Born: Feb 6, 1950 in Los Angeles
Died: December 31, 2015 in Los Angeles
Styles: Quiet Storm, Adult Contemporary, Urban
Instruments: Vocals, Piano
The daughter of jazz and pop legend Nat King Cole, Natalie Cole has forged a successful career in two phases, doing R&B/urban contemporary and then jazz-based pop. She made her stage debut at age 11 and sang in college. Cole met the writing and producing team of Chuck Jackson and Marvin Yancey in 1973. The next year they collaborated on some sessions that were recorded at Curtis Mayfield's Curtom studios in Chicago. These helped her land a deal with Capitol, and she teamed with Jackson/Yancey for a string of hit albums and singles from 1975 until 1983. Such LPs as Inseparable, Natalie, Thankful, Unpredictable, and I Love You So yielded five number one R&B hits between 1975 and 1977. These included "This Will Be, "Inseparable," "Our Love," and "I've Got Love on My Mind." She stayed with Capitol until 1983, then switched to Epic for her final album with the Jackson/Yancey tandem. Cole made duets with Peabo Bryson in 1979 and 1980 and Ray Parker, Jr., in 1987. She scored more hits with "Jump Start," "I Live for Your Love," and "Over You" in 1987, and "Pink Cadillac," a cover of a Bruce Springsteen tune, in 1988, and then made her stylistic shift. Cole eased into the transition with "When I Fall in Love," a number her father recorded in 1957. It was included on her 1987 LP Everlasting. She fully embraced the move with the 1991 LP Unforgettable: With Love, earning Grammy Awards and landing a number one pop album that eventually sold over five million copies. The title track featured her doing a duet with her father via electronic elaboration. She continued the jazzy trend with Take a Look in 1993, and she toured and did television specials working with a large orchestra conducted by Nelson Riddle. Holly & Ivy (1994) and Stardust (1996) both continued Cole's exploration of American pop standards. Snowfall on the Sahara was released in 1999, as was The Magic of Christmas, recorded with the London Symphony Orchestra. Ask a Woman Who Knows (2002) and Leavin' (2006) followed for Verve.
- Ron Wynn (All Music Guide)