AP Exclusive: Roberta Flack ready to sing again

NEW YORK — Once a week, Roberta Flack gives a musical performance for an exclusive group.

The lucky audience consists of a musical director, who works with the legend to keep her instrument — her voice — in top form. It would be an important exercise for any singer, but even more critical given that the 81-year-old singer had a stroke more than two years ago and suffered a collapse that led to a brief hospitalization earlier this year.

“I know what it is to go over the same songs over and over again, and to try to make them perfect. It’s interesting and it’s hard and it’s difficult at the same time,” Flack said in an exclusive interview with The Associated Press this week. “You have to stay on top of things.”

The public will get a chance to hear the result of those musical tuneups, courtesy of the Jazz Foundation of America, when it honours her Saturday.

“I am very excited about the event, to sing, and to perform. I’m just hoping that I can find the right song,” said Flack, whose long list of hits include “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face,” “Killing Me Softly with His Song” and “Feel Like Makin’ Love.”

The Jazz Foundation of America provides assistance of all types to musicians who have suffered setbacks, whether they’re medical, financial or both. It was set to give Flack its lifetime achievement award at the Apollo Theater at a concert featuring Cassandra Wilson, Alabama Shakes lead singer Brittany Howard, Nona Hendryx and more. But Flack collapsed backstage and was rushed to the hospital. The concert went on without her.

On Saturday, the foundation holds its annual loft party, where they will honour Flack again, and Flack is expected to sing — her first public performance in at least a …read more

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