Excitement arises as I approach Natalie Cole’s home. It is not an everyday occurrence to interview a living legend. After several decades in the music industry with its ups and downs, she is timeless and has had extensive highlights in her career. I wait for her to come down and I am welcomed by her warmth. She is kind and friendly and we sat down to chat more casually than is customary in a celebrity interview.
She radiates compassion, a feeling that ̶ as she later mentioned ̶ arose as a result of her health struggles in the past years. She will tell you proudly and with a smile that the organ she needed was donated to her by a Latino family. You can think that metaphorically she now feels the Latin rhythms inside her. Hence her musical renaissance with a new album in Spanish where she collaborates with artists like Juan Luis Guerra and where “Acércate Más,” sung as a digital duet with her father, Nat King Cole, will melt your heart.
Cole sings in Spanish with a soulful passion that is felt in every tune. She recalls as a child when her father took her to a market in Mexico where she experienced a magical world at the plaza or mercado: “It was all so beautiful to me. My father loved Mexico and Latin America and people loved him there.” But why a new record in Spanish? Natalie Cole is quick to answer: “There is something in the culture that is so passionate and alive. After so many years in this business, while creating this album, I found that it was a new cycle for me. Latin culture is so vivacious and happy.”
She also confessed that learning to master her Spanish for her recording sessions was not always easy: “There were days when I thought I would not be able to do it, but I kept at it and then suddenly it started to make sense.” Would she do it again? “Actually,” she replies with a smile, “I would love to sing more and more in Spanish and all the different genres such as bachata and mariachi music.” She seems to have a new-found love: Spanish Music!