Natalie Jane Imbruglia (/ɪmˈbruːliə/; born 4 February 1975) is a British-Australian singer/songwriter, model, and actress. In the early 1990s, Imbruglia was known to audiences as Beth Brennan in the popular Australian soap opera Neighbours. Three years after leaving the programme, Imbruglia launched a singing career with the international cover and hit "Torn".
Her subsequent debut album, Left of the Middle (1997), sold over 7 million copies worldwide. Further releases, White Lilies Island (2001) and Counting Down the Days (2005), have been unable to match the commercial success of her debut, although the latter did become her first UK No. 1. In 2007 she released Glorious: The Singles 97-07, a greatest hits compilation featuring the single "Glorious", which peaked at number 23 in the UK Singles Chart.
Her latest album to date, Come to Life (2009), proved the least commercially successful in Australia and Europe, with a UK release cancelled altogether. She co-starred in the 2003 film Johnny English and made her leading actress debut in the 2009 film Closed for Winter.
Natalie was born on 4 February 1975, in Sydney, Australia, the second of the four daughters to Elliot Imbruglia, her father of Italian descent (originally a Sicilian from Lipari) and Maxene Anderson, her Anglo-Australian mother. Imbruglia grew up in Berkeley Vale, New South Wales, between Sydney and Newcastle. At the age of 15, she moved to Sydney with her family. Imbruglia studied ballet, tap, and highland dancing as a child, hoping to make a career out of it.
Imbruglia auditioned for Australian television commercials and appeared in spots for Coca-Cola and the popular Australian snack Twisties. By age 16, she left high school to start a career in acting. She soon secured a regular role on the Australian soap opera Neighbours. By the end of her second year, she left the show to move to London in 1994, immersing herself in the city's club scene. Natalie occasionally met with Anne Barret, who would become her future manager and convinced her to register a demo with four songs. 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.
1997-2000: Left of the Middle:
She received an MTV Award for Best New Artist in 1998, and three constitutive Grammy Award nominations in 1999. That same year, she also won two Brit Awards for Best International Newcomer and Best International Female. She has sold over 9 million albums worldwide. She was ranked No. 11 on Rock on the Net's list of single artists of the year in 1998, and No. 76 in 2001. 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) (original version from Danish singer Lis Sørensen "Brændt"), 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 US, but not in buyable CD-format. The single quickly hit No. 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 No. 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 UK for being the most played (more than 2000 plays) for six consecutive weeks. It was finally No. 1 for 14 weeks in the UK radio chart, a record that is tied only by Simply Red's "Fairground". It was the No. 1 radio single in the US 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 'interpretative dance' routine to sing her hit song Torn at Amnesty International's The Secret Policeman's Ball (2006).
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 US 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.
As of 2011, 'Torn' holds the record for most played song on Australian radio since 1990, played more than 300,500 times since its 1998 release, an average of 75 times a day, based on data compiled by the Australian Performing Rights Association (APRA).
2001-04: White Lilies Island:
Imbruglia's next album, White Lilies Island, arrived in 2001. It is named after the island where her English and main home is situated on the banks of the River Thames at Windsor. The writing process, in which Imbruglia co-wrote every track, took almost three years to complete. 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 US, "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 did not make the top 50 in Australia. The album, which gained brief notoriety in the Sony BMG copy protection rootkit scandal, still managed to sell over 1 million copies but failed to repeat the widespread success of Left of the Middle.
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.
2005-08: Counting Down the Days:
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 25 July but it did not have as much success in the singles chart as "Shiver," although 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 charts.
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 fourth album in late 2005. In mid-2007 the plans changed and Imbruglia'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 No. 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.
2009-2010: Come to Life:
Imbruglia parted ways with her record label and terminated her association 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 fourth studio album on her own independent label, Malabar Records. She 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 radio stations in February.
It has now been confirmed by Imbruglia 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 Imbruglia to record one of the band's songs 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." She 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 Imbruglia 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 her fourth 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 25 July 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 released the album locally in Australia on 9 October 2009, and New Zealand on 5 October 2009.
The first official single taken from Come to Life, "Want", which was written by Imbruglia, Daniel Johns (credited Kat Kourtney), Gary Clark, and Chris Martin, was released on 28 September 2009, to critical acclaim, but poor worldwide chart performances. On 3 August 2009 the music video of "Wild About It" was released.
Come to Life was released on 2 October 2009 in Australia, and in Europe on 12 October 2009. The UK release was planned for 3 May 2010, with a lead single "Scars". The video for "Scars" was filmed on 26 February 2010 according to her Twitter. "Scars" was sent to radio in the UK on 22 March 2010; however, due to no support from radio networks, the single release was cancelled. There was further news that the single would be released with a 5 July date, however the video and single cannot be found on the Internet anywhere. The release of her album was also cancelled in the UK.
2011-2014: Acting career and musical hiatus:
After releasing Come to Life Imbruglia decided to move to Los Angeles and pursue further her acting career. She hired acting coach Ivana Chubbuck and has since appeared in three movies. In April 2014 she made her stage debut in an adaptation of Alan Ayckbourn's play Things We Do For Love at Theatre Royal, Bath.
2014-Present: Covers Album:
Natalie signed a new record deal with Sony Masterworks. She is to return to the world stage in March 2015 with her first album in 5 years. The album will be entirely covers of songs that male artists have made famous over the years, songs that have inspired Natalie throughout her life- a fascinating collection ranging from the iconic Neil Young to French phenoms Daft Punk.
In May 2010, after Dannii Minogue, who was a judge on the UK version of The X Factor, declined to judge the second series of the Australian version, Imbruglia became one of the new judges instead. The X Factor began airing on the Seven Network in the second half of 2010, The auditions took place in June 2010. Imbruglia mentored the Under 25 Girls category and her final three contestants that she chose for the top twelve live shows were Hayley Teal, Sally Chatfield and India-Rose Madderom. Chatfield became runner-up to Altiyan Childs. In March 2011, it was announced that Imbruglia would be replaced by Natalie Bassingthwaighte as a judge on the third series of The X Factor.
In 1997, Imbruglia signed with RCA Records and BMG Rights Management. Imbruglia stayed with these labels for seven years before signing a new deal with Brightside Recordings and Sony BMG in 2004 which lasted till 2008. In 2009 Natalie set up her own label; Malabar Records for the purpose of putting her 4th album out. She signed with Island Records the same year for the album's international distribution. This deal with Island Records lasted until 2010. After a long hiatus, in 2013, Natalie signed with the Sony Masterworks label and New York based talent management compay Primary Wave Music with intentions on reviving her music career again. In 2014, she signed with ICM Partners to help promote her musical endeavours in 2015
Personal life and image:
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 4 January 2008, Imbruglia and Johns released a statement announcing their divorce, citing distance as the main reason. However, the two remain friends. Imbruglia has been romantically linked to Prince Harry and David Schwimmer.
Natalie Imbruglia is the eldest 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 31 October 2006.,
She has also spoken publicly of suffering from clinical depression to raise awareness about the disorder.,
2008 saw her 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.,
Looks and fashion:
Imbruglia was named sixth 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.
Imbruglia 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.
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 research.