Natalie Cole leaves the past behind


From Natalie Cole's album, "Leavin'."


Natalie Cole has won eight Grammys, but now, the woman who came of age in the music industry is re-inventing her sound, singing hit songs by performers Fiona Apple, Aretha Franklin and Neil Young. It's a sharp turn for a woman perhaps best known for singing jazz standards.

Her new album, due out this week, is called "Leavin'" -- as in leaving the past behind.

So far, Cole, daughter of music legend Nat King Cole, has sold more than 30 million records. Her father sang the melody of his generation, "Mona Lisa" and became the first African American to have his own TV show. Music lovers couldn't get enough of his smooth and smoky voice.

In 1957, fans were treated to a rare personal glimpse on Edward R. Murrow's "Person to Person." Young Natalie Cole made a cameo appearance. Cole has said she thought of her family as the black Kennedys.

"From a little girl I was always very mouthy, bossy, spontaneous, impulsive, all those things, and he always would just say, 'Let it ride,' you know? He liked that about me. He never tried to suppress it," she told Sunday Morning correspondent Sarah Hughes in reference to her father.

Cole also recalled that her father saw star quality in his daughter early on.

"He did say to a few people, 'I think she's got it.' Whatever it is, he saw that," she said. "And I remember when I first sang with my dad really professionally I had to audition. He said, 'You're gonna have to show me that you can do this.'"

At 11 years old, she got the part.

"I got to come out there and take a bow," Cole said. "And I probably got bitten that night, as they say, you know. And I was like, 'Ooh, I like this.'"

Four years later, lung cancer silenced Nat King Cole.

"To lose a parent at that age is just devastating," Cole said.

She went off to college, not planning on a life in show business. And when she did begin singing professionally she found that being Nat King Cole's daughter was a mixed blessing.

"Yeah, and when I finally decided to start singing I had to like really pitch a bitch to the promoters and to the owners of these clubs," she said.

Soon everyone knew her name. In 1975 she struck gold with her first album, "Inseparable." She won the Grammy for Best R & B Artist. At 26, she assumed the king's throne. But behind the curtain, her life was out of control.