Natalie Cole passed away on New Year’s Eve at the age of 65. She had built a celebrated music career in the wake of the success of her father, Nat King Cole, who was one of the most well-known jazz musicians of his time. She grew up in the biz and CNN reports she told the Wall Street Journal in 2014 that she remembers meeting her parents’ colleagues as a child.
“I remember meeting Peggy Lee, Danny Thomas, Lena Horne, Dorothy Dandridge, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong and so many others at parties.”
Condolences poured out at the news of Natalie Cole’s death, including from the Rev. Jesse Jackson.
— Rev Jesse Jackson Sr (@RevJJackson) January 1, 2016
Arsenio Hall also paid his condolences.
In college, I named my bass guitar Natalie! As a young stand up comic I opened for Natalie Cole. She was all that, in all ways! [ RIP ]
— Arsenio Hall (@ArsenioHall) January 1, 2016
Natalie Cole led a wonderful life full of love. Here are 10 facts that many may not know about the famous musician.
1. Heavy reports that Natalie Cole was nominated for a total of 21 Grammy Awards throughout the span of her career, and she won ten of those awards. In 2010, she was awarded the Society of Singers Lifetime Achievement Award.
2. SongFacts reports that Natalie Cole was diagnosed with hepatitis C in 2008. She got the disease from sharing needles back in the days when she was a drug addict.
3. Natalie Cole grew up in a largely white community in Los Angeles. The fact that she was a black person and her pride in that fact really dawned on her when she went to college and got involved in protests against the Vietnam War.
“When I went to college I realised I was a black person too. It was a great eye-opener for me, which is why I got involved.”
4. Despite her father’s illustrious career and his influence on her phrasing and vocal style, Natalie Cole’s main influences in music were jazz artists such as Nancy Wilson, Sarah Vaughan, and Ella Fitzgerald.
Natalie Cole visits her dad Nat King Cole at Capitol Studios, with Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald. pic.twitter.com/SCkcGKt6R2
— Inma φ (@_Inma_) January 1, 2016
5. Natalie Cole said that her 1985 album, Dangerous, was the first album she ever recorded sober. It was recorded after she went to rehab for her addiction to heroin and cocaine in 1983.
— extremely attractive (@vargastonova) July 8, 2015
6. Prior to the death of Amy Winehouse, Natalie Cole spoke out about how she didn’t agree with Winehouse performing at the Grammy Awards and receiving nods that glorified her behavior.
“I don’t agree with the Grammys giving [Amy] those nods. I think it sends the wrong message. Her behavior was being glorified. They took advantage of a young girl who’s very ill.”
7. Today reports from Natalie Cole’s biography and memoirs that even though she loved her father’s music, she did what she could to avoid it in her early days as a musician.
“I’ve always adored my father’s music, but ever since I’d started singing, whether it was while I was still a student at the University of Massachusetts or professionally, I avoided Dad’s material. I was determined to create my own identity.”
8. Natalie Cole posted in her biography on her own website that she released a Spanish album that paid tribute to Latin music more than it did her father.
“This album is not so much a tribute to my father as it is to Latin music. My whole thing was, if I’m going to do this as a first-timer, a non-Spanish-speaking American, I need to pay tribute to the music. I need to honor it because I’m not entitled to just sing it any kind of way. I have a duty to make it real, to pick authentic, beautiful, traditional Latin songs. And that’s what we went for.”
9. Natalie Cole’s father did not get to see her success in her solo career. He died at the age of 45, ten year before she won her first Grammy Award.
— MVRobinson (@MVRobinson1) February 8, 2015
10. Natalie Cole was not with her sister when she died of cancer because Cole had to go into surgery to receive a donated kidney.
[Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images]