Photo: Matthew Rolston
Rewind: Natalie Cole's 1991 tribute to Nat King Cole, Unforgettable: With Love, earned six Grammys and sold 7 million copies, thanks to the title track's groundbreaking duet with her late father.
Fast-forward: On her new CD, Still Unforgettable (DMI/Rhino), Cole sings "Coffee Time" (an MGM-musical classic, recommended to her by Tony Bennett) and harmonizes with Dad again on "Walkin' My Baby Back Home." "When people ask, 'Who do you want to duet with most?' I say, 'I already did it.'"
Play it again: Releasing another collection of American standards doesn't mean that Cole has stopped looking for new sounds. "I'll listen to anything and everything," she says. She gave us a short list of recent favorites.
Jill Scott, The Real Thing: Words and Sounds Vol. 3 (Hidden Beach): "It's about the end of a relationship, so there's a lot of pain. I love that she's saying, 'Hey, this is how I am right now. I don't feel like writing about candy and roses and how everything's wonderful.'"
Sergio Mendes, Encanto (Concord): "Fergie and will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas contributed to this, and so did I. Sergio isn't afraid to experiment, to blend his Brazilian roots with contemporary American sounds. He's one of the hippest veterans in the business—the Quincy Jones of Latin music."
Erykah Badu, New Amerykah, Pt. 1: 4th World War (Universal Motown): "She's got so much talent, so much to say. She's one of the freer artists of our time. Everyone is trying to be like everyone else these days; Erykah is all by herself."
Anthony Hamilton, Soulife (Atlantic/Rhino): "Great beats, great stories, great melody, great voice. When you think back to R&B legends like Luther Vandross, Marvin Gaye, and Donny Hathaway, you realize that singers like Anthony are hard to come by. He's cool."