Natalie Jane Imbruglia
4 February 1975
(m. 2003; div. 2008)
|Relatives||Laura Imbruglia (sister)|
Natalie Jane Imbruglia (// im-BROO-lee-ə, Italian: [imˈbruʎʎa]; born 4 February 1975) is an Australian-British singer-songwriter and actress. In the early 1990s, she played Beth Brennan in the Australian soap opera Neighbours. Three years after leaving the program, she began a singing career with her chart-topping cover of Ednaswap's song "Torn". Her subsequent album, Left of the Middle (1997), sold 7 million copies worldwide. Imbruglia's five subsequent albums have combined sales of 3 million copies worldwide, and her accolades include eight ARIA Awards, two Brit Awards, one Billboard Music Award, and three Grammy nominations.
Imbruglia has appeared in several films, including the 2003 release Johnny English and the 2009 Australian indie film Closed for Winter. She has modelled for several brands, such as L'Oreal, Gap, and Kailis.
On 16 June 2021, Imbruglia announced on her official Twitter page that her single "Build It Better" would be released on 18 June 2021. It serves as the first single from her sixth studio album Firebird, which was released on 24 September 2021. This album represents a return to music after a six year hiatus during which she says she experienced "writer's block."
Life and career
1975–1994: Early life and career beginnings
Imbruglia was born on 4 February 1975, in Sydney, Australia, second of four daughters of Maxene (née Anderson) and Elliot Imbruglia. Her father is of Italian descent (a Sicilian from Lipari who emigrated to Australia with his family aged five) and her mother is of Irish and English descent, with an ancestor who arrived in Australia as a convict in the First Fleet. Imbruglia grew up in Berkeley Vale, New South Wales and attended Mater Dei College. At fifteen, she moved to Sydney with her family and studied ballet, tap and Highland dancing, hoping to make a career of it.
Imbruglia appeared in Australian television commercials for Coca-Cola and the Australian snack Twisties. She left school at the age of sixteen, to pursue acting. She secured a role as Beth Brennan on the Australian soap opera Neighbours where she shared a house with Ben Mitchell who played the part of Cameron Hudson. By the end of her second year, she left the show to move to London in 1994. She met Anne Barret, who became her manager and convinced her to record a demo of four songs. She signed a record deal with BMG, after a demo of "Torn" impressed RCA Records.
1997–2000: Left of the Middle and international breakthrough
Imbruglia's first international single, "Torn", was a cover of an Ednaswap song. It reached #2 on the UK Singles Chart in November 1997, number one on airplay around the world and number one on the Billboard Airplay chart for 14 weeks. It sold more than one million copies in the United Kingdom alone. As of 2011, "Torn" was the most played song on Australian radio since 1990, played 300,500 times since 1997, an average of 75 a day, based on data compiled by the Australian Performing Rights Association (APRA).
It was released as a radio single in the US, but not on CD. The single was on Billboard's Hot 100 Airplay chart for 14 weeks. At the time, singles not released commercially could not be on the overall Hot 100 chart (combined sales and airplay). By the time the policy changed, "Torn" was heading down the charts, so its peak on the Hot 100 ended at 42. The single also topped the Top 40 Mainstream/CHR Pop and Adult Top 40 charts.
In October 1997, it broke the airplay record in the UK (more than 2000 plays) for six weeks. It was No. 1 for 14 weeks in the UK radio chart, equalled only by Simply Red's "Fairground". Rick Dees, in his Top 40 Chart show, named "Torn" as the 'number one radio single of 1990s' in the 2000 Millennium Countdown show broadcast from KIIS-FM on New Year's Eve.
Imbruglia's debut album Left of the Middle was released on 24 November 1997. It sold 350,000 in the UK three weeks after release and was certified platinum. It has sold 7 million copies and is 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 in the UK after "Torn" was "Big Mistake", which debuted at #2. "Wishing I Was There" was less successful, peaking at #19. "Wishing I Was There" on peaked at #2 on UK radio in summer 1998, and in the US peaked at #14 on the Top 40 Show. The final single from Left of the Middle was "Smoke", the reception was more divided than previously. It was a hit in the UK and made the top 5, while in Australia it 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 Never Tear Us Apart by INXS with Tom Jones which appeared on his album Reload.
The "Torn" single and the Left of the Middle album earned Imbruglia six ARIA Awards in 1998, while the "Wishing I Was There" single and her overall worldwide achievements earned her two more ARIA awards in 1999, an MTV Award for Best New Artist in 1998, and three constitutive Grammy nominations in 1999. That year, she won two Brit Awards for Best International Newcomer and Best International Female. She was ranked No. 11 on Rock of the Net's single artists of the year in 1998, and No. 76 in 2001. Imbruglia tied up her four-album deal with BMG after her compilation album, Glorious: The Singles 97–07.
2001–2004: White Lilies Island
Imbruglia's next album, White Lilies Island, in 2001, was named after where she lived beside the River Thames at Windsor. Imbruglia co-wrote every track over three years. The album's first single, "That Day", was stylistically different from her singles but did not reach the UK Top 10. In the US, "Wrong Impression" was the first single and charted in the Hot 100 Singles and adult contemporary charts. In the UK it did slightly better than That Day. "Beauty on the Fire", the final single, barely entered charts worldwide, and did not make the top 50 in Australia. The album, briefly notorious in the Sony BMG copy protection rootkit scandal, sold 1 million but did not repeat the success of Left of the Middle.
Imbruglia's third album was in November 2003. The record label refused to release it due to it being too rock and not radio-friendly. She was given songs to record with Swedish pop producers, Bloodshy & Avant, but refused. She and the record label separated at the beginning of 2004. Four months later she signed with Brightside Recordings, formed by a former Innocent Records executive, Hugh Goldsmith. In 2003, she appeared in the spy parody film "Johnny English," playing Rowan Atkinson's love interest, Laura, in a Bond girl-style fashion.
2005–2008: Counting Down the Days
In April 2005, Imbruglia's third album Counting Down the Days had "Shiver" as its first single. "Shiver" became her longest running single in the UK since "Torn." It topped UK airplay charts for several weeks, reaching eighth in the UK. It became the most played song of 2005. Counting Down The Days became her first album to reach the top spot on the album charts.
"Sanctuary" was the second single from the album and singles sent to radio stations. The decision was later changed to the title track "Counting Down the Days", with stations asked to play the album version, because the radio mix was not finished. The single on 25 July did not have as much success in the singles chart as "Shiver," although it reignited interest in its album and received airplay in the UK. Due to the single, the album re-entered the top 40 in the UK charts.
Imbruglia made a small European tour (her first since Left of the Middle) in late October and November. Though the album never entered UK Top 40 again, several concerts sold out; notably London.
The album was the 100th best-selling album in 2005, selling 204,877 copies in the UK .
Imbruglia started on her fourth album in late-2005. In mid-2007 plans changed and her record company released a compilation of Imbruglia's 10 years in music. The only single from the album – "Glorious" premiered in BBC Radio 1 on the Chris Moyles Show. The Singles Collection debuted at #5 in the UK, including the single "Glorious" as well as a DVD of Imbruglia's videos. The album sold 600,000 copies.
2009–2014: Come to Life, musical hiatus and stage debut
In late-2008, in the second year of work on her eventual 2009 album Come to Life, Imbruglia parted with her label, Brightside/Sony BMG. She obtained the rights to songs recorded for the album and planned to record on her own label, Malabar Records. Songs were co-written with Ben Hillier, Dave McCracken, her then-husband Daniel Johns, Gary Clark, Jamie Hartman, Paul Harris, Shep Solomon and Chris Martin of Coldplay. Some tracks were produced by Hillier and mixed by Danton Supple.
Accompanied by an extensive television advertising campaign and press campaign, Come to Life was released, through Island Records, on 2 October 2009 in Australia. It entered the Australian albums chart at #67 on 19 October 2009, making it Imbruglia's worst performing album to date, selling just 750 copies in its first week of release and spending only two weeks in the Top 100. It had been announced that the album would be released in the United Kingdom (UK) on 3 May 2010, preceded by the track "Scars" to be released as a single on 22 March 2010. Following the disappointing reaction on the Australian charts, the official UK launch of the album, and the single, was delayed, then cancelled. All plans to launch the album in the United States were also cancelled, with the album eventually made available online through Amazon Music.
After the failure of Come to Life, Imbruglia took a six-year hiatus from music, shifting her focus back to acting. Imbruglia moved to Los Angeles and hired acting coach Ivana Chubbuck. She appeared in three movies over the next five years, Closed for Winter (2009), Underdogs (2013) and Among Ravens (2014).
On 3 December 2014, Imbruglia signed with Sony Masterworks and planned to make her first album in five years, covering famous songs by a range of male artists. The first single is a cover of "Instant Crush", originally by Daft Punk featuring Julian Casablancas. Male was released on 31 July 2015, her fifth studio album. During the spring of 2017, Imbruglia took her Acoustic Tour to Europe in support of the album. In 2018 she continued with a tour around the UK.
In an Instagram post in November 2018, Imbruglia stated that new music was due in 2019. In February 2019 it was announced that Albert Hammond Jr. of The Strokes was in the studio with Imbruglia working on new music, along with Strokes producer Gus Oberg.
On 18 June 2021, Imbruglia released "Build It Better", the first single from her sixth studio album Firebird, which was released on 24 September 2021. The official video for "Build It Better" was directed by Amy Becker-Burnett, with choreography by Gregory Haney and Alex Sarmiento. "Build It Better" did not enter the Official UK Top 100 Chart, but peaked at #67 on the Official Singles Sales Chart Top 100 and at number 66 on the Official Singles Download Chart Top 100.
In May 2010, Imbruglia became a judge on the second season of the Australian version of The X Factor. She mentored the Girls category, in which her final act Sally Chatfield was the runner up of the series. In 2011, she did not return for the third season and was replaced by Natalie Bassingthwaighte.
Relationships and citizenship
In 1999, Imbruglia met Silverchair frontman Daniel Johns backstage at his band's concert in London. They started dating after meeting again at the ARIA awards after-party at the Gazebo Hotel in Sydney in October of the same year. After years of an on-and-off relationship, they announced their engagement shortly before Christmas 2002, and they married on New Year's Eve 2003 in a beach ceremony in Port Douglas, Queensland, Australia. Imbruglia stated in a 2002 interview that meeting Johns saved her from depression. Johns wrote the song "Satisfied" for Imbruglia's 2005 album Counting Down the Days, which he also produced, and co-wrote the song "Want" from Imbruglia's 2009 album Come to Life. Imbruglia wrote her 2005 single "Counting Down the Days" about their long-distance relationship, as Imbruglia was based in London and Johns lived in Newcastle, Australia. They announced their divorce on 4 January 2008, stating, "We have simply grown apart through not being able to spend enough time together."
Imbruglia has tattoos of Sanskrit/Hindi inscription "Shreya" on her neck which is a Sanskrit word for "auspicious" or "beautiful", a Chinese tattoo on her left foot which means "courage" and Sanskrit Aum on her lower back. Besides modeling for L'Oréal, Imbruglia also modelled Sass and Bide's "The Mad Ones" dress to raise money for cancer research.
On 9 October 2019, Imbruglia announced on Instagram, that she had given birth to a baby boy, and named him Max Valentine Imbruglia. The child was conceived using IVF, and sperm from an unnamed donor.
- Imbruglia is an ambassador for Virgin Unite and supports campaigns to end poverty and to bring attention to obstetric fistula.
- She appeared in a sketch at the Secret Policeman's Ball for Amnesty International on 31 October 2006.
- She has spoken of 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 comedian Alan Carr, DJ & presenter Edith Bowman, actress Anna Friel and model Twiggy.
Awards and nominations
|1999||Pollstar Concert Industry Awards||Best New Artist Tour||Europe||Herself||Nominated|
|ECHO Awards||Best International Newcomer||Germany||Nominated|
|Best International Female||Nominated|
|Brit Awards||International Newcomer||UK||Left of the Middle||Won|
|International Female Solo Artist||UK||Won|
|People's Choice Awards||Favorite Rising Star||US||Nominated|
|American Music Award||Favorite Pop/Rock New Artist||US||Nominated|
|Premios Amigo Awards||Best International Female||Spain||Nominated|
|Best New Artist/Group||Spain||Nominated|
|2000||IFPI||Platinum Award for over 2 Million Sales||World||Left of the Middle||Won|
|2002||Silver Clef Award||International Award||UK||Won|
|2005||PPL Awards||Most Performed Track||UK||Shiver||Won|
|2006||NRJ Music Award||Best International Female||France||Counting Down the Days||Nominated|
|Ivor Novello Awards||Most Performed Track||UK||Shiver||Nominated|
|2009||Asian Festival of First Films||Best Actress||Singapore||Closed for Winter||Nominated|
|2012||InStyle Women of Style||News & Entertainment||Australia||–||Nominated|
- Left of the Middle (1997)
- White Lilies Island (2001)
- Counting Down the Days (2005)
- Come to Life (2009)
- Male (2015)
- Firebird (2021)
|2003||Johnny English||Lorna Campbell|
|2009||Closed for Winter||Elise Silverston|
|2015||Little Loopers||Kristen Wright|
|1992–1994||Neighbours||Beth Brennan||Main cast, 250 episodes|
|1997||Law of the Land||Faye Watson||Episode "Late Kill"|
|1998||Saturday Night Live||Musical Guest/Herself|
|2002||Legend of the Lost Tribe||Koala||voice actor for animated film|
|2009||In Memory of Maia||Herself||Documentary|
|2010||The X Factor UK||Guest Judge|
|2010||The X Factor Australia||Judge/Herself|
|2016||First Contact||Herself||3 episodes|
|2018||Who Do You Think You Are?||Herself|
|2014||Things We Do For Love||Nikki|
|1989||Twisties||Television||She starred in a TV advertisement for Twisties as a waitress.|
|1991||Bubblicious||Television||She was a pineapple princess for the advertisement.|
|2002||Gap||She modelled for various advertisements for the "For every generation, there's a Gap" campaign.|
|2002–2006||L'Oréal||Print & Television||Imbruglia became a worldwide spokesperson for L'Oréal after the release of White Lilies Island. She was a model for many cosmetic products by L'Oréal, particularly mascaras and skincare products. She also appeared in several TV commercials for L'Oréal. In July 2007, her five-year contract with L'Oréal expired and was not prolonged, because, in her words during an appearance on The Graham Norton Show, she is "apparently ... not worth it anymore", referring to the company's slogan "Because You're Worth It".|
|2005||Make Poverty History||Television||She was one of the stars that appeared in the European version of the advertisement.|
|2008||PETA||Imbruglia posed in an anti-fur ad for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), in which she is holding a rabbit to her naked chest next to the tagline "Try Telling Him It's Just a Little Fur Trim".|
|2009||Oxfam||Oxfam's "Sustain Me" campaign that featured Imbruglia as one of their models, aimed at highlighting Oxfam as a fashionable and more sustainable alternative to the high street. She donned second-hand clothes that were restyled by designer Katie Shillingford.|
|2011-2015||Kailis||Print, television||Imbruglia was the featured model and spokesperson for Australian luxury pearl brand Kailis Jewellery from 2011 until 2015.|
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- "@natalie_imbruglia on Instagram: "Thank you to my loyal fans... who are more on top of the details of my life and career than I seem to be!!! Happy 21st Birthday Torn. Thank..."". 2 November 2018. Retrieved 17 April 2020 – via Instagram.
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- Imbruglia, Natalie (2009). "Strengthen Partnership in Support of the Campaign to End Fistula". Achieving the Global Public Health Agenda. New York: United Nations. Department of Economic and Social Affairs. pp. 106–107. ISBN 978-92-1-104596-3. Retrieved 15 April 2017.
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- [dead link]
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