b. Natalie Maria Cole, 6th February 1950, Cedars of Lebanon Hospital, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
d. 31st December 2015, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
Although Natalie Cole will be known as ‘the daughter of the late Nat King Cole’, by many members of the general public, to followers of Black Music, she was very much a singer, songwriter, and performer, in her own right.
She sold over 30 million records worldwide, and has a fine back catalogue of work, the envy of her contemporaries.
Natalie launched her career during the mid Seventies, with the release of her debut single ‘This Will Be’.
The song was recorded for the Capitol Records imprint, a label her father recorded for.
maria and nat cole. natalie's mother and father
Born in Los Angeles, Natalie Maria Cole was the daughter of Nat King Cole, with her mother being the daughter of the late Duke Ellington.
When she was 6, Natalie sang on one of her father's Christmas albums.
By the age of 11, she had begun performing in her own right.
The singer and pianist, Freddy Cole, was her uncle on her fathers side of the family.
Natalie attended the Northfield School in New England, enrolling at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, moving on to the University of Southern California, graduating in 1972.
She came to the attention of the record producers Chuck Jackson and Marvin Yancy, who hailed from Chicago area. Marvin, she was later to marry.
Natalie began recording material with Chuck and Marvin, some of which was submitted to the Capitol Records imprint, who agreed to sign her.
She released her debut album in 1975.
Entitled ‘Inseparable’, featured the single ‘This Will Be’, a song originally destined for Aretha Franklin.
The single became a top ten hit, alter winning a Grammy Award for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance.
Having such a famous father meant that, in some circles, ‘more of the same’ was expected of this singer, and she spent many of the following years, straddling the mainstream Jazz and R&B genre’s.
inseperable - 1975 / natalie - 1976 / thankful - 1977 / unpredictable - 1977
Natalie released four further solo albums during the Seventies, which were ’Natalie’ (in 1976: featuring ‘Mr Melody’ and ‘Sophisticated Lady’), ‘Thankful’ (in 1977: featuring ‘La Costa’ and ‘Annie Mae’), ‘Unpredictable’ (in 1977: featuring ‘I’ve Got Love On My Mind’ and ‘Peaceful Living’) and ‘I Love You So’ (in 1979).
i love you so - 1979 / we're the best of friends - 1979 / don't look back - 1980 / happy love - 1981
At the turn of the Eighties, Natalie continued releasing albums of songs recorded in several genre’s. These included ‘Don’t Look Back’ (in 1980), ‘Happy Love’ (in 1981: featuring ‘The Joke Is On You’), ‘I’m Ready’ (in 1983), ‘Dangerous’ (in 1985: featuring, the hugely underrated, ‘Love Is On The Way’), ‘Everlasting’ (in 1987: featuring ‘Pink Cadillac’ and, the magnificent, ‘More Than The Stars’) and ‘Good To Be Back’ (in 1989: featuring ‘Gonna Make You Mine’ and the title track).
i'm ready - 1983 / dangerous - 1985 / everlasting - 1987 / good to be back - 1989
Throughout this period, Natalie featured on several T.V. shows, recorded an album of duets with Peabo Bryson, and released her first live album.
She was also awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
In the early Eighties, Natalie struggled with drug addiction (concerning heroin and crack cocaine).
She entered a rehab facility in Connecticut and remained there for a period of six months or so.
Over this period, she relocated to different imprints, including the Atco label Modern Records and EMI-Manhattan Records.
By 1991, her career had turned full circle, and Natalie recorded an album of her fathers songs, entitled ‘Unforgettable...With Love’, following several years of deciding not to do so.
She produced her own vocal arrangements for the songs, accompanied by her uncle Ike Cole.
The album went on to sell more than 7 million copies in the U.S. alone and won several Grammys, including Album of the Year, Record of the Year and Best Traditional Pop Vocal Performance for the top song.
Her further releases owed more to the mainstream Jazz genre, than the R&B market.
These albums included ‘Take a Look’ (in 1993), ‘Holly & Ivy’ (in 1994) and ’Stardust’ (in 1996).
take a look - 1993 / snowfall on the sahara - 1996 / ask a woman who knows - 2002 / leavin' - 2006
In 2002, Natalie switched labels to the Verve imprint, taking of the R&B and Jazz markets, releasing ‘Ask a Woman Who Knows’ (in 2002) and ‘Leavin' (in 2006: featuring ‘Day Dreaming’).
In 2008, Natalie revisited the ‘Unforgettable... with Love’ album, releasing a second album of the format, entitled ‘Still Unforgettable’.
Natalie was married three times.
She married Marvin Yancy, songwriter, producer and former member of the 1970s R&B group The Independents in 1976.
In 1989, she married the record producer and former drummer for the band Rufus, Andre Fischer.
In 2001, Natalie married bishop Kenneth Dupree.
In 2015, she canceled several events due to illness.
She passed away from congestive heart failure on New Year’s Eve 2015, at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
Natalie is survived by Robert Yancy from her marriage to the late Rev. Marvin Yancy, and twin sisters Timolin and Casey Cole.
Her two siblings by adoption, Carol, who was her 1st cousin, and Nat Kelly Cole, preceded her in death.
Inseparable (Capitol Records 1975)
Natalie (Capitol Records 1976)
Unpredictable (Capitol Records 1977)
Thankful (Capitol Records 1977)
Natalie ... Live! (Capitol Records 1978)
I Love You So (Capitol Records 1979)
with Peabo Bryson:
We're The Best Of Friends (Capitol Records 1979)
Don't Look Back (Capitol Records 1980)
Happy Love (Capitol Records 1981)
with Johnny Mathis:
Unforgettable: A Musical Tribute To Nat King Cole (Columbia Records 1983)
I'm Ready (Epic Records Records 1983)
Dangerous (Modern Records 1985)
Everlasting (Manhattan Records 1987)
Good To Be Back (EMI Records 1989)
Unforgettable ... With Love (Elektra Records 1991)
Take A Look (Elektra Records 1993)
Star Dust (Elektra Records 1996)
This Will Be: Natalie Cole's Everlasting Love (Capitol Records 1997)
Snowfall on the Sahara (Elektra/Asylum Records 1999)
The Magic of Christmas (Elektra Records 1999)
Ask A Woman Who Knows (Verve Records 2002)
Leavin' (Verve Records 2006)
Still Unforgettable (DMI Records 2008)