Natalie Jane Imbruglia (pronounced
/ɪmˈbruːliə/) (born February 4, 1975) is an Australian singer-songwriter,
model and actress.
In the early 1990s, Imbruglia was known to audiences as Beth Brennan
Willis in the popular Australian soap Neighbours. Three years after
leaving the program, Imbruglia launched a singing career with the
international hit, "Torn". The subsequent debut album Left of the Middle
(1997) sold over 6 million copies worldwide. While following releases,
White Lilies Island (2001) and Counting Down the Days (2005), have been
unable to match the commercial success of her debut, the latter became her
first UK #1. Her fourth studio album Come to Life, was released on October
She co-starred in the 2003 film Johnny English and made her leading
actress debut in the 2009 film Closed for Winter.
First of the four daughters to a Sicilian (Lipari, Messina) father and a
Anglo-Celtic Australian mother, Imbruglia grew up on the Central Coast,
north of Sydney, south of Newcastle. Imbruglia studied ballet, tap, and
highland dancing as a child, hoping to make a career out of it. She also
sang in shopping malls and in school performances. At 14 her dance
instructor encouraged her to sing with an all girl group but once at the
audition, the managers saw that the strikingly pretty youngster with a
beautiful voice could make it on her own. They wanted to sign her as a
solo act but she refused. "They were like 'we're going to make you a
star...' Even at that age you couldn't talk to me like that. I was like
'see you later..'"
Imbruglia auditioned for Australian TV commercials and appeared in spots
for Coke and the popular Australian snack Twisties. By age 16, she left
high school to start a career in acting. She soon obtained the chance to
play a regular role on the Australian soap opera, Neighbours at the age of
16 1/2. Neighbours has also launched the careers of many other successful
Australian female artists such as Kylie Minogue, Holly Valance, Delta
Goodrem and Natalie Bassingthwaighte.
By the end of her second year, she left the show to move to London,
immersing herself in the city's club scene. Refused a work permit, within
a year she became bankrupt. This forced her to go back to her passion of
singing, something which she had been putting off because she thought
everyone would laugh at her because she'd been on Neighbours. Her effort
paid off and she was signed to BMG Publishing, after coming up with a demo
of the song "Torn" which greatly impressed RCA Records.
She has received an MTV Award for Best New Artist in 1998, and 3
constitutive Grammy Award nominations in 1999. She has sold over 9 million
albums worldwide. She was ranked #11 on Rock on the Net's list of single
artists of the year in 1998, and #76 in 2001. Natalie Imbruglia has tied
up her 4-album record deal with BMG after the delivery of her compilation
album Glorious: The Singles 1997-2007.
Imbruglia's first internationally released single, "Torn" (1997), was a
cover of an Ednaswap song. Instantly the single became one of the biggest
hits of the 90s, reaching number two in the UK Singles Chart in November
1997 and number one on airplay around the world and was number one on the
Billboard Airplay chart for 14 weeks. The single went on to sell over a
million copies in the United Kingdom alone.
It was also released as a radio single in the U.S., but not in buyable
CD-format. The single quickly hit #1 on the Billboard's Hot 100 Airplay
chart, where it stayed for 14 weeks. At the time, singles not released
commercially were unable to chart to the overall Hot 100 chart (combined
sales and airplay), so "Torn" made no appearance on it for a while. By the
time the policy was changed in late 1998 to allow airplay-only songs,
"Torn" was already heading down the charts, so its peak on the Hot 100
only ended up being at #42. The single also topped the Top 40
Mainstream/CHR Pop and Adult Top 40 charts.
In October 1997, it broke the all-time airplay record in the U.K. for
being the most played (more than 2000 plays) for six consecutive weeks. It
was finally No. 1 for 14 weeks in the U.K. radio chart, a record that is
being tied by only Simply Red's Fairground. It was the No. 1 radio single
in the U.S. from March to July 1998. It was knocked down to No. 2 by The
Goo Goo Dolls' Iris.
Rick Dees, in his Top 40 Chart show also declared "Torn" as the 'number
one radio single of 1990s' in their 2000 Millennium Countdown show,
broadcast from KIIS-FM on New Year's Eve.
Imbruglia made a surprise appearance alongside David Armand midway through
a performance of his supposed 'interpretative dance' routine to sing her
hit song Torn at Amnesty International's The Secret Policeman's Ball
Imbruglia's debut album Left of the Middle was released on 8 December
1997. It sold 350,000 copies in the UK 3 weeks after its initial release
and was certified platinum. It has sold over 6 million copies to date. It
broke the record of the highest selling debut album by a
pop/rock/alternative female artist, more than Alanis Morissette, Fiona
Apple, and Meredith Brooks combined in its first week according to
Billboard. The second single released in the UK, after "Torn" was "Big
Mistake", which debuted at number-two. "Wishing I Was There" followed and
it was less successful than her first two singles, reaching number 19.
However, "Wishing I Was There" was a smash hit on the UK radio, peaked at
No. 2 in summer 1998, and was a summer smash hit in the USA radio, peaked
at No. 14 on the Top 40 Show. The final single from Left of the Middle was
"Smoke", and the reception was much more divided compared to the other
singles. It was a hit in the UK and made the top 5, while in Australia it
just missed the top 40. Eventually, the album became a million-seller
after charting well in many countries and entering the Top 10 in the US
and UK. In 1999, she recorded a cover of the song Never Tear Us Apart by
INXS with Tom Jones which appeared on his album Reload.
Left of the Middle was certified platinum by RIAA within 4 weeks of
release (3 April 1998) and was certified 2X platinum in November 1998.
Imbruglia's next album, White Lilies Island, arrived in 2001. Named after
an island where her English and main home is situated, the writing process
took almost three years to complete in which she co-wrote every track. The
album's first single, "That Day," was very different stylistically from
her previous singles, but it did not reach the UK Top 10. In the USA,
"Wrong Impression" was released as the first single and it enjoyed small
success, charting in the Hot 100 Singles chart and the Adult Contemporary
chart. The track was also released in the UK as a second single, and it
did slightly better than That Day. "Beauty On The Fire", the final single,
experienced minimal success and barely entered charts worldwide, and
didn't make the top 50 in Australia. The album still managed to sell over
1 million copies but failed to repeat the widespread success of Left of
Imbruglia's third album was ready in November 2003. Imbruglia's record
label refused to release it due to it being too rock and not
radio-friendly. She was later given songs to record with Swedish pop
producers, Bloodshy & Avant, which she refused to do. Imbruglia and her
record label parted ways at the beginning of 2004. Four months later she
signed with a new label Brightside Recordings, which was formed by a
former Innocent Records executive, Hugh Goldsmith.
Imbruglia started working on an album again. In April 2005, Imbruglia
released her third studio album Counting Down the Days in the UK with
"Shiver" as its first single. "Shiver" was a huge success, and it became
her longest running single in the UK since "Torn." It topped UK airplay
charts for several weeks, reaching eighth place in the UK charts. It also
became the most played song of 2005. The song's acclaim and reception paid
off and Counting Down The Days became her first album to reach the top
spot on the album charts.
It was decided that 'Sanctuary' would be second single from the album. The
promo singles were sent to radio stations. The decision was later changed
to the title track "Counting Down the Days", with radio stations being
asked to play the album version, because the radio mix was not finished.
The single was released on July 25 but it did not have as much success in
the singles chart as "Shiver." Though it managed to reignite interest in
its parent album, and also received a lot of airplay in the UK. Due to the
single, the album managed to re-enter the top 40 in the official UK
Imbruglia had a choice to either release 'Perfectly' as her third single,
or use the GBP200,000 funding from BMG to do a tour. She decided to do a
small European tour (as she had not done a proper tour since Left of the
Middle) in late October and November to promote the album. Though the
album never entered UK Top 40 again, she proved once again that she had
maintained a dedicated fan base; several concerts, especially those in
London, sold out.
The album is the 100th best-selling album in 2005, selling 204,877 copies
in the UK alone.
Imbruglia started working on her 4th album in late 2005. In mid 2007 the
plans changed and Natalie's record company decided to release the single
collection instead. The compilation is a celebration of Imbruglia's 10
years in the music industry. The only single lifted from the album -
"Glorious" premiered in BBC Radio 1 on the Chris Moyles Show. The
promotion included a special acoustic gig. It can be found on iTunes. The
Singles Collection debuted at #5 in the UK Music charts, and boasted 5 new
songs, including the single "Glorious", as well as a bonus DVD featuring
all Imbruglia's Music Videos. The album has sold around 600,000 copies
worldwide to date.
Natalie parted ways with her record label. She is no longer associated
with Brightside Recordings. It has been confirmed that Imbruglia obtained
the rights to the songs recorded for the album and is going to release her
4th studio album on her own independent label, Malabar Records. Natalie
confirmed that the songs included on the record were co-written with Ben
Hillier, Dave McCracken, Daniel Johns, Gary Clark, Jamie Hartman, Paul
Harris and Shep Solomon. Some of the tracks were produced by Hillier and
mixed by Danton Supple, who previously collaborated with the singer on her
album White Lilies Island. The album was scheduled to be released in March
2009 with the first single being sent to radiostations in February. It has
now been confirmed by Natalie that the first single will be sent to radio
around July, as she had a “last-minute inspiration" and also had some new
material offered from Chris Martin. In an interview with BBC Radio 1 she
said that "there is some electronic stuff in there". The album is
confirmed to be titled Come to Life.
According to The Sun, Imbruglia and Chris Martin of Coldplay collaborated
on "a string of tracks, which are likely to feature on her forthcoming
album". Martin later confirmed the information. In an interview he said he
had asked Natalie to record one of the band's song which, he thinks,
turned out great adding "we've given her the best Coldplay song of all
time she sounds brilliant on it. I think she has a very unique talent and
an incredibly unique voice." Natalie later stressed that she recorded two
songs written by him saying "if Chris Martin calls with two songs, you
don't think, you say, 'Yes'." It was confirmed that the songs were mixed
by Michael Brauer. He also informed that there are actually three songs
written by Chris, which were recorded by Natalie and that the album is
finished and awaits mastering.
Two songs - "My God" and "Apologise"–leaked to the Internet in early
February. It was confirmed that the latter was co-written with Jamie
Hartman of Ben's Brother and will not be included on Natalie’s 4th album.
A version of "Apologise" performed by Ben's Brother was released instead
in 2009 as the first single from their second album, Battling Giants.
Tracks confirmed to be part of the album include "Fun", "Lukas", and
"Want", which were mixed by Michael Brauer. The music video for a
pre-single track, "Wild About It", was filmed in London on July 25, 2009.
In July 2009, it was announced that the album will be released via Island
Records outside of Australia and New Zealand. A record deal for
distribution in Australia and New Zealand is expected to be announced
soon. Universal Music is set to release the album locally in Australia on
October 9, 2009, and New Zealand on October 5, 2009.
According to Natalie Imbruglia's website, the first official single taken
from Come to Life is "Want", which was written by Natalie Imbruglia,
Daniel Johns, Gary Clark, and Chris Martin. The single will be released on
September 28, 2009.
On August 3, 2009 the music video of "Wild About It" was released.
Come to Life was released on October 12, 2009 in Europe.
On New Year's Eve 2003, Imbruglia and her boyfriend of three and a half
years, Silverchair frontman Daniel Johns, were married in a beach ceremony
in Port Douglas, Queensland, Australia. While Imbruglia lived mainly in
Windsor, Berkshire, UK, on an island named "White Lilies" (also the name
of her second album), Johns lived in Newcastle, Australia. On January 4,
2008, Imbruglia and Johns released a statement announcing their divorce,
citing the tyranny of distance as the main reason. However, the two remain
Imbruglia is the elder sister of singer-songwriter Laura Imbruglia.
Imbruglia is an ambassador for Virgin Unite and supports campaigns to end
poverty and to bring attention to the disease known as obstetric fistula.
She appeared in a sketch at the Secret Policeman's Ball for Amnesty
International on October 31, 2006.
She has also spoken publicly of suffering from clinical depression to
raise awareness about the disorder.
2008 saw Natalie step up to support the Fashion Targets Breast Cancer
campaign in support of Breakthrough Breast Cancer, alongside fellow
celebrities: comedian Alan Carr, DJ & presenter Edith Bowman, actress Anna
Friel and supermodel Twiggy.
Imbruglia was named 6th most naturally beautiful woman of all time in
2004. Audrey Hepburn topped the poll in which only experts like fashion
editors, model agents and make-up artists could vote. The voting was
decided on the "most naturally beautiful woman, inside and out". She was
ranked 90th on the VH1 100 Sexiest Artists.
She has been seen sporting tattoos of Sanskrit/Hindi inscription "Shreya"
on her neck, Chinese word for courage on her left foot and Sanskrit Aum on
her lower back, and has her left nipple pierced.
Imbruglia stated that she has never had any plastic surgery but added "I
wouldn't rule it out because I don't know how I'll feel in the future."
She also stated she'd like to "grow old gracefully, wrinkles and all".
Besides modelling for L'Oréal, Imbruglia also modelled Sass and Bide's
"The Mad Ones" dress to raise money for cancer.