It's a marriage made in music heaven: one of the most revered voices of our time meeting some of the most treasured songs in pop history.
Let It Be Roberta features four-time Grammy winner Roberta Flack interpreting a dozen Beatles songs on her first new U.S. album in more than eight years.
Flack, best known for performing such groundbreaking hits as "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" and "Killing Me Softly With His Song," has always loved the lads from Liverpool — and, yes, she thought she could "take those songs where they had not gone before." That said, it's tough to compete with the originals.
"I think the Beatles are some of the greatest songwriters forever and ever," she says, before adding they do take a backseat to one other composer: "I don't think anybody outwrote Mozart."
The Fab Four's Paul McCartney has already given his blessing to her project. The two happened to be recording at a New York studio at the same time and "somebody took my tracks of 'Hey Jude' or 'Yesterday' and asked him to listen and he did and he likes it," Flack says with delight.
McCartney told Flack so himself when she went to see him perform. She marvels at McCartney's teenage-like enthusiasm and energy. "This is a guy who's on stage for three hours. Please. Give me a break," she says. "He plays on every song, he sings on every song. He's a genius musician."
Some would say the same of Flack. She attended Washington, D.C.'s Howard University on a music scholarship at age 15 and soon became a favorite among artists and fans alike. Though she's been away from the recording studio, Flack has never stopped singing. She's maintained a touring schedule and has shared stages with fellow R&B divas Alicia Keys, India.Arie and Angie Stone. Her 2012 tour starts Jan. 26 in Daytona Beach, Fla., while her new album will be released Feb. 7.