta locked

  • Terence J. O’Grady
  •  and Jonas Westover

Extract

(b Black Mountain, NC, Feb 10, 1939). American singer and songwriter. Flack won a music scholarship to attend Howard University in 1954. After working as a music educator in public schools in Washington, DC, she rose to national attention in 1969–70 when her first album, First Take, sold over a million copies. Her second album, Chapter Two (1970), was a critical as well as commercial success, and the following year she was chosen as leading female vocalist by Down Beat magazine. She had several hit singles in the early 1970s, among them “The first time ever I saw your face” (no.1, 1972) and “Killing me softly with his Song” (no.1, 1973), which won the Grammy for Best Song. These were typical of her intimate ballad style, influenced by gospel and soul music in her vocal ornamentation, and influenced by jazz in her use of vocal color. Her subsequent singles (including some made in collaboration with the soul singer Donny Hathaway) and albums continued to score highly the charts throughout the 1970s and 1980s; ...

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Current Biography Yearbook (1955-)
E. Southern: Biographical Dictionary of Afro-American and African Musicians