Natalie Cole

When singer Natalie Cole was in college at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, she performed weekends at nightclubs. Prior to one show, a small club displayed a sign that announced her only as Nat “King” Cole's daughter. She was so angry that she scolded the manager of the club; however, 20 years later, Cole reached the pinnacle of her success by “teaming up” with her late father in an album called Unforgettable With Love. The album earned seven Grammy awards and stayed on the pop charts for several weeks. For Natalie, it was a special tribute to her legendary father who died of lung cancer when she was only 15.

Natalie is one of five children born to the famous singer Nat King Cole and his wife Maria. Maria sang with Duke Ellington before marrying Nat. Natalie, their second child, was born on February 6, 1950. Cole told Working Mother that her childhood was filled with music that her mom and dad liked to hear as well as the music her dad sung. She said, “He never directed me away from any type of music, but it was the kind of music Dad made that's left a lasting impression on me.” It did not take long for her to follow in his footsteps. By age six, she appeared on one of her dad's albums. At eleven, she performed briefly in a nightclub act. However, Cole claims her father died never knowing that she wanted a career in singing because she told him she wanted to be a doctor. He never pushed her into singing, as he wanted her to choose her own career. While earning a degree in child psychology from the University of Massachusetts, she realized that she wanted to sing.

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