Roberta Flack is an American singer who started her artistic career rather early by taking the piano at the age of 9 and very quickly showing talent for this instrument more than certain. So much so that Howard University awarded her a special scholarship and allowed her to join its ranks when she was only 15 years old, making her one of the youngest students on campus.
She quickly switched from piano to vocals and became one of the assistant leaders of the university choir. And her talent works wonders since she even obtains a Standing Ovation during the representation of Aida within the university, a show that she herself put on.
However, she did not start her singing career immediately and did not begin teaching music after her university studies. This does not prevent her from happening in the evening in Clubs around Washington and gradually gaining notoriety.
And it was in 1968 that she obtained her first contract as a real singer in a restaurant called Mr. Henry's, a restaurant where she very quickly became a 'phenomenon'. An increased visibility which allows her to sign quickly with the label Atlantic Records.
A label which allows her to release her first album "First take" a year later in 1969 and for a first try, it is a real masterstroke since the album is a real worldwide hit this year and will launch in a shattering way the career of the young singer. Paradoxically, the album will only produce one single "Compared to what", a single that will go somewhat unnoticed ...
New album "Chapter two" a year later in 1970, album with less success than its predecessor but which still allows the singer to stay in contact with the best. An album which finally allows her to land a first classified title with “Do what you gotta do”, a title which will be released a year later in 1971. A year 1971 which will also see the release of the album “Quiet fire”, album to the success of the most average ...
The year 1972 saw the release of a duet album with Donny Hathaway aptly named “Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway”. The album allows her to gradually catch up with the leading pack thanks to the production of two high-caliber tracks which are “You've got a friend” and “You've lost that lovin 'feeling”.
But it is above all the providential help of a young actor/director named Clint Eastwood which will make it possible to boost the singer's career in an impressive way. Indeed, the latter chooses the title "The first time ever I saw your face" (title extracted from the very first album of the singer) to be part of the soundtrack of his first feature film 'Play misty for me'. A choice that will prove to be particularly inspired since the enormous success of the title will offer the singer her first global mega hit with the consequence of an explosion of her international notoriety !
The singer becomes de facto one of the phenomena of the moment and goes on to a second notorious success the same year with the title "Where is the love", title taken from the album with Donny Hathaway.
Success of planetary class which does not deny the following year with the release in 1973 of the album "Killing me softly", album which will produce quite simply the biggest success of all its discography on the single side with its enormous cover of the Lori Lieberman's title “Killing me softly with his song” from the previous year. Colossal success which was shortly followed the same year by another very big success with the title "Jesse".
And it continued more in 1974 with the release of the single "Feel like makin 'love", title which will embellish with a new star the prize list of the singer already very rich. Title taken from the album of the same name which will be released a year later in 1975.
It was the turn of the album “Blue lights in the basement” to be released in 1977, an album which maintains the singer at a level of success worthy of the best of the moment, notably thanks to the title “The close I get to you”, title where she finds once again her partner of the year 1972 namely Donny Hathaway.
The end of the 1970s saw her somewhat struggling with the mixed success of her new album "Roberta Flack", an album which came out in 1978 and which only stood out with the title "If ever I see you again" .
It will therefore be necessary to wait for the passage to the 80s to see her return to the race in company once again thanks to her usual partner, namely Donny Hathaway. They released a new album together in 1980 called “Roberta Flack featuring Donny Hathaway”, an album that produced no less than 2 top hits with the titles “You are my heaven” and “Back together again”.
But the years go by and are not necessarily alike, the proof with this year 1981 which once again saw her disappear somewhat from the radar. Only the title "You stopped loving me" will allow her to exist for a while longer at the highest level.
A new comeback this time around in 1982 with the release of the album "I'm the one", an album with average success but from which two very big singles will be extracted : "Making love" and "I'm the one”.
The duets bringing her rather luck, she teamed up this time with Peabo Bryson on the album "Born to love", album which was released a year later in 1983 and which allowed her to obtain her biggest success of the decade. single with the title “Tonight, I celebrate my love”.
A top hit which will unfortunately be the last because everything that will come out subsequently will only meet a mixed level of success. Apart from the title "Set the night to music", title which will be released in 1991 and on which she will play it again in duet mode this time with Maxi Priest ...
To discover or rediscover.
Discography (among others ...) :
Compared to what 1969
Do what you gotta do 1971
You've got a friend 1971
You've lost that lovin' feelin' 1971
Will you still love me tomorrow 1972
The first time ever I saw your face 1972
Where is the love 1972
Killing me softly with his song 1973
Feel like makin' love 1974
Feelin' that glow 1975
25th of last December 1977
The closer I get to you 1978
If ever I see you again 1978
When it's over 1978
You are everything 1979
You are my heaven 1980
Back together again 1980
Don't make me wait too long 1980
You stopped loving me 1981
Making love 1982
I'm the one 1982
This side of forever 1983
Tonight, I celebrate my love 1983
You're lookin' like love to me 1983
I just came here to dance 1984
If I'm still around tomorrow 1984
Uh-Uh Ooh-Ooh look out 1989
Shock to my system 1989
Set the night to music 1991
You make me feel brand new 1992
1969 ... the very first steps. Certainly, this title will go somewhat unnoticed but the voice of the young singer is already doing wonders. It promises for the future...
1971 ... she will have to wait the following decade to see her efforts finally rewarded. She won her first classified title here. A reward well deserved when we see the extreme quality of this title. MA-GIC !
1971 ... the time of the first duets. Duets that she will generalize and which will bring her many of her greatest successes. Starting with this one !
1971 ... a year 1971 placed under the sign of duets but also of covers. After having taken again the title of Carol King dating from the same year on the previous title, she attacks here the title of the Righteous Brothers dating from 1964. A good job once again !
1972 ... the year of the big takeoff. After having lapped in with a few covers of choice in duo mode, she continues her momentum but solo with this time a cover of the Shirelles title dating from 1960. And it still works as well !
1972 ... then THIS title comes ! Here she delivers an absolutely sumptuous original title which shows her extreme talent in the Intimist register. With the key to a first mega hit which literally exploded its notoriety internationally. MAS-TER-FUL !
1972 ... here she is again in duet mode with Donny Hathaway. Gone are the times for covers, there too they deliver an original track. A title that will also work perfectly !
1973 ... she reopens in the wake the page 'luxury cover' the following year and this time covers the title of Lori Lieberman released the same year. She will deliver here a revisited version to say the least exceptional and which will surely remain as one of the most emblematic. MAS-TER-FUL !
1973 ... a know-how in the register 'With emotions' absolutely hallucinating and which will forever remain its trademark. Each title produced in this special register is a real success every time. Bluffing !
1974 ... she now aligns mega hits with incredible ease to say the least and becomes de facto one of the biggest musical phenomena of the moment !
1975 ... even if the production of titles has slowed down sharply for 2 years, the few titles released are of high quality. We will therefore be largely satisfied with it !
1977 ... exceptionally, she will not release any title during the year 1976. Here she is back in this year 1977 in a form that we will qualify as average. Astonishing on her part ...
1978 ... we suspected that this slight air hole was not going to last. Business resumes directly with this title, it was enough simply to recall a good old friend !
1978 ... rarely an artist will have alternated solo titles and duo titles so much. This time, she returns alone to this title with the consequence of an obvious fall in the Charts. It's so much better at 2 ...
1979 ... new year single title. The air holes are now succeeding at a rate that is worrying to say the least. Years empty, level of success in free fall, the end of the 1970s decidedly very complicated to manage ...
1980 ... suddenly, she recalls her favorite partner once again, hoping to be able to quickly reverse the trend. Partially successful mission ...
1980 ... here she arrived in Dance mode, but what happened to her ? Although the title will not be a huge success it shows at least another side of her that has been expected for years and years. It was time !
1980...the Dance trend is confirmed with this new title. A healthy reorientation and above all necessary to stick to the latest trends of the moment ...
1981 ... even if its passage in Dance mode will not necessarily meet the expected success, it at least has the merit of varying its register. We take, we take !
1982 ... chase the natural, it comes back at a gallop. A Dance page quickly closed to return to its Intimist fundamentals. A return to the source which will at least have the merit of offering her a new major star to her prize list ...
1982 ... she understood all the same that betting everything on the Intimist will not bring her that successes during this decade 80. She now alternates slow title and faster title and one can only encourage her in this way ...
1983 ... a nice title which will go somewhat unnoticed whereas it would have frankly deserved a recognition much higher than it was. Sometimes you don't have to try to understand ...
1983 ... return to duo mode in 1983 and above all a change of partner. It is Peabo Bryson who now has the favors of the singer. Hopefully this association will be as beneficial to her as the previous one ...
1983 ... since the duo worked perfectly on the previous title, they put the cover back on this title. Unfortunately, the result in the Charts will not be really the same despite an obvious quality title...
1983 ... this one will do a little better but we can not speak of euphoria, far from it. The duo is starting to show its limits a little and it will therefore be necessary to seriously wonder about the sequence of events to give to this duo ...
1984 ... the loosening in the Charts is accelerating and it is high time to react. But the duo do not appear to heed previous warnings. Attention danger...
1984 ... suddenly, she goes from one duo to another. Astonishing strategy and especially losing on this blow there because its association with Sadao Watanabe will not produce a miracle unfortunately ...
1988 ... an empty year in 1987 and a return to certain form in 1988. Acceleration of the tempo, return to solo mode, result of the races : return of success ! Certainly of average level but it's always better than nothing ...
1989 ... frankly a pity that she never tried pure dance because she had quite the potential for. This title is nice but lacks pep's, it's clear ...
1989 ... yet another title that will pass 'through'. A complicated 80s decade for the singer with great successes but also a bunch of titles that will go more or less unnoticed. Hard law of the trade ...
1991 ... she will attempt the transition to the 90s with this pretty cover of one of the flagship titles of the Starship group dating from 1987. The copy will not be worth the original but will approach it very closely with a level of success in the Charts not insignificant. A major success which will unfortunately be his last. But what a career !
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