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by Gerard Eskdale
Back in 1997 Natalie Imbruglia hit the music scene with her debut single, "Torn", a song that went on to sell millions and win awards in almost every country it was released in.
However, with this kind of success comes a problem - how could she ever better that song? She had reasonable success with other releases in the UK and Australia, however in America no one wanted to hear any other material from Natalie, forcing her to cancel and put back subsequent singles. When eventually "Wishing I Was There" was released stateside, it had very moderate success.
Next came the inevitable tabloid turn - the papers jumped on the fact that Natalie hadn't written her huge hit single, "Torn", they then claimed Ms Imbruglia was simply another soap star turned singer who was controlled like a puppet, by the fat cat label bosses who were eager to jump on the Alanis Morisette craze that was going on at the time. This was not the case, as firstly she had never claimed to have written the single, and secondly Natalie had made a conscious effort to avoid the soap to singer comparisons.
Unlike others in this position before her, Natalie co-wrote 80% of the tracks on her debut album, "Left Of The Middle". Avoided the usual means of promotion for good looking female singers, such as featured spreads in the new wave of "lads" mags, and limited personal appearances to select shows, to avoid people being bored with her.
"Left Of The Middle" was a triumphant success, and the general public were eager for more material from the antipodean pop star, however despite advice to the contrary, Natalie took a four year break to relax, regain her life and write for the new album. On the whole Natalie disappeared from the public eye, occasionally contributing a song for a film soundtrack, but never promoting it.
Then came "That Day". After scrapping the 60 songs she had been working on Natalie found her inspiration again, and set to work recording her follow up album "White Lilies Island". Four years is a life time in pop and critics doubted if Natalie could cut it in the modern charts. And so the first single in the make or break point in Natalie's Career was the guitar-led "That Day". The song was a hit with fans and critics alike, but the general public were reluctant to embrace the song and with very little radio play it charted at a respectable No. 13 in the UK.
"Wrong Impression" was one of the hits of the summer and was played non-stop on the radio, it was also the lead single for the American market, and firmly cemented Natalie as more than a one hit wonder.
On the whole media were full of praise for "White Lilies Island", claiming it to be more consistent and musically more interesting than her debut. The album was a reasonable success gaining Gold status in the UK alone, however, as Natalie has said, she would be happy if it sold enough to let her make another album. This album was a more personal piece for the singer and it seems to have paid of.
Natalie is on the verge of hitting big time again, recently she has changed management to the same team who look after Janet Jackson and Cher. She has also completed her first feature film Johnny English, wrote a single for the film, and working on her third album. Not to mention becoming the face of a cosmetics giant. Natalie's career looks as though it could rocket again.