Natalie Imbruglia

Natalie Imbruglia Biography

Fiona and Alanis notwithstanding, few women in music can claim as swift a rise to pop stardom as Natalie Imbruglia. Seemingly out of nowhere, she burst on the scene in the early weeks of 1998 with a smash hit single, an ubiquitous video, and a hotly anticipated appearance on Saturday Night Live all without benefit of an album in record stores. To no one's surprise, when Imbruglia's full-length debut, Left of the Middle, was released later that spring, it charted instantly at Number 10. Suddenly the image of Imbruglia, who just months earlier had been on the verge of chucking her career in entertainment, was plastered on magazine covers across the land.

Fortunately, the young singer's past experiences had prepared her well for the onslaught of attention. Born Feb. 4, 1975, Natalie grew up in a small Australian beach town near the industrial city of Newcastle, approximately a two-hour drive from Sydney. Her father was a businessman who operated a fast food shop (today he owns a plant nursery), and her mother taught fourth grade. Along with her three sisters, Imbruglia studied tap and ballet as a pre-teen, and from the start exhibited a precocious ambition that her parents recognized and nurtured. Although at age 13 she realized she would never become a world-class ballerina, today Imbruglia looks back upon those early years as important in determining the direction of her future.

"It taught me discipline and steadfastness," she explained to US magazine, in August of 1998. "I wasn't that good … but I was so determined that I used to put planks of wood down in the garage, and practice and practice. I'd lie in bed at night and work my ankle exercises."

Relinquishing her goal to dance professionally, Imbruglia began journeying to Sydney to audition for television commercials. Among the roles she secured were parts in advertisements for Coke, Bubblicious gum, and a popular Australian snack called Twisties. At first, Imbruglia's mother and father were less than thrilled at their daughter's ambition to act, feeling it was only a phase and that she should continue to study dance. By the time Natalie reached 16, however, her parents were convinced enough of their daughter's aspirations that they allowed her to leave performing arts school so that she could audition full-time. The decision proved to be pivotal.

Just six months after quitting school, Imbruglia managed to snag a guest part on the highly rated Australian soap opera, Neighbours. Although the script called for Imbruglia's character to depart after two weeks, the role blossomed, and suddenly Natalie found herself cast as a full-fledged member of one of Australia's most watched TV ensembles. Thrilled at first at her good fortune — Imbruglia played Beth, a combination construction-worker and heartbreaker — she soon grew tired of the role, and found the work unsatisfying. "I was like, what have I done?" she later told US magazine. "I'm not saying it was a nasty, terrible job; it just wasn't for me." At the end of her second year, in 1994, she left the show and moved to London.

Perhaps she was burned out, or perhaps she merely craved a break, but for whatever reason, for the next two years Imbruglia avoided work and immersed herself in London's club scene. Although Neighbours was a hit show in England, Imbruglia resisted the urge to capitalize on her fame, and instead concentrated on shaking her image as a soap actress. Finally, almost broke and unable to obtain a work visa, she decided to try her hand at writing songs, something she had always wanted to do but had never attempted. Reluctant at first to share her efforts with anyone, she nonetheless eventually summoned to courage to meet with former Haircut 100 percussionist Mark Fox, who was then serving as creative director for BMG Publishing.

From that starting point, events began to take on a life of their own. Sensing Imbruglia possessed both talent and star quality, Fox instantly thought of his friend (and former Cure bassist) Phil Thornally, who had co-written a song four years ago that had been a near-hit for the Brit-pop band, Ednaswap. After recording a demo with Imbruglia, the men presented "Torn" to Anne Barrett, an influential manager who had guided the career of British rapper Betty Boo. To their great joy, Barrett was suitably impressed.

"When I first heard Natalie sing 'Torn,'" she later told Spin, "I got the same feeling as when I first heard Chrissie Hynde sing 'Brass in Pocket.'" Barrett immediately relayed her enthusiasm to RCA executive Jeremy Marsh, who, upon hearing the demo himself, signed Imbruglia on the spot.

Working with such luminaries as Nigel Godrich (who produced Radiohead's OK Computer), Imbruglia completed work on her debut album, Left of the Middle, near the end of 1997. Although the powers-that-be at RCA tried to map out a marketing strategy for their new protégé — who they envisioned as a less neurotic version of Alanis Morissette — "Torn" soon proved to be a beast that couldn't be tamed. First, in January of 1998, influential L.A. radio station KROQ began playing an import of the single, and other stations quickly followed suit. Then MTV placed the video for the song — which revealed Imbruglia to be a doe-eyed beauty — into heavy rotation. Next came an invitation to appear on Saturday Night Live. Small wonder, then, that when the album was released in March, adoring fans snatched it up in droves.

Indeed, the response to Left of the Middle, and specifically "Torn," was overwhelming, and 1998 saw her take home several statuettes for her efforts; the MTV Music Video Awards, the Australian Record Industry Awards, the MTV Europe Video Music Awards, and the Billboard Music Awards are all represented on her mantel. And 1999 is looking to be another award-winner for Imbruglia. In addition to garnering three 1999 Grammy nominations (Best New Artist, Best Pop Album, and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance), she took away two Brit Awards at the Feb. 16 event: Best International Female and Best International Newcomer.

Predictably, in the two years since she burst onto the music scene, Imbruglia has occasionally been subjected to tabloid speculation about her personal life. Besides a much-publicized relationship with Friends' star David Schwimmer (which was noteworthy mainly for its brevity), she's also been romantically linked with singer Lenny Kravitz, although she insists the relationship is platonic. Moreover, in a true bit of weirdness, she was soundly castigated in the press for not having written "Torn," although she never claimed otherwise.

Chances are good, however, that such controversies are the last thing on Imbruglia's mind these days. Instead she's keeping busy writing songs with ex-Eurythmic Dave Stewart for a new album scheduled for release later this year. And despite her meteoric rise to stardom, she remains philosophically grounded. "I think it's just [a matter of] trying to concentrate on your little goal in life," she recently told MTV, "and not focus on the big picture too much. That's what I try and do."

Natalie Imbruglia Bio from Discogs

Natalie Jane Imbruglia (born February 4, 1975) is an Australian singer, songwriter, model and actress.

She made her breakthrough in 1997 with a Grammy-nominated cover version of "Torn", as originally performed by US band Ednaswap, which gave her huge international success.

Apart from being a singer Imbruglia is also an actress and debuted in the 2003-comedy film "Johnny English".

Older sister of recording artist Laura Imbruglia.

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