Born in Asheville, North Carolina, and raised in Arlington,Virginia, Roberta Flack discovered her earliest musical influences from the church. The local AME Zion Church gave everyone the opportunity to get out of the house, but, as Roberta recalls, the music "didn't have the raunchy, wide-open, free, spontaneous, full-of-life thing that you could hear at the Baptist Church down the street."
With I AM…, Beyoncé reveals a variety of musical aspects and interests that may take her fans by surprise. Citing a range of influences including "folk songs and alternative songs and acoustic guitar…stuff that's different from what I sing," Beyoncé has produced, written, recorded and performed a finely crafted selection of contemporary ballads that combine the best elements of pop and soul music while expanding the possibilities of both genres.
Say the name "Chaka" and most folks in the know instantly think of a woman who has made an indelible and lasting impression on the music scene of the past three decades. First, as the lead singer of the massively successful R&B, funk and pop band Rufus, then as a solo artist in her own right who has influenced an entire generation of female vocalists (think Mary J. Blige, Erykah Badu, Ledisi, Maysa among others). Like Aretha, like Joni, like Tina, a first name will do.