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Performances in Sarasota, Clearwater and Fort Lauderdale

With eight certified albums, Roberta Flack has sold more than ten million albums in the United States. Her songbook includes well-known R&B staples such as “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face,” “Killing Me Softly with His Song,” and “Feel Like Makin’ Love.” Even now, after being in the recording business for 45 years, her voice is so rich, melodic and unique that you’ll never forget seeing her in concert.RobertaFlack_copy2

Florida audiences have the chance to see Roberta Flack three times this month. First, she will be at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall in Sarasota on Wednesday, April 22 at 8 p.m. She will go on to perform at the Capitol Theatre in Clearwater on Thursday, April 23 at 7:30 p.m., followed by a final performance in Fort Lauderdale at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts on Friday, April 24 at 8 p.m.

Tickets are on sale right now for all three of Roberta Flack’s concerts and are priced starting at $45 (Sarasota), $55 (Clearwater), and $29.50 (Fort Lauderdale). Tickets can be purchased in person from each venue’s box office and also in advance by going to the venues online: vanwezel.org, rutheckerdhall.com and browardcenter.org.

Recently I had the chance to talk to Roberta Flack for an exclusive Hotspots interview about her career and her upcoming Florida concerts.

Welcome back to Florida! Tell me about the things and people you must see when you’re down here.

You know, I used to live in Florida, a long time and many memories ago. I have a lot of friends in the Miami area. I played there a few years ago and Gloria and Emilio Estefan and their beautiful daughters came to my show. We had a good time. One of them is a drummer and was living in Roberta_Flack_VBO_CoverBoston and going to the Berklee School of Music.

Please tell us about your upcoming concerts. What should Florida audiences expect to hear from you?

I can’t give away all of my secrets! I’ll do some hits that you know, I hope. I recently recorded an album of songs written by The Beatles and I’ll do some of those for you. There are surprises too. Some new ones and some old favorites of mine.

Do you find yourself being inspired by young artists who are out there today?

Of course. Creativity and honest expression are always inspiring, don’t you think? Bruno Mars reminds me of my friend who has now passed on. You guess who I’m talking about? Also, have you seen Alabama Shakes?

You have released many memorable songs throughout the course of your career. Which ones are your favorites and why?

Different ones are favorites at different times of my life. In February I sang “First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” and it made me cry because of something I am going through. [I love] the songs I sang as duets, with Donny Hathaway, Peabo Bryson, and Luther Vandross. Then there’s my recent project I did of Beatles songs, arguably some of the greatest songs written in our time.

I wrote a song with my good friend Maya from the Oasis album. It’s called “And So It Goes.” I love that song. Creating it was an experience I cherish.

A reader question: “What was it like to create music with the late Donny Hathaway?”RobertaFlack_copy1

You know that I am good friends with his daughter Donita. She works with India.Arie, another good friend of mine. Donny was one of the most talented people I’ve ever met. His voice remains one of the greatest in popular music, don’t you think? I wonder what he would be doing now if he were still with us.

You sang the theme song to one of the earliest mainstream gay romance films, Making Love. Were you ever afraid to associate yourself with an endeavor that was so controversial for that time?

Afraid of singing a song about love? Never. I was so glad when that song charted. People who did not know that the song was about love between two men loved that song. I would talk about it in my shows, and about how love is love. Between a man and a woman, between two men, between two women. Love is universal, like music. I always say, “Love is a song.”

There have been many positive advancements in LGBT rights over the past few years in the U.S. Now that gay marriage is more or less a settled topic, what or whom should the LGBT community advocate for next?

Well, now I have to stop and think. As we all move towards being seen for who we are rather than what we look like on the outside, we need to reach out to help those who still are not. The transgender population. The homeless people. Homeless children. You know that I founded a school of music in 2006? I founded it so that children in The Bronx would have the chance to have music in their lives. As our lives change, we must reach out to help others who need us.

Do you have any upcoming projects in the works?

Yes. I will be putting out a new project in the next year. Maybe I’ll try out a song or two at my concert! Thank you for loving and supporting me. See you soon!

For more information on Roberta Flack, visit robertaflack.com.

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Mike Halterman
Mike Halterman has been the editor of Hotspots Central since its launch in July 2016. He joined the Hotspots Media Group family as editor of Hotspots' South Florida magazine in June 2013. A former "40 Under 40" honoree in The Advocate magazine, Mike lives in the Tampa Bay area.