*Natalie Maria Cole, the daughter of R&B legend Nat King Cole, was born on February 6, 1950, in Los Angeles, California. She has followed in her father’s footsteps to become one of the most heard-of R&B, soul and pop musicians of all time.
An acclaimed, singer, songwriter and pianist, Cole has been active as an accomplished musician since the mid-1950s. Given all the necessary provisions a child can ask for, Cole has an Undergraduate Degree in Child Psychology after graduating from the University of Massachusetts.
Having been recognized for a reformed voice in the R&B scheme of music, Cole has been awarded 9 Grammy Awards since 1976, including awards for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Album of the Year, Best Traditional Vocal Pop Album, and Best New Artist on Feb. 28, 1976.
Cole began singing as early as the age of 6, when she performed as a backing vocalist on her father’s Christmas album. After graduation, she would perform in various clubs, most of whom would let her perform due to her affiliation with Nat King Cole.
It was in one of the Chicago clubs where producers, Chuck Jackson and Marvin Yancy noticed Cole perform and were impressed by her soulful voice.
In the next few months, Cole would work on several tracks with Jackson and Yancy in Los Angeles, furnishing the compositions which came out in 1975 in the form of Cole’s first album, Inseperable.
Two tracks on the album, namely “This Will Be” and “Inseparable” became instant hits, topping the billboard charts at number 1. Cole also won Grammy awards for both songs.
Cole was now reaching new heights in her career, and only a year later, released her second album, Natalie (1976).
Like the album preceding it, Natalie became a top charter with songs like “Sophisticated Lady” and “Mr. Melody” becoming very popular with the fans.
Cole’s decision to include jazz and funk elements in to the groovy context of the album worked out well, and was appreciated by her audience.
This did not even come close to what Cole had imagined to be her career, as she next released her first platinum album, Unpredictable (1977).
This album had songs such as “I’ve Got Love on My Mind” and “I’m Catching Hell”, both serving as album favorites.
Successive releases of top-selling albums only helped perpetuate what Cole considered to be real music, and popularized her to such an extent that by 1979, she was awarded a star in the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
In the same year as that of Unpredictable, Cole released her fourth album, Thankful, including the hit single “Our Love”. Before the close of the decade, she also made efforts towards two more albums, namely I Love You So and We’re the Best of Friends, both of which reached gold status within a few months.
Bearing in mind the success of the 1970s, the following decade did not serve Cole very well. Her continual failures following the release of Don’t Look Back and I’m Ready never came close to becoming as popular as expected.
Her battles with drug addiction took her to an asylum facility, and after her release, it became clear that the once lost R&B star had returned.
Some of her next few albums, including Everlasting (1987) and Unforgettable… with Love (1991) brought her world-wide acclaim, and earned her a rightful place back amongst the top charters. [Bio via BlackFacts.com.]
According to Reuters and BBC News, Cole canceled several events in December 2015 due to illness. It was reported on January 1, 2016, that she had died the day prior at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
In official news on her cause of death, her family stated that Cole was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension after her kidney transplant in 2009.
Her funeral was held on January 11, 2016, at the West Angeles Church of God in Christ in Los Angeles. David Foster, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Lionel Richie, Chaka Khan, Eddie Levert, Mary Wilson, Gladys Knight, Ledisi, Jesse Jackson, Angela Bassett, Denise Nicholas, Marla Gibbs, Jackée Harry and Freda Payne were among the mourners at the funeral, according to People.com. She was buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California.