Photo: Michael Borkson

Roberta Flack Reveals ALS Diagnosis

The soulful voice responsible for such hits as “Killing Me Softly With His Song” and “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face,” the legendary Roberta Flack has been diagnosed with ALS.

Now 85, the iconic chanteuse who survived a stroke in 2016, can no longer sing and has trouble speaking as a result of the disease.

According to Flack’s representative “It will take a lot more than ALS to silence this icon,” adding that Roberta intends to stay active in musical and creative endeavors.

Despite her challenges, singer/songwriter will still support Roberta, the forthcoming documentary about her life, scheduled for wide screening via PBS on 1.24.23 as part of the network’s American Masters series. The piece examines Flack’s lyrics and themes and the way she blended classical and soul music into her music and will feature commentary from as-yet-unnamed contemporary artists inspired by the chanteuse.

A reissue of Flack’s Killing Me Softly album is also due out next year.

Arriving 1.10.23, The Green Piano: How Little Me Found Music is a children’s book Roberta co-wrote with author Hayden Goodman. “I have long dreamed of telling my story to children about that first green piano that my father got for me from the junkyard in the hope that they would be inspired to reach for their dreams,” Flack said in a statement. “I want them to know that dreams can come true with persistence, encouragement from family and friends, and most of all belief in yourself.”

About the importance of music, in 2018, Roberta Flack spoke to Associated Press, stating. “I could sing any number of songs that I’ve recorded through the years, easily, I could sing them, but I’m going to pick those songs that move me.” “Now that’s hard to do. To be moved, to be moved constantly by your own songs. You need it to be in tune with them, and I don’t mean in tune musically, but I mean in tune with the lyrics of the songs, with the words of the songs, and with the meaning. You need to be in tune with all of that, and that takes a little bit of doing.”

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Author: Al Denté

Photo: Michael Borkson