Nat King Cole, born in Alabama & raised in Chicago got a family launching to his musical carer ! He learned organ & piano from his mother Perlina, who was the organist to his father’s Baptist church. He performed at 4, started lessons at 12 in jazz, gospel and Western classical, and was in a famous musical school program at DuSable High School. He was already performing in his own group in his teens.
Nat’s did start out commercially as a jazz pianist but his real career with the nation was of him as the singer. He had a soft voice that welcomed all, and carried his fame for decades after his life. Not even 20, and playing in his own jazz trio, someone said “Nat, you should be a singer”. The hit records started rolling. Cole performed on multiple NBC radio shows in the late ’30’s and early 40’s. He recorded for Excelsior Records, and then moved on to the young Capitol Records. His hot record sales helped float the company in it’s early life.
Nat’s singing successes carried on from there through the rest of his life, (which ended in 1965).