A documentary about the “Killing Me Softly With His Song” singer is debuting at the DOCNYC Film Festival this week.
New York – A representative for Roberta Fleck announced Monday that the Grammy-winning musician has ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, and can no longer sing.
Flack’s manager Suzanne Kuga said in a release that the progressive disease “made singing impossible and speaking not easy.” “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 the feature-length documentary “Roberta,” which debuts at the DOCNYC Film Festival on Thursday.
Flack is known for such hits as “Killing Me Softly With His Song” and “The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face,” the latter of which catapulted him to stardom when Clint Eastwood cast him in his 1971 used as the soundtrack for a love scene in the film “Play for me Misty.”
The Grammy-winning singer and pianist, now 85, “intends to remain active in her musical and creative pursuits” through her eponymous foundation and other avenues, the release said.
The documentary, directed by Antonino D’Ambrosio, will be in competition at the festival and as part of PBS’s “American Masters” series before being televised on Jan. 24, a week later via DOCNYC’s website. will be available.
Flack plans to publish “The Green Piano: How Little Me Found Music,” a children’s book she co-wrote with Tonya Bolden, this month. Born in North Carolina, Flake was raised in Virginia, the daughter of pianists and was classically trained herself – her talents earned her a place at Howard University at just 15 years old.
Fleck was quoted in the release as saying, “I’ve long dreamed of telling kids my story about the first green piano my dad got for me from the junkyard in hopes that they would live up to their dreams. Will be encouraged to reach out.” “I want them to know that dreams can come true with persistence, encouragement from family and friends, and most of all, belief in themselves.”
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The television debut of the documentary and publication of the book begin in 2023, which will also be reissued to commemorate the 50th anniversary of her fourth album, “Killing Me Softly.” His label for the first three decades of his career, Atlantic Records, is also celebrating its 75th anniversary.
Fleck suffered a stroke in 2016. spoke to the Associated Press. About returning to perform after two years. When asked if she would sing her old hits at the upcoming event, she quickly replied: “There’s no such thing as an old hit,” preferring the term “classic” instead.
“I could sing all the songs that I’ve recorded over the years, easily, I could sing them, but I’m going to pick the songs that inspire me,” Flake said. “That’s hard to do now. To move, to be constantly animated by your own songs.”