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Cole, Natalie

Natalie Cole

1950—

Singer, songwriter, actress

Inheriting a beautiful voice from her famous father, Natalie Cole has sold millions of records worldwide. During the 1970s she sang on six major albums and collected several Grammy Awards. In the midst of this successful recording career she became addicted to drugs. After a long battle, she again rose to the top of the charts in 1991 with her hugely successful album, Unforgettable… With Love It became "the most significant album of the decade," according to Earl Calloway of the Chicago Defender, and made Cole a superstar in her own right. She continued to develop as an artist; she even broke free of the jazz standards that made her famous, with her 2006 album Leavin' on which she explored classic rhythm and blues and pop favorites.

Born to Famous Singers

Natalie Cole was born to singers Maria Hawkins Cole and Nat King Cole on February 6, 1950 in Los Angeles, California. She was one of five children and although Mr. and Mrs. Cole had already adopted a niece, Carol (Cookie), Natalie was their first biological child. She was first called Stephanie, but the couple soon changed her name to Natalie. The Coles later adopted a son, Kelly, and in 1961 their twin girls, Casey and Timolin, were born. Nat Cole began calling Natalie "Sweetie," a name she is still known by among family and close friends.

Even though her parents hoped she would not go into show business, Cole developed an interest in music. Not only was her father a famous singer, her mother had been a successful singer with the bands of leaders Benny Carter, Duke Ellington, and Fletcher Henderson. Maria Cole also sang and recorded duets with her husband. Natalie's uncle, Eddie Coles, was a successful musician as well.

Cole's early life could be described as that of a princess in a musical world. Shortly before she was born, her parents had bought a house in the elite Hancock Park section of Los Angeles. They were the first black family to do so in the still-discriminatory 1950s, causing a considerable stir in the exclusive neighborhood. When Cole was growing up her parents experienced racial discrimination and her father received threats. He sometimes performed with police officers on stage. Young Natalie was unaware of the difficulties; Maria and Nat Cole successfully shielded their children from these problems.

Visitors to the Hancock Park house frequently included singers, musicians, songwriters, and other people related to music and show business. Pearl Bailey, Aretha Franklin, Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Nancy Wilson, Carmen McRae, Duke Ellington, and Count Basie were just a few. Natalie recalled to Jet, "Not only did I meet and get to know some of these great singers and musicians, but I fondly recall addressing them as ‘aunt’ and ‘uncle.’"

When Cole was as young as three-and-a-half her father would take her and Cookie to the studio when he worked. One day he announced his intention to have her and Cookie record. But he told reporters that young Natalie often yawned while singing so he did not know if they would be successful in recording a song. Cole was six when she sang on a Christmas album, and a year later both she and Cookie sang with their father on "Ain't She Sweet."

Even though she had been singing informally since she was three Cole told David Wild in Rolling Stone, "I had a really horrid voice early on." But when she was 11 she began to practice singing and recording popular songs on a tape recorder her father had given her. She proved her ability to Nat Cole when at the age of 11 she sang Ella Fitzgerald's hit, "Undecided." Not only was her father delighted with her voice, he was also surprised that she had chosen a jazz song over what seemed to be her greatest interest, rock ‘n’ roll.

Cole's interest in music had not been restricted to her father's crooning ballads and jazz. Like many kids of the 1960s she had developed a taste for rock ‘n’ roll. Even though her father did not care for it, he brought home the records she requested, slipping jazz titles in the stack with the Beatles. Ironically, when the Beatles' "I Want To Hold Your Hand" topped the pop charts, her father's "That Sunday That Summer" was also there.

In 1961 Cole made her professional singing debut with her father in "I'm With You" at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles. Despite her famous father she had to audition for the part. Cole enjoyed her stage experience and as an adolescent formed and sang in a jazz group, the Malibu Music Men. Even though she had made her debut she did not turn to professional singing. She attended boarding school in the East until age 15 when her father passed away. Cole and her father had enjoyed a special closeness and she took his death from lung cancer very hard. She returned home from school to be with her family. Her father had tried to steer her into medicine or law and his death served as the stimulus she needed to seriously consider medicine as a career.

Developed Her Own Musical Taste

Cole later moved to Massachusetts when her mother remarried and relocated the family. Cole worked as a receptionist and pursued her interest in rock ‘n’ roll by attending rock concerts. She enrolled in the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1968. Typical of young people during the sixties she became involved in partying and drug experimentation. Cole worked as a waitress during the summer of 1971, but found herself singing with the house band before long. She performed with Black Magic at small local clubs and although she did not like it, the club owners insisted on using "Nat King Cole's daughter" as a draw.

Cole graduated from the University of Massachusetts in 1972 with a bachelor degree in child psychology. Instead of pursuing a related professional career, she had found that performing was her first love. She worked at developing her own style as a solo singer, singing only a few of her father's songs, and aiming more for a combination of rock, jazz, and soul. In 1973 she debuted in New York, singing at Shepheard's, and then later at Madison Square Garden.

At a Glance …

Born on February 6, 1950, in Los Angeles, CA, daughter of Nat King Cole and Marie Hawkins Ellington Cole; married Marvin Yancy 1976 (divorced); married Andre Fischer 1989 (divorced); children: Robert Adam Yancy. Education: University of Massachusetts, BA 1972.

Career:

"I'm With You," Greek Theater, Los Angeles (debut performance), singer, 1961; solo artist 1973; Capitol Records, singer, 1975-1987; Elektra, singer 1987-1990s; Verve Records, singer, 2000(?)-.

Awards:

2 Grammy Awards, 1975; Grand Prix Award 5th Tokyo Music Festival, 1976; 1 Grammy Award 1976; Soul Train Best Single (Female) Award, 1987; Soul Train Best Single (Female) Award, 1992; NARAS MusiCares Person of the Year, 1992; 3 Grammy Awards, 1992; 3 NAACP Image Awards, 1992; 2 American Music Awards, 1992; Grammy Award, 1993; Honorary degree from Berklee College of Music, 1995; Grammy Award, 1996; Urban League, Whitney M. Young, Jr. Award, 2000.

Addresses:

Web—www.nataliecole.com.

A turning point came in 1974 when Cole connected with two songwriters and producers from Chicago—Chuck Jackson and Marvin Yancy. They had seen her perform at a nightclub there and sent some of their songs to Cole. After having her make a demo tape they tried to get her a recording contract, but their efforts were unsuccessful until Capitol Records made an offer. She wished to avoid comparisons to her father by signing with a label other than his. However, in 1975 she recorded her first album, Inseparable, with Capitol. It was the start of a rapid rise to stardom for Cole when it went gold, selling over 500,000 copies. Two songs from that LP, "Inseparable" and "This Will Be" were hits that reached both the pop and rhythm-and-blues charts with "This Will Be" reaching the Top 10. She received two Grammys at the 1976 awards ceremony for New Artist of the Year and for Best Female Rhythm and Blues Vocal Performance. She performed "This Will Be" for the audience.

Career Blossomed

In 1976 Cole released Natalie, which had a hit single, "Sophisticated Lady." She co-wrote the rhythm-and-blues song with Jackson and Yancy, and for it she won her second Grammy for Best Female Rhythm-and-Blues Vocal Performance in 1977. It can be difficult for an artist in any genre to top a previous hit, and even though Natalie also went gold it did not receive the acclaim of Inseparable.

Cole had been raised in her mother's Episcopalian tradition, but during this time she made the decision to embrace the Baptist denomination. Cole was drawn to the church-oriented lifestyle of an aunt, Evelyn Coles, during a visit to Chicago. While there she also became better acquainted with Marvin Yancy, who was a Baptist minister, in addition to being a songwriter and producer. They married in 1976. Yancy divided his time between his congregation at the Fountain of Life Baptist Church in Chicago and his work in New York. For the most part, he did not accompany Cole when she toured. Their son Robert Adam Yancy was born in 1978.

Cole's third album, Thankful, was released in 1977. It was a resounding success and went platinum, selling over a million copies. The single from that album, "Our Love," was a hit that reached the top five of both the pop and soul charts. Cole recorded Unpredictable later that year, which also went platinum, as did her hit single, "I've Got Love On My Mind."

Natalie Cole's star continued to rise, and in 1978 she hosted an hour-long special on CBS. She also released her fifth album, Natalie Live, a two-record set that went gold. In the fall she gave a sold-out concert at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York. Cole had worked hard to perfect her rhythm and blues style and was successful in both the pop and blues arenas. She was often compared to Aretha Franklin, who had been considered the Queen of Soul by the music industry and fans since the 1960s. Cole was influenced by Franklin's gospel-flavored style. When she began to forge her way in the music industry she first concentrated on rock ‘n’ roll, inspired by Janis Joplin, the Beatles, Jefferson Airplane, and Stevie Wonder, but she found herself drawn to Franklin's music. However, Franklin did not have the corner on soul—Cole had grown up surrounded by great black song stylists like Billie Holiday, Carmen McRae, Sarah Vaughan, and Ella Fitzgerald, all of whom influenced her music tastes and eventual style. Despite comparisons many critics and writers acknowledged voice and stylistic differences as well. It was said those comparisons did not sit well with Aretha Franklin and even caused a feud between the two singers.

In 1979, Cole explored another facet of recording by collaborating with soul singer Peabo Bryson. The resulting duet album We're the Best of Friends went gold. She also released I Love You So that year and it went gold. Natalie Cole seemed headed for the legendary fame her father had achieved but those very demands her parents had referred to were taking a toll on her personal life and career. Despite her achievements she was plagued by self doubt. This coupled with her intense recording and touring schedule had led to a dependence on drugs. Just as other performance artists have found through the years, chemical dependency led to self-destruction as well as the destruction of live performances. Cole had basked in fan adoration and yet she felt she was not worthy of their praise and of her success. She told Richard Harrington of the Washington Post, "As my success escalated, so did the drug problem." During this time Cole had bitter fights with her record company, and her relationships with her manager and other music professionals became strained. She remembered to Essence Her world crashed around her as album sales dropped, her performances were highly criticized, and her marriage disintegrated. She and Yancy separated in 1979, but he continued to produce her records.

Drug Addiction Nearly Ruined Her Career

By 1983 Cole's career was in ruins and she was unable to go on. She made several unsuccessful attempts to overcome her drug addiction and her mother had been put in charge of her estate by the court. Maria Cole was also caring for Natalie's son. In November of 1983 Cole entered the Hazelden drug-treatment center in Minnesota. It took her six months to recover. Later, she told Alan Carter in Redbook, "I will never get to that point again."

An album Cole had recorded during this difficult period and right before entering Hazelden, I'm Ready, was released in 1983 despite her protests over the title. She felt it was at great odds with her physical and mental condition of the time. The album sales were disappointing at only 40,000 copies sold. After her release from the clinic she set about reestablishing her career, and regaining the approval of her fans. Her next release, Dangerous, was also disappointing although it had sales of almost 150,000 copies.

It was not until 1987 that Cole's career reached the heights of success again. She had signed with a new label, and her LP Everlasting yielded three hit singles with "Jump Start," "I Live For Your Love," and "Pink Cadillac." "Pink Cadillac" was rocker Bruce Springsteen's song; Cole's rhythm-and-blues treatment sent it into the top five of the charts in the United States and England.

On another positive note, Cole married record producer Andre Fischer in 1989 and became a stepmother to his three children. Cole also hosted a talent show, "Big Break," helping new performers to break into the business.

Recorded Her Father's Music

While Cole had done a few of her father's songs in her performances, she had avoided focusing on them and his style. But later, she performed more of his songs, comfortable that she had finally established her own style and identity. Audience acceptance and favorable comparison to her father encouraged her, and in the early nineties she revealed a desire that she had had for some time—to record an entire album of her father's songs. Her desired project was met with skepticism, but the resulting album in 1991, Unforgettable… With Love, was a huge crossover success that went platinum many times over. Not only did Cole sing her father's songs, but "Unforgettable" was done with the help of technology with the original recording and Natalie's singing and orchestra accompaniment blended together to sound as if father and daughter actually sang a duet. The album and song earned Cole three Grammy awards, including Best Traditional Pop Performance, Album of the Year, and Record of the Year. It also brought Cole two American Music Awards. The album was recorded in the same Capitol studio that her father used. She toured much of 1992 promoting the album and giving performances. When she could she spent time with her family and worked with charities, including the Children's Diabetes Foundation, the Rainforests Foundation, the American Red Cross, the Minority AIDS Project, and the Permanent Charities Committee, an entertainment industry effort.

Her schedule was equally full in 1993. Early in the year Cole made her television dramatic acting debut in "I'll Fly Away," an NBC series. In March of that year, she sang at the Academy Awards show and by spring she had released a recording in the same vein of Unforgettable… With Love, except this album, Take A Look, held a collection of songs her father's friends and acquaintances had made famous. She told Jet, "This album actually is the album that I've always wanted to do and that is an album of jazz standards with great stuff that my dad turned me on to when I was about 10 or 11 years old." Take A Look, with its jazz-oriented sound sold just under 500,000 copies and appealed to a smaller consumer base than Unforgettable… With Love, which had become a multiplatinum album with more than 14 million copies sold.

Enjoyed Newfound Success

Cole branched into new performance venues in 1994. In January she sang the national anthem, accompanied by the Atlanta University Center chorus, at the Super Bowl and received much acclaim. In February she traveled to Sun City, South Africa, to perform in her own show. She was the first African American to perform since the country was desegregated.

Her jazz-flavored Christmas album, Holly and Ivy, was also released in 1994. Although she had not been planning to do a holiday album, she received a song from a friend that started the process. She told Jet, "Michael [Masser] called and said, ‘I've got this beautiful Christmas song I wrote just for you.’ He played it for me, and it was beautiful and then we thought, why not put out a whole album.…then I was running around in April, looking for Christmas songs." The album received favorable reviews, and Cole performed songs from it when she starred on an episode of PBS TV's "Great Performances." Also in 1994 Natalie played the title role in the USA cable network movie, Lily In Winter. It was her television movie-acting debut. Of the experience Cole revealed to Jet, "Acting is probably one of the least glamorous jobs in Hollywood."

Seeking the huge success of Unforgettable… With Love, Cole released Stardust in the fall of 1996. Once again and with the help of technology, Cole sang with her late father on "When I Fall In Love." (The song won Cole another Grammy Award for best pop collaboration.) Not wanting the album to be another version of Unforgettable… With Love, Cole and her producers Phil Ramone, David Foster, and George Duke chose songs recorded by various artists, and not just her father. Of the songs, Cole told J.R. Reynolds of Billboard, "The songs are more sculpted than those on Unforgettable, and vocally, they have more drama." Her label, Elektra, sought to not only reach the massive audience appeal of Unforgettable… With Love, but to also appeal to international consumers and broaden her fan base. Selected tracks on the album were recorded in several different languages, including Portuguese, Italian, and French. Cole told Reynolds, "I'm just lucky that I pick up foreign languages fairly easily." Several television guest shots, and an international tour schedule in 1997 followed the album's release.

Searched for New Direction

By the late 1990s Cole had found herself pigeonholed as a performer. "People seem to always think of me as a jazz performer," Cole told the Seattle publication, the Skanner. "But I've always said I sing jazz, but I'm not a jazz singer." She explained that with Unforgettable… she had been attempting "to make a transition to jazz there, not stay in it for the rest of my life." While she acknowledged that the success of Unforgettable… had given her "the kind of opportunities that few artists ever get to have," as she told Rita Charleston of the Philadelphia Tribune, Cole wanted to "keep reinventing myself." To try to break out of the pigeonhole in which she had found herself, Cole recorded "the kind of pop and R&B I did when I was starting out" for her 1999 album Snowfall on the Sahara, as she told the Skanner. The album included renditions of songs from such different artists a Roberta Flack and Taj Mahal.

Cole published her autobiography, An Angel on my Shoulder, in 2000. The book was a long time in coming. Before writing it, Cole had to gain a perspective on her life that only time could give. Written after 15 years of sobriety and recovering from her second failed marriage, Cole offered readers a candid look at her life. Yet the writing was not easy. "Even after all these years, I had many moments of anxiety, anger and grief when I recalled certain things. It's almost like you're back to the day it happened," Cole explained to Melba Newsome of HealthQuest.

But Cole had clearly moved on, and with her personal life in order, she continued to nurture her career. She released a jazz album in 2002 called Ask a Woman Who Knows, with covers of music by Dinah Washington and Sarah Vaughan, among others. She also branched into acting, appearing episodes of Grey's Anatomy, Touched by an Angel, and Studio 60.

For her 2006 album, Leavin', Cole again signaled her interest in moving on. Again moving away from the jazz that made her famous, Cole worked to put her own stamp on others' pop and rhythm-and-blues songs. She also involved herself in all aspects of production—"up to my hairline," as she said on her Web site—making critical decisions to create an album that introduced her new direction. For the album Cole covered such disparate artists as Fiona Apple, Etta James, Neil Simon, and Sting. She also covered Aretha Franklin's "Day Dreaming," the first of Franklin's songs that Cole had ever recorded. Citing Franklin as her "musical mentor," Cole expressed hope that Franklin approved of her rendition of the song, which earned Cole a Grammy nomination. Cole's intentional approach to Leavin' seemed to signal that she knew exactly where she was going and that her fans might want to join her.

Selected works

Books

An Angel on my Shoulder, 2000. Recordings Inseparable, (includes "Inseparable" and "This Will Be"), Capitol, 1975.

Natalie, (includes "Sophisticated Lady"), Capitol, 1976.

Unpredictable, Capitol, 1977.

Thankful, (includes "Our Love"), Capitol, 1977.

Natalie…Live!, Capitol, 1978.

I Love You So, Capitol, 1979.

We're The Best Of Friends (with Peabo Bryson), Capitol, 1979.

Don't Look Back, Capitol, 1980.

Happy Love, Capitol, 1981.

I'm Ready, Capitol, 1983.

Everlasting, (includes "Jump Start," "I Live For Your Love," and "Pink Cadillac"), Elektra, 1987.

Good To Be Back, Elektra, 1989.

Unforgettable… With Love, (includes "Unforgettable"), Elektra, 1991.

Take a Look, Elektra, 1993.

Holly and Ivy, Elektra, 1994.

Stardust, Elektra, 1996.

Snowfall on the Sahara, Elektra, 1999.

Ask a Woman Who Knows, Verve, 2002.

Leavin', Verve, 2006.

Sources

Books

Gourse, Leslie, Unforgettable: The Life and Mystique of Nat King Cole, St. Martin's Press, 1991.

Press, Skip, Natalie & Nat King Cole, Skip Press, Crestwood House, 1995.

Periodicals

Billboard, August 31, 1996, p. 9.

Chicago Defender, April 7, 2001, p. 17.

Ebony, December 1999, p. 190.

HealthQuest, January 31, 2001, p. 12.

Jet, July 5, 1993, p. 57; November 22, 1993; December 19, 1994, pp. 38, 40.

Philadelphia Tribune, October 13, 2006, p. E4.

Redbook, October 1993, p. 153.

Rolling Stone, September 19, 1991, p. 19.

Washington Post, April 30, 1986, p. C1.

On-line

Natalie Cole: Official Website,www.nataliecole.com (March 28, 2007).

Other

Additional information for this profile was obtained from the liner notes for the Unforgettable… With Love CD.

—Sandy J. Stiefer, Allison M. Marion, and Sara Pendergast

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Cole, Natalie 1950–

Natalie Cole 1950

Singer, songwriter, actress

Developed An Interest In Singing

Made Professional Debut

A String of Successful Albums

Struggled to Make Comeback

The Unforgettable Success

Selected discography

Sources

Inheriting a beautiful voice from her famous father, Natalie Cole has sold millions of records worldwide. During the 1970s she sang on six major albums and collected several Grammy Awards. In the midst of this successful recording career she became addicted to drugs. After a long battle, she again rose to the top of the charts with her hugely successful album, Unforgetable With Love.

Natalie Cole was born to singers Maria Hawkins Cole and Nat King Cole on February 6, 1950 in Los Angeles, California. She was one of five children and although Mr. and Mrs. Cole had already adopted a niece, Carol (Cookie), Natalie was their first biological child. She was first called Stephanie, but the couple soon changed her name to Natalie. The Coles later adopted a son, Kelly, and in 1961 their twin girls, Casey and Timolin, were born. Nat Cole began calling Natalie Sweetie, a name she is still known by among family and close friends.

Developed An Interest In Singing

Even though her parents hoped she would not go into show business Cole developed an interest in music. Not only was her father a famous singer, her mother had been a successful singer with the bands of leaders Benny Carter, Duke Ellington, and Fletcher Henderson. Maria Cole also sang and recorded duets with her husband. Natalies uncle, Eddie Coles, was a successful musician as well.

Coles early life could be described as that of a princess in a musical world. Shortly before she was born, her parents had bought a house in the elite Hancock Park section of Los Angeles. They were the first black family to do so in the still-discriminatory 1950s, causing a considerable stir in the exclusive neighborhood. When Cole was growing up her parents experienced racial discrimination and her father received threats. He sometimes performed with police officers on stage. Young Natalie was unaware of the difficulties; Maria and Nat Cole successfully shielded their children from these problems.

Visitors to the the Hancock Park house frequently included singers, musicians, songwriters, and other people related to music and show business. Pearl Bailey, Aretha Franklin, Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, Ella

At a Glance

Born February 6, 1950 in Los Angeles, California, daughter of Nat King Cole and Marie Hawkins Ellington Cole; married Marvin Yancy 1976, divorced, children: Robert Adam Yancy; married Andre Fischer 1989, divorced. Education: University of Massachusetts, B.A. 1972. Religion: Baptist.

Career: Cast of Im With You, 1961; debuted as solo artist 1973; signed with Capitol Records, 1975; Hosted Big Break 1989; Worked on Just Say No anti-drug campaign, 1989; Signed with Elektra 1987; Starred in episode of Great Performances, Natalie Coles Untraditional Traditional Christmas; Acted in television movie, Lily In Winter for USA Cable network, 1994; worked for several charities, including AIDS Project LA., American Red Cross, Childrens Diabetes Foundation, Minority AIDS Project, NARAS MusiCares, Permanent Charities Committee, and the Rainforests Foundation.

Selected awards: Two Grammy Awards, 1976; Grand Prix Award 5th Tokyo Music Festival, 1976; Grammy Award 1977; Soul Train Best Single (Female) Award, 1987; Grammy nomination, 1987; Grammy nomination, 1989; Soul Train BestSingle (Female) Award, 1992; NARAS MusiCares Person of the Year, 1992; Seven Grammy Awards, 1992; Three NAACP Image Awards, 1992; Two American Music Awards, 1992; Honorary degree from Berklee College of Music, 1995.

Addresses: Record company Elektra Entertainment, Time Warner Communications Inc., 75 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10019; 345 North Maple Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210. Agent William Morris Agency, 151 El Camino Drive, Beverly Hill, CA 90212-2704.

Fitzgerald, Nancy Wilson, Carmen McRae, Duke Ellington, and Count Basie were just a few. Natalie recalled to Jet, Not only did I meet and get to know some of these great singers and musicians, but I fondly recall addressing them as aunt and uncle.

When Cole was as young as three-and-a-half her father would take her and Cookie to the studio when he worked. One day he announced his intention to have her and Cookie record. But he told reporters that young Natalie often yawned while singing so he did not know if they would be successful in recording a song. Cole was six when she sang on a Christmas album, and a year later both she and Cookie sang with their father on Aint She Sweet.

Even though she had been singing informally since she was three Cole told David Wild in Rolling Stone, I had a really horrid voice early on. But when she was 11 she began to practice singing and recording popular songs on a tape recorder her father had given her. She proved her ability to Nat Cole when at the age of 11 she sang Ella Fitzgeralds hit, Undecided. Not only was her father delighted with her voice, he was also surprised that she had chosen a jazz song over what seemed to be her greatest interest, rock n roll.

Coles interest in music had not been restricted to her fathers crooning ballads and jazz. Like many kids of the sixties she had developed a taste for rock n roll. Even though her father did not care for it, he brought home the records she requested, slipping jazz titles in the stack with the Beatles. Ironically, when the Beatles I Want To Hold Your Hand topped the pop charts, her fathers That Sunday That Summer was also there.

Made Professional Debut

In 1961 Cole made her professional singing debut with her father in Im With You at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles. Despite her famous father she had to audition for the part. Cole enjoyed her stage experience and as an adolescent formed and sang in a jazz group, the Malibu Music Men. Even though she had made her debut she did not turn to professional singing. She attended boarding school in the East until age 15 when her father died. Cole and her father had enjoyed a special closeness and she took his death from lung cancer very hard. She returned home from school to be with her family. Her father had tried to steer her into medicine or law and his death served as the stimulus she needed to seriously consider medicine as a career.

Cole later moved to Massachusetts when her mother remarried and relocated the family. Cole worked as a receptionist and pursued her interest in rock n roll by attending rock concerts. She enrolled in the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1968. Typical of young people during the sixties she became involved in partying and drug experimentation. Cole worked as a waitress during the summer of 1971, but found herself singing with the house band before long. She performed with Black Magic at small local clubs and although she did not like it, the club owners insisted on using Nat King Coles daughter as a draw.

Cole graduated from the University of Massachusetts in 1972 with a bachelor degree in child psychology. Instead of pursuing a related professional career, she had found that performing was her first love. She worked at developing her own style as a solo singer, singing only a few of her fathers songs, and aiming more for a combination of rock, jazz, and soul. In 1973 she debuted in New York, singing at Shepheards, and then later at Madison Square Garden.

A String of Successful Albums

A turning point came in 1974 when Cole connected with two songwriters and producers from ChicagoChuck Jackson and Marvin Yancy. They had seen her perform at a nightclub there and sent some of their songs to Cole. After having her make a demo tape they tried to get her a recording contract, but their efforts were unsuccessful until Capitol Records made an offer. She wished to avoid comparisons to her father by signing with a label other than his. However, in 1975 she recorded her first album, Inseparable, with Capitol. It was the start of a rapid rise to stardom for Cole when it went gold, selling over 500,000 copies. Two songs from that LP, Inseparable and This Will Be were hits that reached both the pop and rhythm-and-blues charts with This Will Be reaching the Top 10. She received two Grammys at the 1976 awards ceremony for New Artist of the Year and for Best Female Rhythm and Blues Vocal Performance. She performed This Will Be for the audience.

In 1976 Cole released Natalie, which had a hit single, Sophisticated Lady. She co-wrote the rhythm-and-blues song with Jackson and Yancy, and for it she won her second Grammy for Best Female Rhythm-and-Blues Vocal Performance in 1977. It can be difficult for an artist in any genre to top a previous hit, and even though Natalie also went gold it did not receive the acclaim of Inseparable.

Cole had been raised in her mothers Episcopalian religion, but during this time she made the decision to embrace the Baptist faith. Cole was drawn to the church-oriented lifestyle of her aunt, Evelyn Coles during a visit to Chicago. While there she also became better acquainted with Marvin Yancy, who was a Baptist minister, in addition to being a songwriter and producer. They married in 1976. Yancy divided his time between his congregation at the Fountain of Life Baptist Church in Chicago and his work in New York. For the most part, he did not accompany Cole when she toured. Their son Robert Adam Yancy was born in 1978.

Coles third album, Thankful, was released in 1977. It was a resounding success and went platinum, selling over a million copies. The single from that album, Our Love, was a hit that reached the top five of both the pop and soul charts. Cole recorded Unpredictable later that year, which also went platinum, as did her hit single, Ive Got Love On My Mind.

Natalie Coles star continued to rise, and in 1978 she hosted an hour-long special on CBS. She also released her fifth album, Natalie Live, a two-record set that went gold. In the fall she gave a sold-out concert at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York. Cole had worked hard to perfect her rhythm and blues style and was successful in both the pop and blues arenas. She was often compared to Aretha Franklin, who had been considered the Queen of Soul by the music industry and fans since the 1960s. Natalie was influenced by Franklins gospel-flavored style. When she began to forge her way in the music industry she first concentrated on rock-and-roll, inspired by Janis Joplin, the Beatles, Jefferson Airplane, and Stevie Wonder, but she found herself drawn to Franklins music. However, Franklin did not have the corner on soulNatalie had grown up surrounded by great black song stylists like Billie Holiday, Carmen McRae, Sarah Vaughan, and Ella Fitzgerald, all of whom influenced her music tastes and eventual style. Despite comparisons many critics and writers acknowledged voice and stylistic differences as well. It was said those comparisons did not sit well with Aretha Franklin and even caused a feud between the two singers.

In 1979, Cole explored another facet of recording by collaborating with soul singer Peabo Bryson. The resulting duet album Were the Best of Friends went gold. She also released I Love You So that year and it went gold. Natalie Cole seemed headed for the legendary fame her father had achieved but those very demands her parents had referred to were taking a toll on her personal life and career. Despite her achievements she was plagued by self doubt. This coupled with her intense recording and touring schedule had led to a dependence on drugs. Just as other performance artists have found through the years, chemical dependency led to self-destruction as well as the destruction of live performances. Cole had basked in fan adoration and yet she felt she was not worthy of their praise and of her success. She told Richard Harrington of the Washington Post, As my success escalated, so did the drug problem. During this time Cole had bitter fights with her record company, and her relationships with her manager and other music professionals became strained. Her world crashed around her as album sales dropped, her performances were highly criticized, and her marriage disintegrated. She and Yancy separated in 1979, but he continued to produce her records.

Struggled to Make Comeback

By 1983 Coles career was in ruins and she was unable to go on. She made several unsuccessful attempts to overcome her drug addiction and her mother had been put in charge of her estate by the court. Maria Cole was also caring for Natalies son. In November of 1983 Cole entered the Hazelden drug-treatment center in Minnesota. It took her six months to recover. Later, she told Alan Carter in Redbook, I will never get to that point again.

An album Cole had recorded during this difficult period and right before entering Hazelden, Im Ready, was released in 1983 despite her protests over the title. She felt it was at great odds with her physical and mental condition of the time. The album sales were disappointing at only 40,000 copies sold. After her release from the clinic she set about reestablishing her career, and regaining the approval of her fans. Her next release, Dangerous, was also disappointing although it had sales of almost 150,000 copies.

It was not until 1987 that Coles career reached the heights of success again. She had signed with a new label, and her LP Everlasting yielded three hit singles with Jump Start, I Live For Your Love, and Pink Cadillac. Pink Cadillac was rocker Bruce Springsteens song; Coles rhythm-and-blues treatment sent it into the top five of the charts in the United States and England.

On another positive note, Cole married record producer Andre Fischer in 1989 and became a stepmother to his three children. Cole also hosted a talent show, Big Break, helping new performers to break into the business.

The Unforgettable Success

While Cole had done a few of her fathers songs in her performances, she had avoided focusing on them and his style. But later, she performed more of his songs, comfortable that she had finally established her own style and identity. Audience acceptance and favorable comparison to her father encouraged her, and in the early nineties she revealed a desire that she had had for some timeto record an entire album of her fathers songs. Her desired project was met with skepticism, but the resulting album in 1991, Unforgettable With Love, was a huge crossover success that went platinum many times over. Not only did Cole sing her fathers songsUnforgettable was done with the help of technology with the original recording and Natalies singing and orchestra accompaniment blended together to sound as if father and daughter actually sang a duet. The album and song resulted in seven Grammy awards, including Best Traditional Pop Performance, Album, Record, Song, and Producer of the Year. It also brought Cole two American Music Awards. The album was recorded in the same Capitol studio that her father used. She toured much of 1992 promoting the album and giving performances. When she could she spent time with her family and worked with charities, including the Childrens Diabetes Foundation, the Rainforests Foundation, the American Red Cross, the Minority AIDS Project, and the Permanent Charities Committee, an entertainment industry effort.

Her schedule was equally full in 1993. Early in the year Cole made her television dramatic acting debut in Ill Fly Away, an NBC series. In March of that year, she sang at the Academy Awards show and by spring she had released a recording in the same vein of Unforgettable With Love, except this album, Take A Look, held a collection of songs her fathers friends and acquaintances had made famous. She told Jet, This album actually is the album that Ive always wanted to do and that is an album of jazz standards with great stuff that my dad turned me on to when I was about 10 or 11 years old. Ta ke A Look, with its jazz-oriented sound sold just under 500,000 copies and appealed to a smaller consumer base than Unforgettable With Love with its mass appeal.

Cole branched into new performance venues in 1994. In January she sang the national anthem, accompanied by the Atlanta University Center chorus, at the Super Bowl and received much acclaim. In February she traveled to Sun City, South Africa, to perform in her own show. She was the first African American to perform since the country was desegregated.

Her jazz-flavored Christmas album, Holly and Ivy was also released in 1994. Although she had not been planning to do a holiday album she received a song from a friend that started the process. She told Jet, Michael [Masser] called and said, Ive got this beautiful Christmas song I wrote just for you. He played it for me, and it was beautiful and then we thought, why not put out a whole album. then I was running around in April, looking for Christmas songs. The album received favorable reviews and Cole performed songs from it when she starred on an episode of PBS TVs Great Performances. Also in 1994 Natalie played the title role in the USA cable network movie, Lily; In Winter. It was her television movie acting debut. Of the experience Cole revealed to Jet, Acting is probably one of the least glamorous jobs in Hollywood.

Seeking the huge success of Unforgettable With Love, Cole released Star Dust in the fall of 1996. Once again and with the help of technology, Cole sang with her late father on, When I Fall In Love. Not wanting it to be another version of Unforgettable With Love, Cole and her producers Phil Ramone, David Foster, and George Duke chose songs recorded by various artists, and not just her father. Of the songs, Cole told J.R. Reynolds of Billboard, The songs are more sculpted than those on Unforgettable, and vocally, they have more drama. Her label, Elektra, sought to not only reach the massive audience appeal of Unforgettable With Love, but to also appeal to international consumers and broaden her fan base. Selected tracks on the album were recorded in several different languages, including Portuguese, Italian, and French. Cole told Reynolds, Im just lucky that I pick up foreign languages fairly easily. Several television guest shots, and an international tour schedule in 1997 followed the albums release.

Natalie Cole may have almost wrecked a promising career, but she came back stronger than ever and ready to embrace her heritage. In her biography of Nat King Cole, Leslie Gourse says Cole accepted herself doing Nat King Coles music. Audiences didnt compare her unfavorably with her father, said Gourse. Her voice was higher; that gave her an intriguing difference. Natalie felt easy because she had established her own identity, with her own interesting personal story. Cole said in Unforgettable. The Life and Mystique of Nat King Cole, I think about my father often. I think mostly that I hope he would have been proud of meof my singing, yes, but Im even more interested in whether he would have been proud of my life. I do feel proud of my life. And I give credit to God.

Selected discography

On Capitol Records

Inseparable, (includes Inseparable and This Will Be), 1975.

Natalie, (includes Sophisticated Lady), 1976.

Unpredictable, 1977.

Thankful, (includes Our Love), 1977.

NatalieLive! 1978.

I Love You So, 1979.

Were The Best Of Friends (with Peabo Bryson), 1979.

Dont Look Back, 1980.

Happy Love, 1981.

Im Ready, 1983.

On Elektra Records

Everlasting, (includes Jump Start, I Live For Your Love, and Pink Cadillac), 1987.

Good To Be Back, 1989.

Un forgettableWith Love, (includes Unforgettable), 1991.

Take A Look, 1993.

Holly and Ivy, 1994.

Star Dust, 1996.

Sources

Books

Natalie & Nat King Cole. Skip Press, Crestwood House, Parsippany, New Jersey, 1995.

Unforgettable. The Life and Mystique of Nat King Cole. Leslie Gourse, St. Martins Press, New York, 1991, p. 242.

Periodicals

Billboard, August 31, 1996, p. 9.

Jet, July 5, 1993, p. 57; November 22, 1993; December 19, 1994, pp. 38, 40.

Redbook, October 1993, p. 153.

Rolling Stone, September 19, 1991, p. 19.

Washington Post, April 30, 1986, p. C1.

Other

Additional information for this profile was obtained from the liner of the Unforgettable With Love CD.

Sandy J. Stiefer and Allison M. Marion

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Cole, Natalie

Natalie Cole

Singer

For the Record

The Spirit of Nat King Cole

Since Unforgettable

Selected discography

Sources

When singer Natalie Cole was in college at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, she performed weekends at nightclubs. Prior to one show, a small club displayed a sign that announced her only as Nat King Coles daughter. She was so angry that she scolded the manager of the club; however, 20 years later, Cole reached the pinnacle of her success by teaming up with her late father in an album called Unforgettable with Love. The album earned seven Grammy awards and stayed on the pop charts for several weeks. For Natalie, it was a special tribute to her legendary father who died of lung cancer when she was only 15.

Natalie is one of five children born to the famous singer Nat King Cole and his wife Maria. Maria sang with Duke Ellington before marrying Nat. Natalie, their second child, was born on February 6, 1950. Cole told Working Mother that her childhood was filled with music that her mom and dad liked to hear as well as the music her dad sung. She said, He never directed me away from any type of music, but it was the kind of music Dad made thats left a lasting impression on me. It did not take long for her to follow in his footsteps. By age six, she appeared on one of her dads albums. At eleven, she performed briefly in a nightclub act. However, Cole claims her father died never knowing that she wanted a career in singing because she told him she wanted to be a doctor. He never pushed her into singing, as he wanted her to choose her own career. While earning a degree in child psychology from the University of Massachusetts, she realized that she wanted to sing.

Initially, Cole was filled with insecurity when she performed, not knowing if people liked her just because she was the Nat King Coles daughter. This insecurity caused her to avoid performing the same type of music as her father, who was a big band, jazzy singer and an accomplished pianist in the fifties. He had several hit albums before rock music was marketed to the public. She told Ebony, I spent the first part of my career rebelling against it [her fathers music]. Always in the back of my mind I was trying to stay as far away from that stigma as I possibly could. After earning her degree, Cole toured local clubs with a band called Black Magic.

In 1974 she met two producers in Chicago, Chuck Jackson and Marvin Yancy, who wanted to write and produce an album with her. In 1975 Capitol Records released Inseparable, launching Coles solo career. Lauded by critics, the album contained two singles, This Will Be and Inseparable, which quickly climbed the pop and R&B charts. For her effort, Cole won a Grammy award for Best New Artist. While producing the album, Cole and Yancy formed a relationship that

For the Record

Born Natalie Maria Cole, February 6, 1950; daughter of Nathaniel Adam (singer) and Maria (singer, homemaker; maiden name, Hawkins); married Marvin J. Yancy July 30, 1976 (divorced 1979); married Andre Fischer (a music producer), 1989 (divorced 1996); children: Robert. Education: B. A. in Psychology from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst

Started singing with her legendary father Nat King Cole at age six; performed with group called Black Magic, early 1970s; discovered by music producers including Marvin Yancy, 1974; producers cut first album with her titled Inseparable, 1975; recorded four more successful albums throughout 70s including one with Peabo Bryson; drug problem stalled career, 1980; entered drug rehab at Hazelden for six months, 1983; back on the charts with album Everlasting, 1987; released Good to Be Back, 1989.

Andre Fischer produced next album called Unforgettable with Love, which sold over five million copies, 1991; high-tech wizardry created a duet with her late father for the single Unforgettable; appeared in television series Ill Fly Away, 1993; released album Take a Look, 1993; released Christmas album Holly and Ivy, 1994; starred in USA Cable movie Lily in Winter, 1994; released album Stardust, 1997.

Awards: Grammy Award for Best New Artist, 1976; seven Grammy Awards in 1992 for Unforgettable with Love including Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Album of the Year; Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal, 1994; one gold single, three gold albums; recipient of two Image Awards from the NAACP, 1976, 1977; American Music Award, 1978; Soul Train Award.

Member: AFTRA; National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences; Delta Sigma Delta.

Addresses: Office c/o William Morris Agency, 151 S., East El Camino Dr., Beverly Hills, CA 90212-2704.

led to marriage in 1976. That same year she released Natalie. The single Sophisticated Lady reached number one on the R&B charts and number 25 on the pop charts. Thankful included the successful singles Ive Got Love on My Mind and Our Love in 1977. In 1979 Cole teamed with Peabo Bryson and released Were the Best of Friends, another successful album with two hit singles. Her albums sold very well in the seventiesespecially since her career was just beginning. However, her personal problems were escalating out of control and soon stalled her initial stardom.

In 1973 Canadian police arrested Cole for possession of heroin. Her problems with drugs did not end until ten years later, and she claimed that the majority of her drug use was in the five years after her son Robert was born in 1977. She also abused cocaine, prescription drugs, acid, and alcohol, admittedly not employing anyone who would not do drugs with her. When her marriage ended in 1979, she called the relationship short but devastating. In 1983 she finally entered the Hazelden Foundation in Minnesota after a near-fatal car accident. She walked away from the crash physically unharmed but mentally shaken. She stayed at Hazelden for six months before emerging ready to live life drug-free. Every year on November 28, she celebrates the anniversary of the last day she did drugs.

She released an album every year from 1980 to 1985, but Cole did not reach the pop charts again until 1987, when she released Everlasting. This album included three singles that reached the top 20 on the pop charts. She also scored two hit duets with Ray Parker Jr. the same year. In 1989 she released Good to Be Back, which included the top ten hit Miss You Like Crazy. That same year Cole met music producer Andre Fischer, who was a drummer for the band Rufus and for Chaka Khan. He wanted to work with Cole on her next album, but was also secretly in love with her. They married and began work on an album that was unforgettable.

The Spirit of Nat King Cole

Unforgettable with Love was released in 1991 to critical acclaim. Not only did Cole admit to being Nat King Coles daughter on this album, she pledged her complete devotion to her father and his music. She even felt his presence while recording. Produced by her husband, the album included 20 songs from Nat King Coles collection sung by Natalie. Singles included The Very Thought of You, Mona Lisa, and Route 66. Her uncle, Ike Cole, appeared on Route 66, but the most fascinating effort was Unforgettable. With a little help from the masters of technology, Cole performed the song as a duet with her father using her fathers original recording. The idea was unprecedented and the result was overwhelming. The album sold over five million copies and earned seven Grammy awards including Album of the Year. Unforgettable won both Record of the Year and Song of the Year. Billboard called the albums success an almost complete anomaly in recent chart historya massive hit album featuring music in a noncontemporary style. People gushed, Like father, like daughterwhen the subject is singing and the father was Nat King Cole, the daughter is in for a big compliment. Playboy commented, Natalie has always been a versatile vocalist, so its no surprise that she possesses the intelligence and the chops to perform this material convincingly.

Elektra Records released Unforgettable with Love, but the albums huge success also benefited Capitol Records, which owns the rights to Nat King Coles recordings. Nat King Coles 20-song compilation reentered the charts when Natalie Coles album hit the top five. Wayne Watkins, a director of catalog development at Capitol, told Billboard, Next to the Beatles, Nat King Cole isthe best-selling artist in our catalog. Hes even more popular than Sinatra for us. Capitol has since released a four-CD Nat King Cole box set. Warner Reprise Video released a Nat King Cole video compilation that includes a young Natalie Cole in several clips. A book titled Unforgettable: The Life and Mystique of Nat King Cole, issued by St. Martins Press, was published just as Natalie Coles Unforgettable started making waves.

Since Unforgettable

Coles success in 1991 allowed her to branch into acting, although she did not find it easy. She told Jet, Acting is a little more difficult than singing. The singing process is something that Ive done all my life. When you are singing live, you have the audience there, you have all that inspiration going for you. But when youre on the set, its just you, your co-stars, and the crew. In 1993 she first acted in the television drama series Ill Fly Away. She also starred in a USA Cable production called Lily in Winter in 1994. Other guest appearances included the Touched By an Angel hit drama series on CBS in 1997. However, the majority of Coles work since Unforgettable was recording albums and touring.

In 1993 Cole released Take a Look, an album of her performances of 1930s and 40s popular music. Entertainment Weekly commented, Unforgettable sounds almost tentative next to Natalie Coles latest, whichthanks to a canny selection of mostly unfamiliar old pop, jazz, and show tunes moves her definitively out of her fathers shadow. Ron Givens of People wrote, Cole carves her own identity while remaining true to her father. The title song from that album, which was once sung by Aretha Franklin, earned Cole another Grammy award for Best Jazz Vocal Performance. Cole told Jet, This album actually is the album that Ive always wanted to do and that is an album of jazz standards with great stuff that my dad turned me on to when I was about ten or eleven years old.

Holly and Ivy, a Christmas album released in 1994, is a non-traditional album, she told Jet. My approach was very 40ish, very Andrew Sisters, very fun and up. 1996 saw the release of Stardust, which included another duet with her late father called When I Fall in Love. Stardust contained 19 Cole performances of songs from the 20s through the 50s. Cole told Billboard, Im a little nervous with this album, because its the first time that I was really involved with every aspect of a project from start to finish. Stereo Review commented, Only a versatile singer could handle this rich a mix, and Cole proves shes fully up to the challenge.

Coles marriage to Andre Fischer ended in 1995 when she not only filed for divorce, but requested a restraining order against him. No comment was made by Cole at the time, but she began work on an autobiography titled Angel on My Shoulder. HBO will adapt the book for a television movie, starring Cole as herself. From her earliest days growing up with a legendary father, to losing him at 15, then setting out on a very successful career of her own, Cole has plenty of engaging book material.

Selected discography

Inseparable (includes This Will Be and Inseparable), Capitol, 1975.

Natalie (includes Sophisticated Lady), Capitol, 1976.

Thankful (includes Ive Got Love on My Mind and Our Love), Capitol, 1977.

Natalielive!, Capitol, 1978.

Were the Best of Friends (with Peabo Bryson), Capitol, 1979.

Dont Look Back, Capitol, 1980.

Happy Love, Capitol, 1981.

Im Ready, Epic, 1983.

The Natalie Cole Collection, Capitol, 1984.

Dangerous, Modern, 1985.

Everlasting, Manhattan, 1987.

Good to Be Back (includes Miss You Like Crazy), EMI, 1989.

Unforgettable with Love(includes The Very Thought of You, Mona Lisa, Route 66, and Unforgettable), Elektra, 1991.

Take a Look, Elektra, 1993.

Holly and Ivy, Elektra, 1994.

Stardust (includes When I Fall in Love), Elektra, 1996.

Sources

Books

The New Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll, edited by Patricia Romanowski, Fireside, 1995.

Periodicals

Billboard, August 3, 1991; March 7, 1992; August 31, 1996.

Ebony, October 1991.

Entertainment Weekly, June 25, 1993.

Jet, July 5, 1993; December 19, 1994.

People, July 22, 1991; June 21, 1993.

Playboy, September 1991.

Stereo Review, March 1997.

Working Mother, September 1996.

Christine Morrison

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Morrison, Christine. "Cole, Natalie." Contemporary Musicians. 1998. Retrieved August 30, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3493900028.html

Cole, Natalie 1950–

COLE, Natalie 1950–

PERSONAL

Full name, Stephanie Natalie Maria Cole; born February 6, 1950, in Los Angeles, CA; daughter of Nat "King" Cole (a pianist, singer, and actor) and Maria (a singer; maiden name, Hawkins [some sources cite maiden name as Ellington]); sister of Carole Cole (an entertainer) and Nat Kelly Cole (an actor); married Marvin J. Yancy (a composer and music producer), July 30, 1976 (divorced, 1979); married Andre Fisher (a musician and music producer), September, 1989 (divorced, 1995); married Kenneth H. Dupree (a bishop; divorced, 2004); children: Robert Adam. Education: University of Massachusetts, B.A., child psychology, 1972.

Addresses: Agent—William Morris Agency, 151 El Camino Dr., Beverly Hills, CA 90212. Manager—Dan Cleary Management Associates, 1801 Avenue of the Stars, Suite 1105, Los Angeles, CA 90067. Publicist— Jennifer Allen, PMK/HBH, 8500 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 700, Beverly Hills, CA 90211.

Career: Singer and actress. Performer of national anthem and other songs at various events; performer with the musical groups Black Magic and the Malibu Music Men. Worked as a waitress. Affiliated with various charities.

Awards, Honors: City Council of Los Angeles declared September 25, 1975, "Natalie Cole Day"; Grammy awards, National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, best new artist, 1975, and best rhythm and blues vocal performance, 1975, for "This Will Be"; Grammy Award, best rhythm and blues vocal performance, 1976, for "Sophisticated Lady (She's a Different Lady)"; Grand Prix Award, Tokyo Music Festival, 1976; Image awards, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, 1976 and 1977; American Music awards, 1978 and 1991; Soul Train Award, best single (female), 1987; Grammy Award nomination, 1989; Grammy Award, album of the year, 1991, Soul Train awards, best rhythm and blues or soul album of the year, female and best jazz album, and Soul Train Award nominations, 1992, all for Unforgettable: With Love; Grammy awards, record of the year and best traditional pop performance, 1991, both for "Unforgettable"; MusiCares Person of the Year, National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, 1992; Grammy Award, best jazz vocal performance, 1993, for "Take a Look"; Natalie Cole Scholarship Award administered by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, beginning 1994; Berklee College of Music honorary degree, 1995; Grammy Award, best pop vocal collaboration, 1996, for "When I Fall in Love"; Image Award nomination, outstanding performance in a variety series or special, 1997, for The Oprah Winfrey Show; Lena Horne Award, Soul Train Lady of Soul awards, outstanding career achievement, 1999; Image Award, outstanding actress in a television movie, miniseries, or dramatic special, 2001, for Livin' for Love: The Natalie Cole Story; Grammy Award nomination, best jazz vocal album, 2003, for Ask a Woman Who Knows; Grammy Award nomination (with Diana Krall), best pop collaboration with vocals, 2003, for "Better Than Anything"; gold and platinum awards, Recording Industry Association of America; named one of the "100 greatest women of rock 'n' roll," by VH1; received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

CREDITS

Television Appearances; Series:

Host, The Big Break, syndicated, 1990–1991.

Television Appearances; Movies:

Lily Covington, Lily in Winter, USA Network, 1994.

Latisha Corbett, Abducted: A Father's Love (also known as Fugitive from Justice), NBC, 1996.

Iula Brown, Always Outnumbered (also known as Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned), HBO, 1998.

Eleanor, Freak City, Showtime, 1999.

Herself, Livin' for Love: The Natalie Cole Story (also known as The Natalie Cole Story), NBC, 2000.

Television Appearances; Specials:

Sinatra and Friends, ABC, 1977.

The Natalie Cole Special, CBS, 1978.

CBS' Happy New Year America 1979, CBS, 1979.

Uptown: A Tribute to the Apollo Theatre (also known as Uptown: A Musical Comedy History of Harlem's Apollo Theatre), NBC, 1980.

Host, The Grammy Hall of Fame, 1981.

Christmas in Washington, NBC, 1985.

Yearbook: Class of 1967, CBS, 1985.

Newport Jazz '86, PBS, 1986.

Evening at Pops, PBS, 1987.

Motown Merry Christmas, NBC, 1987.

1987 Power Hits New Year's Eve Countdown, syndicated, 1987.

Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve '89, ABC, 1988.

Freedomfest: Nelson Mandela's 70th Birthday Celebration, Fox, 1988.

Irving Berlin's 100th Birthday Celebration, CBS, 1988.

Lou Rawls Presents Black Gold Hits, syndicated, 1988.

Sea World's All–Star, Lone Star Celebration, CBS, 1988.

Tropical Rock: A Hot Night in Ibiza, Showtime, 1988.

CBS' Happy New Year America 1989, CBS, 1989.

The Unforgettable Nat "King" Cole (documentary), The Disney Channel, 1989.

Motown Merry Christmas, syndicated, 1989 and 1990.

Comic Relief IV, HBO, 1990.

Motown 30: What's Goin' On!, CBS, 1990.

Night of 100 Stars III (also known as Night of One Hundred Stars), NBC, 1990.

Tribute to John Lennon, syndicated, 1990.

Entertainers '91: The Top 20 of the Year, ABC, 1991.

The Meaning of Life, CBS, 1991.

Videosyncrasy: The Generations Special, The Family Channel, 1991.

Danny Kaye's International Children's Awards for UNICEF, The Disney Channel, 1992.

Unforgettable, with Love: Natalie Cole Sings the Songs of Nat King Cole, PBS, 1992.

A Musical Christmas at Walt Disney World, 1993.

Who's Going to Pay for These Donuts, Anyway (documentary), PBS, 1993.

A Gala for the President at Ford's Theatre, ABC, 1993 and 1997.

Addicted to Fame, NBC, 1994.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, NBC, 1994.

Natalie Cole's Untraditional Traditional Christmas, PBS, 1994.

Rhythm, Country & Blues: An "In the Spotlight" Special (documentary), PBS, 1994.

Great Performances, PBS, c. 1994.

Glinda the good witch, The Wizard of Oz in Concert: Dreams Comes True (also known as The Wizard of Oz in Concert), TNT, 1995.

Legends in Light (documentary), TNT, 1995.

Sinatra: 80 Years My Way, ABC, 1995.

Nissan Presents a Celebration of America's Music, ABC, 1996.

Sinbad's Summer Jam II: 70s Soul Music Festival, HBO, 1996.

Host, The Christmas Concert of Hope Starring Natalie Cole, CBS, 1997.

Host, The Goodwill Games Opening Celebration, TBS, 1998.

Host, The 1998 Soul Train Christmas Starfest, syndicated, 1998.

Frank Sinatra: The Very Good Years, 1998.

Pavarotti and Friends, PBS, 1998.

To Life! America Celebrates Israel's 50th, CBS, 1998.

True Stories from Touched by an Angel, CBS, 1998.

Host, Grammy's Greatest Performances, CBS, 1999.

Narrator, Goodnight Moon and Other Sleepytime Tales, HBO, 1999.

Arista Records' 25th Anniversary Celebration, 1999.

Garth Brooks & the Magic of Christmas, NBC, 1999.

Pixelon's I–Bash!, PAX TV, 1999.

Presenter, 25 Years of No. 1 Hits: Arista Records' Anniversary Celebration, NBC, 2000.

All–Star Winter Celebration: The Nobel Peace Concert, Fox Family Channel, 2000.

Christmas in Rockefeller Center, NBC, 2000.

Russell Watson: The Voice, PBS, 2001.

The Fifth Annual Sears Soul Train Christmas Starfest, The WB, 2002.

Muhammad Ali's 60th Birthday Celebration, CBS, 2002.

The Royal Variety Performance 2002, 2002.

The Nick at Nite Holiday Special, 2003.

Apollo at 70: A Hot Night in Harlem, NBC, 2004.

Television Appearances; Awards Presentations:

The 19th Annual Grammy Awards, CBS, 1977.

The 20th Annual Grammy Awards, CBS, 1978.

The 21st Annual Grammy Awards, CBS, 1979.

The 22nd Annual Grammy Awards, CBS, 1980.

The American Music Awards, ABC, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1992, and 1993.

The 59th Annual Academy Awards Presentation, ABC, 1987.

Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award Show, CBS, 1987.

The Second Annual Soul Train Music Awards, syndicated, 1988.

The 20th Annual NAACP Image Awards, NBC, 1988.

The 21st Annual NAACP Image Awards, NBC, 1989.

Presenter, The 32nd Annual Grammy Awards, CBS, 1990.

The 33rd Annual Grammy Awards, CBS, 1991.

The 19th Annual American Music Awards, ABC, 1992.

The 34th Annual Grammy Awards, 1992.

Presenter, The 35th Annual Grammy Awards, CBS, 1993.

The Seventh Annual Soul Train Music Awards, syndicated, 1993.

The 65th Annual Academy Awards Presentation, ABC, 1993.

The 36th Annual Grammy Awards, CBS, 1994.

Cohost, The 25th Anniversary Essence Awards, Fox, 1995.

Cohost, The 1996 World Music Awards, ABC, 1996.

39th Grammy Awards, CBS, 1997.

Tony Bennett: An All–Star Tribute—Live by Request, Arts and Entertainment, 1998.

The Fifth Annual Soul Train Lady of Soul Awards, syndicated, 1999.

The 41st Annual Grammy Awards, CBS, 1999.

The Second Annual Soul Train Christmas Concert, syndicated, 1999.

Presenter, AFI Awards 2001, CBS, 2001.

The 32nd NAACP Image Awards, Fox, 2001.

Presenter, The Fourth Annual Latin Grammy Awards, CBS, 2003.

Television Appearances; Episodic:

Art Linkletter's House Party (also known as The Linkletter Show), CBS, c. 1950.

The Midnight Special, NBC, 1975, 1976, 1977, and 1978.

American Bandstand, ABC, 1975, 1976, and 1988.

The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, NBC, 1975, 1977, 1980, 1981, 1985, 1990, and 1991.

Hi, I'm Glen Campbell, NBC, 1976.

Soul Train, syndicated, 1977 and 1985.

The Carol Burnett Show, CBS, 1978.

"Zontar," SCTV Network 90 (also known as SCTV Comedy Network and SCTV Network), NBC and CBC [Canada], 1981.

Mrs. Bigelow, Herbie, the Love Bug, CBS, 1982.

"An Aunt Hill for Hillary," Marblehead Manor, syndicated, 1987.

"Wrestlemania VI," WWE Pay–Per–View, 1990.

ABC in Concert, ABC, 1991.

Out All Night, NBC, 1992.

"State," I'll Fly Away, NBC, 1993.

"Wrestlemania IX," WWE Pay–Per–View, 1993.

The Arsenio Hall Show, syndicated, 1993.

The Late Show with David Letterman, CBS, 1993 and 1996.

Megan Brooks, "Reunion," Touched by an Angel, CBS, 1995.

The Oprah Winfrey Show (also known as Oprah), syndicated, c. 1996.

The Rosie O'Donnell Show, syndicated, 1996 and 1998.

Herself, Intimate Portrait: Natalie Cole (documentary), Lifetime, 1999.

BET Tonight with Tavis Smiley, Black Entertainment Television, 2000.

"Wetten, dass ... aus Gottingen," Wetten, dass...?, 2001.

"The Wedding," Liza and David, VH1, 2002.

The Oprah Winfrey Show (also known as Oprah), syndicated, 2002.

Parkinson, BBC, 2002.

The View, ABC, 2002.

Herself, Intimate Portrait: Chaka Khan (documentary), Lifetime, 2003.

Herself, Intimate Portrait: Famous Families (documentary), Lifetime, 2003.

Praise the Lord, 2004.

Television Executive Producer:

Natalie Cole's Untraditional Traditional Christmas (special), PBS, 1994.

Livin' for Love: The Natalie Cole Story (movie; also known as The Natalie Cole Story), NBC, 2000.

Film Appearances:

Voice of Sawyer, Cats Don't Dance (animated), Warner Bros., 1997.

Performer of song "Ev'ry Time You Say Goodbye," De–lovely, Twentieth Century–Fox, 2004.

Herself, Lightning in a Bottle, Sony Pictures Classics, 2004.

Stage Appearances:

Natalie Cole, Winter Garden Theatre, New York City, 1976.

Night of 100 Stars III (also known as Night of One Hundred Stars), Radio City Music Hall, New York City, 1990.

Major Tours:

"I'm with You," Sights and Sounds: The Merry World of Nat King Cole (touring concert series), c. 1961.

RECORDINGS

Albums:

Inseparable, Capitol, 1975.

Natalie, Capitol, 1976.

Thankful, One Way, 1977.

Unpredictable, Capitol, 1977.

Natalie Live!, One Way, 1978.

We're the Best of Friends, One Way, 1979.

Don't Look Back, One Way, 1980.

Happy Love, One Way, 1981.

I'm Ready, Legacy, 1983.

Dangerous, Modern, 1985.

Everlasting, Elektra, 1987.

The Collection, Capitol/EMI, 1988.

Good to Be Back, Elektra, 1989.

Inseparable, Capitol/EMI, 1991.

Unforgettable: With Love, Elektra, 1991.

Unforgettable: With Love [Special Edition], Elektra, 1991.

Beginning to See the Light, Asylum, 1993.

Take a Look, Elektra, 1993.

Holly & Ivy, Elektra, 1994.

(With others) A Celebration of Christmas, 1996.

(With others) For Our Children Too!, Kid Rhino, 1996.

Stardust, Elektra, 1996.

This Will Be: Natalie Cole's Everlasting Love, Capitol, 1997.

Back to Back Hits, EMI–Capitol, 1999.

Best of Natalie Cole, Platinum Disc, 1999.

The Magic of Christmas, Elektra, 1999.

Snowfall on the Sahara, Elektra, 1999.

Sophisticated Lady, Disky, 1999.

Greatest Hits, Vol. 1, Elektra, 2000.

The Best of Natalie Cole, EMI–Capitol, 2001.

Love Songs, Elektra, 2001.

Ask a Woman Who Knows, Verve, 2002.

Ask a Woman Who Knows [Japan Bonus Track], Verve International, 2002.

Anthology, The Right Stuff, 2003.

Also recorded the albums Heart & Soul, Castle; The Best of Natalie Cole: The Priceless Collection, Collectibles; I Love You So, One Way; Nursery Raps with Mama Goose, Golden Book; Sophisticated Lady, Great Hits; Tenderly, Pair; Love Is Here to Stay, Capitol; and Natalie Cole Sings/George Shearing Plays, Mobile Fidelity. Performer on the albums of Nat "King" Cole.

Singles:

"This Will Be," 1975.

"Inseparable," 1976.

"Sophisticated Lady (She's a Different Lady)," 1976.

"I've Got Love on My Mind," 1977.

"Our Love," 1978.

"I Live for Your Love," c. 1987.

"Jump Start," c. 1987.

"Pink Cadillac," c. 1987.

"Miss You Like Crazy," 1989.

"Starting Over Again," 1989.

"Wild Women Do," 1990.

(With Nat "King" Cole) "Unforgettable," c. 1991.

"Take a Look," 1993.

(With Nat "King" Cole) "When I Fall in Love," 1996.

"A Smile Like Yours," 1997.

Cole's songs have appeared in various films. Also recorded "Better Than Anything" with Diana Krall.

Videos:

Nat King Cole: The Incomparable Nat King Cole, Volume 1, 1991.

Nat King Cole: The Incomparable Nat King Cole, Volume 2, 1992.

Music Videos:

"Pink Cadillac," c. 1987.

"Miss You Like Crazy," 1989.

"Starting Over Again," 1989.

(With Nat "King" Cole) "Unforgettable," c. 1991.

"Take a Look," 1993.

(With Nat "King" Cole) "When I Fall in Love," 1996.

"A Smile Like Yours," 1997.

WRITINGS

Nonfiction:

(With Digby Diehl) Angel on My Shoulder: An Autobiography, Warner Books, 2000.

Singles:

(With Chuck Jackson and Marvin J. Yancy) "Sophisticated Lady (She's a Different Lady)," 1976.

OTHER SOURCES

Periodicals:

Ebony, October, 1991, pp. 112–15; December, 1999, p. 190.

Essence, October, 1990; pp. 14–16; May, 2003, pp. 180–88

InStyle, February, 2000, p. 211.

Jet, December 19, 1994, pp. 36–39; July 5, 1999, p. 58; November 6, 2000, p. 60; November 5, 2001, pp. 62–65.

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Cole, Natalie

Natalie Cole

Singer

When singer Natalie Cole was in college at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, she performed weekends at nightclubs. Prior to one show, a small club displayed a sign that announced her only as Nat "King" Cole's daughter. She was so angry that she scolded the manager of the club; however, 20 years later, Cole reached the pinnacle of her success by "teaming up" with her late father, via recording technology, on an album called Unforgettable With Love. The album earned seven Grammy Awards and stayed on the pop charts for several weeks. For Natalie, it was a special tribute to her legendary father who died of lung cancer when she was only 15.

Natalie was one of five children born to the famous singer Nat "King" Cole and his wife, Maria. Maria sang with Duke Ellington before marrying Nat. Natalie, their second child, was born on February 6, 1950. Her family lived in an affluent section of Los Angeles. Cole told Working Mother that her childhood was filled with music that her mom and dad liked to hear as well as the music her dad performed. She said, "He never directed me away from any type of music, but it was the kind of music Dad made that's left a lasting impression on me." It did not take long for her to follow in his footsteps. At age six she appeared on one of her dad's albums. At eleven, she performed briefly in a nightclub act. However, Cole claimed that her father died never knowing that she wanted a career in singing, because she had told him she wanted to be a doctor. He never pushed her into singing, as he wanted her to choose her own career. While earning a degree in child psychology from the University of Massachusetts, she realized that she wanted to pursue a singing career.

Initially, Cole was filled with insecurity when she performed, not knowing whether people responded just because she was the Nat "King" Cole's daughter. This insecurity caused her to avoid performing the same type of music as had her famous father, who was a big band, jazzy singer and an accomplished pianist in the 1950s. She told Ebony, "I spent the first part of my career rebelling against [my father's music]. Always in the back of my mind I was trying to stay as far away from that stigma as I possibly could." After earning her degree, Cole toured local clubs with a band called Black Magic.

In 1974 she met two producers in Chicago, Chuck Jackson and Marvin Yancy, who wanted to write and produce an album with her. In 1975 Capitol Records released Inseparable, launching Cole's solo career. Lauded by critics, the album contained two singles, "This Will Be" and "Inseparable," which quickly climbed the pop and R&B charts. For the effort, Cole won a Grammy Award for Best New Artist. While producing the album, Cole and Yancy formed a relationship that led to marriage in 1976. That same year she released Natalie, and its single "Sophisticated Lady" reached number one on the R&B charts and number 25 on the pop charts. Thankful (1977) included the successful singles "I've Got Love on My Mind" and "Our Love." In 1979 Cole teamed with Peabo Bryson and released We're the Best of Friends, another successful album with two hit singles. Her albums sold very well in the 1970s, but her personal problems were escalating out of control and soon stalled her rise to stardom.

In 1973 Canadian police arrested Cole for possession of heroin. Her problems with drugs did not end until ten years later. She also abused cocaine, prescription drugs, acid, and alcohol, and admitted to working only with people who were willing to join her in the habit. Her marriage ended in 1979. In 1983 she finally entered the Hazelden Foundation in Minnesota for drug rehabilitation, after a near-fatal car accident. She walked away from the crash physically unharmed but mentally shaken. She stayed at Hazelden for six months before emerging ready to live drug-free.

She released an album every year from 1980 till 1985, but did not reach the pop charts again until 1987, when she released Everlasting. This album included three singles that reached the Top 20 on the pop charts. She also scored two hit duets with Ray Parker Jr. the same year. In 1989 she released Good to Be Back, which included the Top 10 hit "Miss You Like Crazy." That same year Cole met music producer Andre Fischer, who was a drummer for the band Rufus and for Chaka Khan. The two married and then began work on an album that became unforgettable.

Affinity to Father

Unforgettable with Love was released in 1991 to critical acclaim. Not only did Cole admit to being Nat "King" Cole's daughter on this album, she demonstrated her affinity for her father and his musical style. She even "felt" his presence while recording. Produced by Fischer, the album included 20 songs from her father's repetoire performed by Natalie. Singles included "The Very Thought of You," "Mona Lisa," and "Route 66." Her uncle, Ike Cole, appeared on "Route 66," but the most fascinating effort was "Unforgettable." With a little help from the masters of technology, Cole performed the song as a duet with her father, using her father's original recording. The idea was unprecedented, and the result was overwhelming. The album sold over five million copies and earned seven Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year. "Unforgettable" won both Record of the Year and Song of the Year. Billboard called the album's success "an almost complete anomaly in recent chart history—a massive hit album featuring music in a noncontemporary style." People magazine gushed, "Like father, like daughter—when the subject is singing and the father was Nat ‘King’ Cole, the daughter is in for a big compliment." Playboy commented, "Natalie has always been a versatile vocalist, so it's no surprise that she possesses the intelligence and the chops to perform this material convincingly."

For the Record …

Born Natalie Maria Cole on February 6, 1950; daughter of Nathaniel Adam (singer) and Maria (singer, homemaker; maiden name, Hawkins); married Marvin J. Yancy, 1976 (divorced 1979); married Andre Fischer (a music producer), 1989 (divorced 1996); married Kenneth Dupree, 2001 (divorced 2004); children: Robert. Education: University of Massachusetts at Amherst, B.A. in psychology.

Started singing with her father, performer Nat "King" Cole, at age six; performed with group called Black Magic, early 1970s; discovered by music producers including Marvin Yancy, 1974; released first album, Inseparable, 1975; recorded four more successful albums in 1970s, including one with Peabo Bryson; drug problem stalled career, 1980; entered drug rehab for six months, 1983; back on the charts with album Everlasting, 1987; released Good to Be Back, 1989; Andre Fischer produced next album, Unforgettable with Love, 1991; high-tech wizardry created "duet" with her late father for the single "Unforgettable"; appeared in television series I'll Fly Away, 1993; released album Take A Look, 1993; released Christmas album Holly and Ivy, 1994; starred in USA Cable movie Lily in Winter, 1994; continued recording career, 1996-.

Awards: Grammy Award for Best New Artist, 1976; seven Grammy Awards for Unforgettable with Love, including Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Album of the Year, 1992; Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal, 1994; NAACP, two Image Awards, 1976, 1977; American Music Award, 1978; Soul Train Award.

Addresses: Office—c/o William Morris Agency, 151 S. East El Camino Dr., Beverly Hills, CA 90212-2704.

Elektra Records released Unforgettable with Love, but the album's huge success also benefited Capitol Records, which owned the rights to Nat "King" Cole's recordings. The late performer's 20-song compilation re-entered the charts when his daughter's album hit the top five. Wayne Watkins, a director of catalog development at Capitol, told Billboard, "Next to the Beatles, Nat ‘King’ Cole is the best-selling artist in our catalog. He's even more popular than Sinatra for us." Capitol has since released a four-CD Nat "King" Cole boxed set. Warner Reprise Video released a Nat "King" Cole video compilation that included a young Natalie Cole in several clips. A book titled Unforgettable: The Life And Mystique of Nat "King" Cole, issued by St. Martin's Press, was published just as Natalie Cole's "Unforgettable" started making waves.

Cole's success in 1991 allowed her to branch into acting, although she did not find it easy. She told Jet, "Acting is a little more difficult than singing. The singing process is something that I've done all my life. When you are singing live, you have the audience there, you have all that inspiration going for you. But when you're on the set, it's just you, your co-stars, and the crew." In 1993 she appeared in the television drama series I'll Fly Away. She also starred in a USA Cable network production called Lily in Winter in 1994. Other guest appearances included the Touched By an Angel hit drama series on CBS in 1997. However, the majority of Cole's time after "Unforgettable" was devoted to her recording work and touring.

In 1993 Cole released Take A Look, an album of her performances of 1930s and 1940s popular music. Entertainment Weekly commented, "‘Unforgettable’ sounds almost tentative next to Natalie Cole's latest, which—thanks to a canny selection of mostly unfamiliar old pop, jazz, and show tunes … moves her definitively out of her father's shadow." Ron Givens of People wrote, "Cole carves her own identity while remaining true to her father." The title song from that album, which was once sung by Aretha Franklin, earned Cole another Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Performance. Cole told Jet, "This album actually is the album that I've always wanted to do and that is an album of jazz standards with great stuff that my dad turned me on to when I was about ten or eleven years old."

Holly and Ivy, a Christmas album released in 1994, "is a non-traditional album," she told Jet. "My approach was very 40ish, very Andrews Sisters, very fun and up." The year 1996 saw the release of Stardust, which included "When I Fall in Love," another "duet" with her late father. Stardust contained 19 Cole performances of songs from the 1920s through the 1950s. Cole told Billboard, "I'm a little nervous with this album, because it's the first time that I was really involved with every aspect of a project from start to finish." Stereo Review commented, "Only a versatile singer could handle this rich a mix, and Cole proves she's fully up to the challenge."

Cole's marriage to Andre Fischer ended in 1995 when she not only filed for divorce, but requested a restraining order against him. She also began work on an autobiography titled Angel on My Shoulder. The book was published in 2000.

Cole married Kenneth Dupree in 2001, her third marriage, but divorced him in 2004, citing irreconcilable differences. In 2002 she released Ask a Woman Who Knows. The album, released on the Verve label, included a bland of jazz and pop. The songs were a blend of both genres, and besides the title cut included numbers such as "Calling You," "It's Crazy," "Soon," "Better Than Anything," and other standards.

In September of 2006 Cole released Leavin'. In the same year, she made a guest appearance on the show Grey's Anatomy. Cole told Tamara Conniff in Billboard, "Every now and then someone comes up who has his or her own style and is fearless. Right now you have to be fearless and hope somebody gets you. For the most part that's what my career has been. I've chosen to go down roads that no one would even think of."

Selected discography

Inseparable, Capitol, 1975.

Natalie, Capitol, 1976.

Thankful, Capitol, 1977.

NatalieLive!, Capitol, 1978.

(With Peabo Bryson) We're the Best of Friends, Capitol, 1979.

Don't Look Back, Capitol, 1980.

Happy Love, Capitol, 1981.

I'm Ready, Epic, 1983.

The Natalie Cole Collection, Capitol, 1984.

Dangerous, Modern, 1985.

Everlasting, Manhattan, 1987.

Good to Be Back, EMI, 1989.

Unforgettable with Love, Elektra, 1991.

Take a Look, Elektra, 1993.

Holly and Ivy, Elektra, 1994.

Stardust, Elektra, 1996.

Christmas With You, Elektra, 1998.

Snowfall on the Sahara, Elektra, 1999.

The Magic of Christmas, Elektra, 1999.

Greatest Hits: Vol. 1, Elektra, 2000.

Ask a Woman Who Knows, Verve, 2002.

Leavin', Verve, 2006.

Sources

Books

Cole, Natalie, with Digby Diehl, Angel on My Shoulder, Warner Books, 2000.

The New Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll, edited by Patricia Romanowski, Fireside, 1995.

Periodicals

Billboard, August 3, 1991; March 7, 1992; August 31, 1996; September 30, 2006, p. 47; October 7, 2006.

Ebony, October 1991.

Entertainment Weekly, June 25, 1993.

Essence, May 2003, p. 180.

Jet, July 5, 1993; December 19, 1994; February 23, 2004, p. 18; December 20, 2004, p. 10.

O, June 2003, p. 72.

People, July 22, 1991; June 21, 1993.

Playboy, September 1991.

Stereo Review, March 1997.

Working Mother, September 1996.

Online

"Cole Power: Natalie Cole Returns With Ask a Woman Who Knows," Barnes and Noble.com, http://www.barnesandnoble.com/features/interview.asp?z=y&NID=582452 (February 21, 2007).

Natalie Cole Official Website, http://www.nataliecole.com/ (February 9, 2007).

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"Cole, Natalie." Contemporary Musicians. 2008. Encyclopedia.com. 30 Aug. 2016 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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Cole, Natalie

Natalie Cole

Singer

For the Record

Selected discography

Sources

Rhythm and blues singer Natalie Cole rose to stardom almost overnight and then fell into obscurity just as precipitously. The spirited daughter of the late Nat King Cole was one of the top black performers in the mid- to late-1970s; awarded a Grammy in 1975 as best new artist of the year, she seemed destined to duplicate her famous fathers careerwithout echoing his sound. According to Ebony contributor Herschel Johnson, Coles albums have shown her voice to have considerable style and facility, [easily] handling everything from the sizzling rhythmic strainsto the tender ballad lines. And her phrasing, like that of her late father, is expertly sympathetic.

Cole became a superstar at twenty-five and was showered with acclaim and awards over the next three years. By 1982, however, ill health, drug abuse, and a failed marriage had sidetracked her career. She has yet to recover her earlier level of success, although she continues to perform and to handle her own affairs. Reflecting on her lifes low points, Cole told Newsweek: I managed to survive the worst things any entertainer could possible go through.

Natalie Maria Cole was born in 1950, the second of Nat and Maria Coles five children. Throughout the 1950s her father was one of the highest paid performers in the world, with his own prime-time television show and a string of bestselling albums. On stage, he was a star, Cole told Ebony, but at home he was an ordinary fathera companion. Raised in wealth and luxury, Cole learned to love music under the influence of both of her parents; her mother had been a principal singer with the Duke Ellington orchestra before her marriage. Still, young Natalie was not encouraged to pursue music as a career. Instead she attended college at the University of Massachusetts, eventually earning a Bachelors degree in child psychology.

Cole began singing professionally quite by chance, when she went looking for summer work as a waitress and wound up fronting a local band. Good club bookings followedbut they were invariably based on the strength of her fathers name. Cole found this humiliating at times but accepted it as an opportunity to bypass the years of struggle some artists must endure. It was only natural that I should resent it, she told High Fidelity magazine in 1977, because I wanted to be recognized for my own talent, but at the same time it made me realize just how famous my father was. And I guess if I had been Ann Smith, Id probably still be struggling and maybe just now being able to get ahead.

Cole may have gotten a start on her fathers coattails, but once she took the stage she developed her own style and repertoire, based on influences as various as Ella Fitzgerald, Aretha Franklin, Carole King, and the

For the Record

Full name, Natalie Maria Cole; born February 6, 1950, in Los Angeles, Calif.; daughter of Nat King (a pianist and singer) and Maria (a singer; maiden name, Hawkins) Cole; married Marvin J. Yancy (a composer and producer), July 30, 1976 (divorced, 1979); children: Robert Adam. Education: University of Massachusetts, B.A., 1972. Politics: Democrat.Religion: Baptist.

Adresses: Office c/o 11780 Moorpark St. #3, Studio City, CA 91604. Agent International Creative Management, 40 West 57th St., New York, NY 10019.

Professional singer, 1972; recording artist, 1975.

Awards: City Council of City of Los Angeles, Calif., declared September 25, 1975 Natalie Cole Day ; Grammy Award for best new artist, 1976, and best rhythm and blues female vocalist, 1976 and 1977; Image Award from National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, 1976 and 1977; American Music Award, 1978; four gold and two platinum albums.

Beatles. In Ebony, Louie Robinson writes that the young singer exploded on the national scene rising to the top like cream with a dazzling flourish of versatility: ballads, torch-rock, rhythm-and-blues. According to John Storm Roberts in High Fidelity, the core of Coles sound, both in quantity and quality, is a joyous pop-soul singing: The sound of early Motown soul, Marvin Gaye, the Supremes, and above all, the early Aretha Franklin.

Coles success on her own terms was greatly aided by producer/songwriters Chuck Jackson and Marvin Yancy, who provided her with material and helped to engineer her albums for Capitol Records. With their support, her 1975 debut album, Inseparable, with its chart-topping single This Will Be, went platinum and won her two Grammy awards. Roberts called the Cole-Jackson-Yancy relationship a partnership that obviously cant be faulted commercially; but it also works well musically, never dominating [Cole] or giving the impression that she is being jammed art-first into some unsuitable sack marked Whats happening.

Once establishedand married to YancyCole seemed reluctant to experiment stylistically. Roberts suggests that she seemed satisfied to be a club singer with an almost perfect command of the current hip-pop middle ground. Black middle of the road, you might call it, not simply all-American middle of the road sung by black singers, but with specifically black references: hip but slightly deodorized rhythm and blues, gospel-soul, the jazz-ballad tradition and a nostalgia for the great period of soul when its audience was kids.

By the early 1980s, Cole was quarreling with her manager, her band, and the executives at Capitol, all of whom she claimed were ignoring her wishes. Her marriage to Yancy ended in divorce in 1979. To quote Essence correspondent Jack Slater, her fabled zest for life was turning sour, and the sourness compounded the loneliness and her growing inability to cope. Things began to fall apart. Depressed and alone, Cole turned to cocaine. I must say that I did succumb to the weakness, she told Essence of her drug abuse. At one time I would stay in my bedroom for hours on end. I didnt do anything but that. To make matters worse, she developed throat polyps that had to be removed surgicallya potentially career-ending condition.

In 1982 Coles mother sued for control of her daughters finances, and eventually the troubled singer was able to find the privacy and therapy to regain her health. She returned to workand to the responsibility for her assetsin 1983. Cole told High Fidelity: I remember my father saying that hits are not importantits longevity that matters. It is just this longevity that Cole is striving for now. She maintains a professional association with Yancy and has returned to live club performance on a regular basis.

Cole told Ebony that she feels a singer should be a human instrument. So whatever I [do] with my voice, I [want] to make it work with the music and not sing against the music or stand above it, but enhance it, like flavoring and seasoning. According to Roberts, Cole has achieved the goal of being that human instrument. Roberts concludes: In a period of decadence, fatigue, and gimmicks, she returns to the central issues of voice, tune, and spirit. To reinterpret the ethos of the young Aretha, to keep it all clean and tight and youthful, to back herself with classically joyous, shouting gospel-soul chorus and jumping musicians, is to return to what classic r & b was all about.

Selected discography

Inseparable, Capitol, 1975.

Dangerous, Capitol, 1975.

Thankful, Capitol, 1978.

Im Ready, Epic, 1983.

Everlasting, Capitol, 1987.

Modern, Capitol.

Natalie Cole Collection, Capitol.

Sources

Ebony, September, 1973; December, 1975; May, 1978.

Essence, October, 1973.

High Fidelity, February, 1977.

Newsweek, August 25, 1975; May 30, 1983.

People, May 8, 1978.

Anne Janette Johnson

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Cole, Natalie

NATALIE COLE

Born: Los Angeles, California, 6 February 1950

Genre: R&B

Best-selling album since 1990: Unforgettable: With Love (1991)

Hit songs since 1990: "Unforgettable," "Take a Look"


The daughter of legendary pop crooner Nat "King" Cole, Natalie Cole has enjoyed a distinguished, if erratic, recording career. Issuing her first recordings in the mid-1970s, Cole initially pursued a spirited, gospel-infused sound heavily influenced by R&B legend Aretha Franklin. Overcoming a host of personal problems during the early 1980s, Cole continued performing in a pop and R&B vein before switching in the early 1990s to orchestrated pop tinged with jazzthe type of sophisticated music associated with her late father. In spite of this new focus on pop styles of the past, Cole maintained her commercial success, earning multiple Grammy Awards for an album dedicated to her father's memory, Unforgettable: With Love (1991). Although writers have sometimes criticized her latter-day style as too sedate, Cole has preserved her warm, expressive voice and phrasing. In 2002 she broadened her artistic horizons further, recording an album for the jazz-oriented Verve label that some critics regard as her finest.


R&B Beginnings

Raised in a luxurious neighborhood in Los Angeles, Cole made her stage debut performing with her father as a child in 1962. In her teens she longed to embark upon an artistic career but was deterred by her mother, singer Maria Cole, who insisted that she attend college. After graduating with a degree in child psychology from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1972, Cole worked as a waitress and performed in nightclubs. During a 1974 engagement at the Chicago club Mr. Kelley's, Cole met producers Marvin Yancey and Chuck Jackson, who over-saw writing and production work on her debut album, Inseparable (1975). Featuring the joyous, piano-driven hit, "This Will Be," as well as the creamy title ballad, the album staked Cole's claim as an impassioned soul singer rooted in Franklin's flamboyant gospel tradition. Marrying Yancey, Cole continued having hits into the 1980s, although her career was curtailed during this period by a severe drug dependencydescribed in honest, unsettling detail in her 2000 autobiography, Angel on My Shoulder. By 1984 Cole had conquered drugs and resumed her recording career, entering her second marriage with musician Andre Fischer. Fischer spearheaded Cole's musical shift toward jazz and pop, producing her breakthrough album, Unforgettable: With Love (1991).

Gaining Stardom through Pop and Jazz

Having found a distinct musical voice through the success of Unforgettable: With Love, Cole continued on the same path, recording another set of pop and jazz standards with Take a Look (1993). In many respects Take a Look qualifies as the equal of its predecessor, with Cole displaying intelligence in song selection and ease in navigating a range of pop styles. One of the album's most impressive moments is Cole's treatment of the title song, first recorded by her one-time musical idol, Aretha Franklin, in 1964. A biting critique of the human capacity for cruelty, "Take a Look" builds slowly through Cole's interpretation, reaching a powerful climax in which her emotiveness draws out the song's outrage and sadness. Although Cole spent the majority of the 1990s recording in the same pop-jazz style, Snowfall on the Sahara (1999) is a notable exception, a collection of blues and soul-based material. Tackling classics such as rock pioneer Bob Dylan's frequently recorded "Gotta Serve Somebody" and soul singer Lorraine Ellison's dramatic 1966 classic "Stay with Me," Cole again demonstrates her range and versatility.

Cole's signing with the reputed jazz label, Verve, in 2002 suggests a desire to delve deeper into jazz territory, to stake her claim as a stylist on a par with famed singers of the past such as Billie Holiday and Dinah Washington. While Ask a Woman Who Knows (2002) does not approach the finest work of those performers, it ranks as one of Cole's richest and most rewarding efforts, a collection that finds the singer in total command of her voice and craft. Featuring a billowing horn arrangement, the title tracka song often associated with Washingtonis one of the album's strongest. Cole's thoughtful, incisive interpretation is balanced by the precision of an all-star quintet that includes pianist Joe Sample and bassist Christian McBride. While some critics observed that the album's string arrangements often veer toward bland "cocktail jazz," Ask a Woman Who Knows emerges as an admirable, impressive new artistic direction for Cole, proving that, at age fifty-two, the singer remains in her vocal prime.

Over the course of a long career, Cole has witnessed her share of triumph and lossboth professional and personal. Beginning as an R&B vocalist molded in the manner of Aretha Franklin, Cole evolved by the early 1990s into a jazz and pop singer of the highest order, honoring her father's memory with her successful album Unforget-table: With Love. In the early 2000s Cole embarked upon a deeper exploration of jazz terrain with satisfying results.

Spot Light: Unforgettable: With Love

By the early 1990s, after nearly two decades of hit recordings, Natalie Cole had established a reputation as a respected, successful R&B singer. Still, her career had long been hampered by critical comparisons to other R&B vocalistsnotably Aretha Franklin and Chaka Khanas well as the shadow of her famous father, pop legend Nat "King" Cole. Ironically, it was through delving into her father's work that Cole was finally able to forge her own identity as a vocalist. Unforgettable: With Love (1991), a collection of songs made famous by her father, became the most successful album of Cole's career, climbing to the top of the Pop Albums chart. On lushly arranged songs such as "The Very Thought of You" and "Mona Lisa," Cole reveals herself as a first-rate stylist, her diction, pitch, and lyrical interpretation confident and mature. On rhythmic songs such as "Route 66" she displays a finely honed sense of swing and timing. The album is especially notable, however, for the title track, on which Cole "duets" with her father, electronically layering her vocal over his original performance. A measure of how far recording technology has advanced since the elder Cole originally hit with "Unforgettable" in 1952, the performance garnered much publicity and spurred sales of the album past the 5 million mark. Although some critics complained that the album's string arrangements were watery and without distinction, Unforgettable: With Love revived Cole's career, earning Grammy Awards for Album of the Year and Best Traditional Pop Recording.


SELECTIVE DISCOGRAPHY:

Inseparable (Capitol, 1975); Thankful (Capitol, 1977); Everlasting (Elektra, 1987); Unforgettable: With Love (Elektra, 1991); Take a Look (Elektra, 1993); Stardust (Elektra, 1996); Snowfall on the Sahara (Elektra, 1999); Ask a Woman Who Knows (Verve, 2002).

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

N. Cole with D. Diehl, Angel on My Shoulder: An Autobiography (New York, 2000).

WEBSITE:

www.nataliecole.com.

david freeland

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Freeland, David. "Cole, Natalie." Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Popular Musicians Since 1990. 2004. Encyclopedia.com. 30 Aug. 2016 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

Freeland, David. "Cole, Natalie." Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Popular Musicians Since 1990. 2004. Encyclopedia.com. (August 30, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3428400114.html

Freeland, David. "Cole, Natalie." Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Popular Musicians Since 1990. 2004. Retrieved August 30, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3428400114.html

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