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Celebrating Black History :: On This Day in Black History 1939 a Queen was born :: Roberta Flack

February 10, 2017

 Roberta Flack

 

 

Roberta Cleopatra Flack (born February 10, 1939) is an American singer and musician. 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 Donny Hathaway.

 

Flack was the first, and remains the only, solo artist to win the Grammy Award for Record of the Year on two consecutive years: "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" won at the 1973 Grammy's as did "Killing Me Softly with His Song" at the 1974 Grammy's.

 

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, 1939 (some sources give her birth year as 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 Thetasorority 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

 

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Cheers,

Errol