Posts tagged Roberta Flack
“ …I belonged to an interesting church and my mom was the church organist. The choir director was a Howard University graduate, and many of the choir members were people who had graduated Howard or gone to school with him. That church, as we would say as young kids, was “uppity.” It was uppity because the church that Mahalia Jackson, Sam Cooke, the Soul Stirrers and the Five Blind Boys visited was not our church. That was Macedonia Baptist, down the street. I spent a lot of time as a young person going between churches. Actually, the first genre of music I was exposed to was not gospel music; my background was actually classical. But I loved gospel. What is there not to love? It doesn’t have to be something where people are shouting. It can be a song’s subtle embellishment, it can be the melisma that Whitney Houston brought to her pop music. Melisma is a gospel characteristic when you take a note that’s supposed to be da and go dahahahahahaha and add all those other notes up and down the scale. That is a beautiful experience and it’s also very moving…”
My influences were a lot of different kinds of people, but mostly Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway, Aretha Franklin, Barbra Streisand—I love the purity of her sound, the way she used words. That’s what I love about Roberta—the way she infused jazz and classical into R&B and blues and she used the words. It all paid off in the end…
more from Oleta Adams.