2020 GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award
Recipient Roberta Flack
To be Honored by Recording Academy® in
GRAMMY Salute To Music Legends®” Special
October 16 on PBS
Music Legend’s Remastered Debut Album
First Take: 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition
With 12 Recordings Never Before Heard Just Released
The Recording Academy® will honor its 2020 Special Merit Awards recipients including Roberta Flack receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award with “Great Performances: GRAMMY Salute To Music Legends®,” an awards ceremony and tribute concert hosted by Jimmy Jam on Friday, Oct. 16, 2020, at 9 p.m. ET on PBS (check local listings), pbs.org/gperf and the PBS Video app.
“I’m very excited about receiving the GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award. I thank you from the bottom of my heart,” Flack said.
To honor Flack, Cynthia Erivo will perform “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” and “Where Is The Love,” with Leslie Odom, Jr. joining her on the latter.
Flack remains the first and only solo artist to win the GRAMMY Award for Record of the Year for two consecutive years (“The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” in 1973 and “Killing Me Softly With His Song” in 1974), and won two other GRAMMY Awards out of her total of 13 nominations. “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” became a hit nearly three years after it was issued on Flack’s debut album, First Take, after Clint Eastwood heard it on the radio and called Flack to ask her permission to use it in his debut as a film director, “Play Misty for Me.” It also won her the Song of the Year Grammy.
Announced earlier this year, the 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award honorees are Flack, Chicago, Isaac Hayes, Iggy Pop, John Prine, Public Enemy, and. Sister Rosetta Tharpe. Ken Ehrlich, Philip Glass and Frank Walker received Trustees Award honors, and George Augspurger was recognized with the Technical GRAMMY® Award. Mickey Smith Jr. will also accept the Music Educator Award™ as this year’s recipient.
Other performers on the special include Laurie Anderson, Philip Bailey, Brandi Carlile, Chris Isaak, Jason Isbell & Amanda Shires, Cyndi Lauper, Sam Moore, and Yola. Presenters include Rhiannon Giddens, Joe Mantegna, John Legend, LL COOL J, Greg Phillinganes, Henry Rollins, and Don Was.
Flack just released First Take: 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition which includes her No. 1 hit song “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.” In addition to remastered versions of the album’s eight original songs, the limited edition 2CD/1LP reissue includes three bonus tracks (“Compared To What” single edit, “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” single edit, and “Trade Winds”), a live version of “All The Way,” and 12 recordings never heard before including Flack’s performance of “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” “Groove Me,” “On The Street Where You Live,” “Afro Blue,” and “Frankie and Johnny.”
Uncut Magazine praises that it is “a debut of remarkable vision and maturity. As with so much of her music, its power lies in its restraint. And one thing hasn’t changed in 50 years: the harder you listen to her, the more you’re likely to get in return.” And American Songwriter notes, “Flack’s stunning voice sparkles in its clarity, her jazz-tinged piano playing shows just how gifted she is on the instrument and even with the low key program, there is no doubt that this is a major talent who has already found her voice before entering a studio. … her gifts are timeless. Anyone not acquainted with this iridescent album will quickly be floored by Flack’s maturity, control and professionalism on her earliest recorded material. It sounds as fresh, moving and inspired today as it did five decades ago.”
First Take: 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition is available now exclusively at SoulMusic.com, and will release to streaming outlets in the summer of 2021.
Flack is not just “an elegant and legendary vocal superstar” (Amazon). She is also a dedicated humanitarian, educational activist and social conscience who established her Roberta Flack Foundation to support aspiring creatives and causes she cares about. Flack experienced the support her foundation aims to foster. As a young girl growing up in rural Black Mountain, North Carolina, she was mentored by her family, teachers, church members, choir directors and many others that helped her realize and actualize her talents and dreams. She has never forgotten these people and has always maintained the importance of nurturing young people in realizing their dreams through education and mentorship, which is the cornerstone of the Roberta Flack Foundation.
At the age of 15, Flack earned a full music scholarship to Howard University – one of the youngest students ever to enter the legendary HBCU. She taught music in Washington, DC area junior high schools before being discovered by jazz pianist and singer Les McCann and signed to Atlantic Records. She is known worldwide for her #1 singles “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face,” “Killing Me Softly with His Song” (which topped the charts for five weeks) and “Feel Like Makin’ Love,” her hit duets with Donny Hathaway “Where Is the Love” and “The Closer I Get to You,” and such other hits as “Tonight I Celebrate My Love” (Peabo Bryson) and “Set the Night to Music” (Maxi Priest). In addition to her GRAMMY Awards, in 2019 Flack was given the prestigious Clark and Gwen Terry Courage Award from the Jazz Foundation of America, and in 2017 was presented with the Town Hall Friend of the Arts Award. She is considered one of the greatest songstresses of our time, effortlessly traversing a broad musical landscape over the years from pop to soul to folk to jazz with a voice the BBC describes as “a molten murmur [that] flexes into a cry as pure as a prayer, heartfelt as a confessional. It is elegantly tender, almost unbearably intimate.” For further information: www.robertaflack.com
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