Legendary R&B singer Robert Flack has been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and can no longer sing, according to her publicist.
Ms. Flack won Grammy Awards for Record of the Year in 1973 and Best Pop Vocal Performance in 1973 & 1974. She earned 14 Grammy nominations throughout her career. Due to her ALS diagnosis, she can no longer sing, and speech is difficult for her. Rhino Records says the singer’s mood and spirits are high as she prepares to celebrate the release of the new documentary Roberta.
Roberta will premiere on November 17 in competition at DOCNYC, the nation’s largest documentary film festival. The festival is at the SVA Theatre at Manhattan’s School of the Visual Arts, followed by Q&A with its director Antonino D’Ambrosio.
“The movie explores the depth and complexity of her lyrical and thematic choices as well as the sophisticated mix of classical and soul influences on her style in a marvelous monument to a singular and unclassifiable musical genius, with commentary from contemporary artists whom she has inspired,” the press release reads.
“Filmmaker and author D’Ambrosio has written books about such other musical legends as Johnny Cash and Joe Strummer (The Clash) and previously directed 17 short films and documentary series on vital political, cultural, and historical matters and other similar topics.”
2023 marks the 50th anniversary of the release of Roberta Flack’s fourth album, Killing Me Softly.
Rhino Records says it will celebrate the occasion with a commemorative reissue of the record. The album reached #3 on the Billboard album chart and sold more than two million copies in the US. It was also nominated for an Album of the Year Grammy award.
Finally, on January 10, 2023, a children’s book co-authored by Roberta Flack called The Green Piano: How Little Me Found Music will be published by Anne Schwartz Books, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books. The book tells the story of Flack’s musical beginnings.