By Nickie Wang
Manila Standard Today
American singer-songwriter Natalie Cole is on a mission to fill up the Araneta Coliseum on March 11 crooning the most beloved ballads and R&B classics that catapulted her as a hot R&B star of the ’80s.
The 59 year-old singer, who popularized the Grammy Award-winning songs “Unforgettable,” “When I Fall In Love,” “This Will Be,” and other hits like “Inseparable” and “Miss You Like Crazy,” will relive her songs in a concert called An Unforgettable Evening with Natalie Cole.
“I’m pulling a lot of stuff from way, way back,” Cole said. “When you have 25 years of great stuff in your catalog, you want to give them as much as you can, especially an audience that has been with you for all of it.”
Natalie’s first-ever concert in the country promises great entertainment as she pays tribute to her musical influences like her legendary father, Nat King Cole, and Frank Sinatra.
She started and achieved early success as an R&B singer in the ’70s. Over the years, most especially in the ’90s, she gradually shifted her genre to a more jazzy musical style and even released singles that are pop standard-oriented. Her change of musical style is evident when she recorded the album Take A Look (1993), When I Fall In Love (1996), and Snowfall on the Sahara (1999).
The American chanteuse, who is behind 10 Grammy Awards and more than 30 million record sales worldwide, first released an album in 1975 (Inseparable) followed by a self-titled album in 1976. Almost every year from 1970 to 1991, Natalie came up with high-profiled materials that endeared her to legions of fans across the globe.
One of the most remarkable feats of her luminous career is the successful remake of her father’s classic, “Unforgettable,” which she recorded in 1991. With a little help of technology, Natalie had a duet with her father Nat King Cole, who had passed on by that time. The late legendary R&B singer’s vocal from the original recording was spliced into the new track to recreate the single. The album that included that track peaked at the US Billboard Pop Chart at no. 1 for five weeks. It also received eight times platinum certification from RIAA selling more than seven million copies in the United States alone.
At the height of her career, Natalie had to deal with the prize that came together with her overwhelming success. She had to battle a growing addiction to illegal drugs while being in and out of bad marriages (she has been married three times). In an autobiography released in 2000, Natalie admitted that she was addicted to heroin and crack cocaine. In 2008, she was diagnosed with hepatitis C, which the doctors believed she contracted from sharing needles during her rampant addiction to heroin.
“I’ve had my share of doing things that I really wish I hadn’t done,” Cole stated. “It doesn’t mean I’m not going to make mistakes again, but don’t let it be in the studio. Let that be at least one place where I can kinda get it right.”
Natalie’s illness doesn’t stop her from doing the things she loves. The international multi-platinum diva continues to tour the world to do concert and promote her music. With a career that spans four decades, Natalie continues to produce great hits.
Last year, she released an album entitled Still Unforgettable. The pop-jazz album earned Natalie her 10th Grammy trophy and an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Jazz Artist. These just prove that Natalie Cole and her music are one, that’s why she is called an international artist; she has an impeccable talent that makes her an optimum songstress whose recognizable voice produced unforgettable classic hits that have touched millions of fans all over the world.