Natalie Imbruglia

Pop singer/songwriter Natalie Imbruglia became a major presence on MTV two years ago, with her sultry single "Torn."

She was born Natalie Jane Imbruglia on Feb. 4, 1975, in Sydney, Australia. She grew up in the small beach town of Berkleyvale, in New South Wales, with her parents and three sisters. Her mother is a native Australian and her father is Italian.

Though she loved singing as a child, Imbruglia became an actress in her teens and landed a role in the Australian soap opera "Neighbours." After two years she grew tired of the acting gig and, in 1996, moved to London to try to make it as a singer.

RCA Records in the UK quickly signed Imbruglia to a contract. In 1997, "Torn" was released (RealAudio excerpt) as a single in the UK. The track, co-written and produced by former Cure bassist/producer Phil Thornalley, stayed at #1 in Britain for 14 weeks.

In early 1998, Imbruglia issued her first LP, Left of the Middle, in Australia, the UK and the U.S. The album included production by Mark Goldenberg (who worked with the eels) and Nigel Godrich, who helmed Radiohead's OK Computer (1997), one of Imbruglia's favorite albums.

On the irrepressible strength of "Torn," Imbruglia and Left of the Middle — which included tracks such as "Leave Me Alone," "Intuition," "Impressed" and "Big Mistake" — ripped into the States in a big way. The Japanese release of the album included two bonus tracks: "Frightened Child" and "Diving in the Deep End."

Later in 1998, Imbruglia was the big winner at the Australian Recording Industry Association Awards. She won six awards, including Best Single, Best Female Artist and Best Pop Release. In 1999, Imbruglia received a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist; "Torn" also was nominated, for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.

Following a romance with "Friends" actor David Schwimmer, Imbruglia is dating fellow Australian Daniel Johns, frontman for rockers Silverchair.

Other birthdays on Friday: John Steel (The Animals), 59; Florence LaRue (Fifth Dimension), 56; Roy Yeager (Atlanta Rhythm Section), 54; Alice Cooper, 52; James Dunn (Stylistics), 50; Phil Ehart (Kansas), 49; Jerry Shirley (Humble Pie), 48; Tim Booth (James), 40; Mathieu Hartley (Cure), 40; Henry Bogdan (Helmet), 39; Clint Black, 38.