(07-18-2002) Natalie Imbruglia inspired by U2 on her new record - The Guardian - U2 Feedback

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Old 07-18-2002, 09:38 PM   #1
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(07-18-2002) Natalie Imbruglia inspired by U2 on her new record - The Guardian


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Natalie Imbruglia

Interview by Will Hodgkinson

Friday July 19, 2002

A few weeks ago, Natalie Imbruglia made the mistake of thinking she might drop in on Glastonbury. "I've had a nightmare two days," she says. "I think Coldplay are amazing, but Chris Martin is not my new boyfriend as the Mirror said. What can I do? If I sue them, then what? They hate me for ever and make up more stories about me. I went to Glastonbury because I love Coldplay, then I read that I've dumped my sick boyfriend in Australia and gone off with Chris Martin." It's hard to equate the gamine, charming, and very pretty but quite girl-next-door woman sitting before us with the singer, actress and face of L'Oreal who cannot leave home without trouble arising. "I leave the house hardly ever, and I try to have a normal life and go to a festival, and that happens. I'm not a nightclub person, but you need to have a social life sometimes ."

For most of last year, Imbruglia was staying indoors in Windsor, writing songs and listening to Joni Mitchell. "The last album was very hard for me to make, but the love of it, for me, is about exposing yourself in a way that gets you in touch with a place inside of yourself, then taking that personal experience and writing it in a way that's more broad. It's emotional and I don't view it in a light-hearted way. I like music with depth and substance for that reason, and I'm not really interested in techno or trance or anything like that. I like singer-songwriters, and I find sad songs comforting rather than depressing. It makes you realise you're not alone in the world."

Natalie Imbruglia's goal, she says, "was to make an album that reflected the music I listened to", and the music she listens to is all tinged with melancholy. "I went through writing all kinds of tortured songs - like PJ Harvey, but nowhere near as good - before I could get to a place where I could do a few happy pop songs. I hardly saw my friends, I got seasonal depression through the winter, and it was hard to stay motivated when I didn't like anything I was doing. I worked my arse off for three years, writing every day, but it was a very slow process. And I lean towards folk when I write songs for some reason, which can be a problem."

Throughout this process, the band that inspired Natalie Imbruglia the most was U2 - "for the way they captured a mood, rather than focusing in on the specific," she says. "The Joshua Tree is my favourite. It sounds like the desert, and they captured a moment in time of exactly how they were feeling. It's just so cool. But there would also be small things that inspired me, like an element in a Bernard Butler song where the layers of music were built up with each verse."

Swedish singer Stina Nordenstam wins favour, if only for having "the saddest, saddest voice around. Nigel Godrich [Natalie's, and Radiohead's, producer] got me this. She manages to whisper when she sings, and hold the notes without pushing. And the instruments do the same: you have a trumpet on here that seems to whisper as well. She's rebelled now: everyone loved her voice being so soft, so she's gone and distorted it. I quite like that, though."

Rickie Lee Jones comes up next. Who's Rickie Lee Jones? "You know her - 'Chuck E's in love,' " she sings. "Seventies legend. She went out with Tom Waits, she had her heroin phase... She's a sitting-by-the-piano-in-a-smoky-bar kind of woman. She did Rainbow Sleeves, which was written by Tom Waits and is my favourite song of all time. I first heard it sitting by the window of a New York hotel room, with the snow falling outside... I'll never forget it."

Joni Mitchell is Natalie's number-one singer. "Court and Spark is my favourite album because every song sets the scene, especially People's Parties and Help Me. I put that on the answering machine of a guy that I fancied when I was 17. He never called. That's me - chasing after the one that doesn't want me. But Joni Mitchell sets the whole room. On People's Parties, you feel like you're there with her."

While Miles Davis, Stevie Wonder, and her boyfriend Daniel Johns's band, Silverchair, are also favourites, it's the sad, folky songwriters that dominate her collection. "It's not very often that I like new bands. My little sister's into the White Stripes. I can appreciate what they're doing, but I find them slightly hard to listen to. Same as the Strokes, although I think it's great that they're making songs that will get played on the radio. A bit hard on the ear for me, I'm afraid."

Sadly, we may soon lose Natalie to her mother country, but the need for melancholy could pull her back. "I'm planning to leave England to live in Australia, but for writing certain songs I'd like to be back in London. It brings out a sadness in me that Sydney or LA wouldn't. It's a hard slog living here with this weather, and it's harder for me to focus in a sunny place because I don't want to be working. I once tried to write a song with Dave Stewart in the Cayman Islands. I just wanted to go out scuba-diving."

Guardian Unlimited Guardian Newspapers Limited 2002

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Old 07-22-2002, 12:34 AM   #2
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Natalie has some good influences. Stina Nordenstam's great. Listened to Nat's latest record in the store and it was disappointing, though.


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Old 07-22-2002, 12:54 AM   #3
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I'm surprised that she still records music, the only things I've seen her do lately are makeup commercials.......
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