It’s been a traumatic 13 months since Natalie Cole released her latest album, “Still Unforgettable.”
Cole announced she’d been diagnosed with hepatitis C in July 2008, likely caused by her past drug abuse, and she says the treatments — including thriceweekly kidney dialysis — was “debilitating, very uncomfortable and often painful.” It grew so bad she was forced to postpone promotion of the album in September last year, and she received a kidney transplant this spring on the same day her sister Carole died from cancer.
Now the daughter of Nat King Cole is back — growing stronger, she says, but still dealing with a different kind of world.
“I’m not the kind of person that can just sit around and do nothing, ’cause that makes it worse,” explains Cole, 59. “So you push yourself every single day, and hopefully you have some good days. You never really have normal days, but you might have good days.”
She is, however, pleased to being able to re-address “Still Unforgettable,” a standards collection that came 17 years after her greatest triumph. “Unforgettable ... With Love,” propelled by a posthumous duet with her father on “Unforgettable,” sold more than 14 million copies worldwide, spent five weeks at No. 1 and won five Grammys, including Album, Song and Record of the Year.
Ever since then, Cole says she’s been “pining” to revisit that stylistic territory.
“That genre of music is one of the few art forms that very few people seem to have mastered,” explains Cole, who dueted again with her father, this time on his early ’50s hit “Walkin’ My Baby Back Home.” “And coming from my dad’s loins, I just can’t seem to let it go.
“There was a lot of pressure, of course. But I think you have to take each project by itself — I really do. I don’t think it’s fair to compare something you do now to something you did 17, 18 years ago.”
Natalie Cole performs at 8 p.m. Saturday (Oct. 3) at SoundBoard in the MotorCity Casino Hotel, 2901 Grand River Ave. Tickets are $58, $72 and $78. Call (313) 237-7711 or visit www.motorcitycasino.com.
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