On April 3, 2005, Natalie Cole performed at Robinson Center with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra. She also performed a retro-duet with her late-father, Nat King Cole. As noted previously on this blog, he had graced the Robinson stage himself in the 1940s and 1950s. Helaine Freeman from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette noted that “Cole took her listeners through music genres that included a bit of jazz, a dash of blues and a fistful of R&B/pop.”
Cole was born in 1950 the daughter of the crooner and of singer Maria Hawkins Cole. At age 6 she sang on her father’s Christmas album and started performing publicly at age 11. After attending private schools, she attended both the University of Massachusetts and University of Southern California. After college, she was signed with Capitol Records, her father’s label. Her first album was released in 1975, which garnered her a Grammy Award for Female R&B Vocal Performance.
Throughout the 1970s, she had a series of successful albums. She became the first female singer to have two platinum albums in one year. In the 1980s, her recording career slowed down, but by the late part of the decade, she had a resurgence.
In 1991, she recorded the album Unforgettable…with Love in which she sang songs her father had made famous. The best known track was the title song, “Unforgettable” in which she dueted with him. It won Album of the Year, Record of the Year, and Traditional Pop Vocal Performance of the Year at the Grammy Awards.
In the 2000s, she continued to sing and record switching between R&B and jazz genres. She also started performing with symphony orchestras.
She cancelled several concerts in December 2015 and died on December 31, 2015.