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Roberta Flack reveals she has ALS: It’s ‘impossible to sing’

Roberta Flack reveals she has ALS: It’s ‘impossible to sing’

A representative for Roberta Flack announced Monday that the Grammy-winning musician has ALS. Commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s diseaseand can no longer sing.

Flack’s manager Suzanne Koga said in a release that the progressive disease “makes it impossible to sing and easy to talk about.” “But it will take a lot more than ALS to silence this icon.”

The announcement of the amyotrophic lateral sclerosis diagnosis comes just before the premiere of “Roberta,” a feature-length documentary debuting Thursday at the DOCNYC Film Festival.

Known for hitting flak such as “Killing Me Softly With His Gun” and “The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face”, the latter of which catapulted Clint Eastwood to stardom after he used it as the soundtrack for a love scene in his 1971 film “Play Misty for Me”. does.”

The Grammy-winning singer and pianist, now 85, “plans to remain active in his musical and creative pursuits” through his eponymous foundation and other avenues, the release said.

The Antonino D’Ambrosio-directed documentary will be in competition at the festival and will be available through DOCNYC’s website a week before the Jan. 24 telecast as part of PBS’ “American Masters” series.

“It’s going to take a lot more than ALS to silence this icon,” Flack’s representative said. Flack is seen here with Stevie Wonder during a performance at the United Nations on May 13, 1985.
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Flack plans to publish a children’s book co-written with Tonya Bolden, “The Green Piano: How Little Me Found Music“That month. North Carolina-born, Virginia-raised Flack was the daughter of pianists and classically trained herself — her talent won her a full ride to Howard University at just 15 years old.

“I’ve long dreamed of telling kids my story about that first green piano my dad got for me from the junkyard in hopes that they would be inspired to pursue their dreams,” Flack was quoted in the release. “I want to let them know that dreams can come true with perseverance, encouragement from family and friends, and most of all, belief in yourself.”

The television debut of the documentary and publication of the book begins in 2023, which will see a re-release of his fourth album “Killing Me Softly” to commemorate the 50th anniversary. His label for the first three decades of his career, Atlantic Records, is celebrating its 75th anniversary.

Flack, now 85,
Flack, now 85, “plans to remain active in his musical and creative pursuits” through his eponymous foundation and other means.

Flack had a stroke in 2016 and spoke to the Associated Press About returning to acting after more than two years. When asked if she would sing one of her old hits at an upcoming event, she quickly responded: “There’s no such thing as an old hit,” preferring the term “classic” instead.

“I could sing any number of songs that I’ve recorded over the years, easily, I could sing them all, but I’m going to choose the songs that move me,” Flack said. “It’s hard to do now. You have to be constantly moved, moved by your own music.”


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