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Occasionally we like to take a break from the bump and grind of public policy to highlight the musical talents of North Carolina’s favorite sons and daughters — one of so many bounties we’re blessed with here in the Tar Heel state. And today we celebrate one of the greatest voices of our time: the fabulous Roberta Flack. She has a birthday on Tuesday.
Born in the beautiful little town of Black Mountain on February 10, 1937, Ms. Flack has received four Grammy Awards and over a dozen nominations. She remains the only solo artist in history who has ever won a Grammy for “Record of the Year” two years in a row.
Ms. Flack studied classical piano as a young girl, and when she was just 15 years old she was awarded a full scholarship to attend Howard University. One of the youngest students to ever attend that storied institution, she conducted the university’s choir, directed operas, and graduated at 19. She returned home to North Carolina after the death of her beloved father to teach English and Music.
She continued her teaching career in Washington, DC, performing at nightclubs in the evenings. Her talent was quickly discovered by the jazz legend Les McCann, who helped land her a contract with Atlantic Records.
Roberta Flack is a prolific pop, jazz, folks and R&B singer, perhaps best known for her number-one hits “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” and “Killing Me Softly with His Song” (which we bring you today). She was inducted into the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame in 2009.
Ms. Flack is also well-known for lending her talent to a number of charitable causes, including the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. She has also partnered with The Hyde Leadership Charter School to provide underprivileged children with the opportunity to learn to read and write music. The Roberta Flack School of Music accepts all interested students at no cost.
At 78, Roberta Flack maintains an active performance schedule; she is currently touring around the nation and her voice is as beautiful and as moving as ever. To learn more about this remarkably talented woman, visit her website at robertaflack.com.