Natalie Maria Cole is an American singer, songwriter and performer. She achieved success in her early career as an R&B star, but smoothly changed her repertoire toward a more pop and jazz oriented musical style in the early 1990s. She has won nine Grammy Awards. Cole has been singing since she was 5 years old.
Natalie Maria Cole was born in Los Angeles, California, the daughter of crooner Nat King Cole and former Duke Ellington Orchestra singer Maria Cole. Raised in the affluent Hancock Park district of Los Angeles; regarding her childhood, Cole has referred to her family as “the black Kennedys” and was exposed to many great singers of jazz, soul, and blues. At the age of six Natalie sang on her father’s Christmas album and later began performing at age 11.
Cole grew up with older adopted sister Carole “Cookie” ; adopted brother Nat “Kelly” Cole, and younger twin sisters Timolin and Casey. Her paternal uncle Freddy Cole is a singer and pianist with numerous CDs and awards. Cole was 15 years old and attending an east coast boarding school, the Northfield Mount Hermon School in Northfield, Massachusetts, when her father died of lung cancer in February 1965. Soon afterwards she began having a difficult relationship with her mother. She enrolled in the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She briefly transferred to University of Southern California where she pledged the Epsilion Theta chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. She later transferred back to the University of Massachusetts, where she majored in Child Psychology and minored in German graduating in 1972.