After decades of recordings, over 70 million albums sold and nine Grammy Awards later, singer Natalie Cole has celebrated another ‘first’ in her career with the release of first ever Spanish language album, Natalie Cole En Español, this week.
Her first album since undergoing a kidney transplant in 2009, Cole recently spoke with CBS This Morning about her bold decision to record a Spanish album and how her transplant was an unlikely inspiration for the record.
Cole told the story of the odd circumstances of finding her kidney donor after being in the care of a nurse who’s niece suddenly passed away. Her niece was an organ donor and happened to be a perfect match for Cole, so the nurse agreed to donate her kidney to ailing singer. Cole explained that she later met the donor family, who was from El Salvador, and found that she felt a closer connection to Latin culture after the transplant.
“I find myself very attracted even more so to Latin culture, Latin music, Latin men,” she laughed. “But the whole environment now is sharper to me.”
Never mind that Natalie didn’t speak fluent Spanish at the time of the recording, she notes that her famous father, Nat King Cole, also didn’t speak the language when he released his Spanish album in 1958.
Cole adds that she’s inherited some of her late father’s traits, specifically “his fearlessness,” when it comes to recording music.
“He was a pioneer in so many ways. He would step out on faith to do something musical…and he would just take that risk. That’s kind of something I got that from him…he was never trendy,” said Cole.
The album features ‘virtual duets’ marrying Cole’s voice with her iconic father’s for three Spanish songs her father also recorded including, “Acércate más” (“Come Closer”).
Natalie Cole En Espanol, which also includes duets with Italian singer Andrea Bocelli and Dominican artist Juan Luis Guerra, is in stores now.
Learn more about the album in the full interview clip below: