The 85-year-old Grammy-winning singer and pianist "plans to stay active in her musical and creative pursuits" through her name-brand foundation and other channels.
Grammy-winning artist Roberta Flack's agent revealed on Monday that she will no longer be able to sing due to ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. According to reports from NBC News, Flack's manager Suzanne Koga said, "the disease has made it impossible to sing and not easy to speak." The 85-year-old Grammy-winning singer and pianist "plans to stay active in her musical and creative pursuits" through her name-brand foundation and other channels, according to the press release.
It continued, “But it will take a lot more than ALS to silence this icon.” The daughter of pianists and a classically trained musician, Flack was born in North Carolina and raised in Virginia. At the age of 15, her talent earned her a full scholarship to Howard University. Killing Me Softly With His Song and The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face, two of Flack's hits, are what made her famous after Clint Eastwood used them as the soundtrack for their respective films. The diagnosis of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis was made public just before Thursday at the DOCNYC film festival premiere of the Antonino D’Ambrosio-directed feature-length documentary Roberta.
In the same month, Flack intends to release The Green Piano: How Little Me Found Music, a children's book she co-wrote with Tonya Bolden. According to Flack, who was quoted in the press release, “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.” She added, “I want them to know that dreams can come true with persistence, encouragement from family and friends, and most of all belief in yourself.”
The book is envisioned to be released in 2023. To commemorate the 50th anniversary of her fourth album, Killing Me Softly, the reissue of her book will be made available. A little more than two years after having a stroke in 2016, Flack spoke with The Associated Press about her return to performing. When asked if she would sing an "old hit" at an upcoming event, she quickly replied, “There’s no such thing as an old hit.” She instead preferred the term “classic.” "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,” Flack said. “Now that’s hard to do. To be moved, to be moved constantly by your own songs."
Cover Image Source: Getty Images / Photo by Andy Kropa