From Neighbours to “Torn”, actress and “Left Of The Middle”, where are you Natalie Imbruglia?
Natalie Jane Imbruglia (b.1975) followed in the footsteps of Kylie, Jason and, yes, even Stefan Dennis, as she left the Australian soap opera Neighbours in the mid-1990’s to pursue a music career and one which has yielded just as much success as her peers before her. Life has been quiet for Natalie lately, so what has she been up to…?
New South Wales born Natalie began her career aged 16 appearing in TV commercials before being cast as Beth Brennan in the already establish daytime soap, Neighbours in 1992. Highlight of her time on the soap was when her character married Brad Willis in 1993 before they moved away the following year, never to return again. Natalie had always been interested in music from a young girl and had been honing her vocal chords so much so that later that same year, she flew to London and signed a deal with BMG Records who were impressed by her demo of US rock band Ednaswap’s song, “Torn”.
In fact so much so that they encouraged her to record the song and after two years of writing and creating, Natalie’s music career was ready to launch in 1997, lead by the single, “Torn”. The song became an instant smash, peaking at No.2 in both Australia and the UK and making the top ten in most other countries globally. It also found its way to No.42 in America, not bad for an Australian act at their first attempt! Her debut album, “Left Of The Middle”, was released soon after and into 1998, three further chart hits came with “Big Mistake” (Aus No.6, UK No.2), “Wishing I Was There” (Aus No.24, UK No.19) and “Smoke”, a third top five hit in the UK. By now the album was already multi-Platinum around the world with over seven million copies sold to date including two million from The States and over a million in the UK!
“Left Of The Middle” earned ARIA and Brit Awards as well as Grammy and MTV nominations for Natalie in 1998 as she now focused on her career as a music artist and toured throughout 1998. Work began on a follow up after a brief interlude and in 2001 Natalie returned with “That Day”, the lead single from her next album, “White Lilies Island”. The song was a top ten success at home and just missed the UK top ten by one place. More successful was the follow up, “Wrong Impression”, which peaked at No.10 in the UK, while the album would achieve Gold status in both territories and reach No.35 in America, where “Wrong Impression” had become her second single to break the US top 100 chart.
Natalie took a break from music soon after to return to acting and made her movie debut in the UK as the love interest Lorna Campbell in the James Bond comedy spoof ‘Johnny English’ opposite Rowan Atkinson in the title role. The film was a huge success, topping box office charts everywhere, but this brief interlude, was all too brief as Natalie returned to the studio and in 2005, released her third album, “Counting Down The Days”, from which she relaunched herself with the song “Shiver”. The song pushed her back into the top ten charts and sent the album to the very top of the UK chart that April. This time, however, there seemed to be no interest from ‘across the pond’ as “Counting Down The Days” became Gold certified in the UK. And it seemed interest in her at home was also on the wane as both the singles and the album performed much less well there.
Ten years on from the release of her debut smash, Natalie released a best of, “Glorious”, in 2007 along with the title track, a new composition, which made No.23 in the UK while the album reached No.5 and maintained her success as a Gold certified artist. For the next few years, she combined both an acting and a music career, staring in the 2009 film, ‘Closed For Winter’, the same year that she released new material with the album “Come To Life” and the single, “Want”, which was a top ten success in Finland. Natalie appeared as a judge on the 2010 series of The X Factor in Australia as well as a guest judge on the UK version that same year. She went to America in 2013 to film ‘Underdogs’, followed by ‘Among Ravens’ the following year, filmed whilst she was recording a new album, “Male”, that would materialise in 2015 and which charted at No.20 in the UK and No.25 in Australia.
Natalie drew attention in America in the late 1990’s when she dated Friends actor David Schwimmer although she would eventually marry Australian rock band frontman Daniel Johns in 2003. They divorced five years later and in 2019, Natalie gave birth to a son which she conceived through IVF from an ‘unnamed donor’. After some time away from music, Natalie resigned to the ‘new’ BMG Records, home of fellow Aussie Kylie Minogue, in 2019 and is currently recording ‘new material’, with a possible release ‘sometime in 2021’. We await further news…
…which came in September 2021, with the release of her much anticipated album, “Firebird”, featuring the single, “Build It Better” and the tracks, “Maybe It’s Great” and “On My Way”. Welcome back, Natalie!
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