Entertainment In two decades since releasing Torn, Natalie Imbruglia had to quit music to find her voice with new album, Firebird
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Australian singer-songwriter Natalie Imbruglia suffered years of writer's block that almost put an end to her two-decades-long music career.
"I quit music for a while," Ms Imbruglia told ABC News Breakfast.
Ironically, it was taking a trip to Los Angeles to reconnect with her acting roots that helped clear the blocks stopping her from putting pen to paper.
"I think there [were] a lot of things going on in my life that I was dealing with and having to overcome," she said.
Imbruglia fell back into music after that hiatus from the industry.
She described it as an opportunity to rediscover how much she enjoyed singing and performing live.
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"I stumbled back into music. I think taking a break from that really made me appreciate how much I love music," she said.
"I love the feeling of being on stage and connecting with people."
Finding her voice again after overcoming writer's block
Imbruglia didn't believe writer's block was real until it happened to her. She remembers someone coming over to her house to write a song but just before they could start she froze.
"I couldn't even sing a note and I kept saying, "Shall we go have a coffee?" And making excuses and that's when I realised I was really stuck," she said.
She realised the words weren't just going to leap off the page, so she enrolled in a 10-day writing intensive in the US city of Nashville in 2018.
But it wasn't without some difficult moments.
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Imbruglia recalls crying and feeling like she couldn't continue but that's just when things began to flow again.
It was then when she wrote the first track off her new album Firebird called When You Love Too Much.
"I had a bit of a breakthrough," she said.
"You've got to be willing to write some bad songs to get to the good ones and I was just determined.
"I missed singing my own stories on stage. I was determined to get over [the writer's block]."
While she was grappling with this crisis of confidence in her music career, Ms Imbruglia was deciding whether to become a single parent.
She credits parenthood, along with the intensive in Nashville, as one of the driving forces in rediscovering her voice.
"The title is about finding your strength and your fragility … It was probably things I was trying to tell myself at the time," she said.
"Now I stand on the other side and say, 'It's true, you can start from scratch. There's light at the end of the tunnel'."
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Almost 25 years since Torn was released
Imbruglia says she is still shocked by her seemingly overnight success with her hit number one single Torn, released in 1997, and for which she earned a Grammy nomination.
She thinks to herself: how did that happen?
"I was expecting people to give me a hard time because I'd been on Neighbours and was putting out music which a lot of people had done," she said.
She didn't expect to be taken seriously, or that the song would connect so deeply with people.
"I remember saying to myself, you better make friends with this song because you're going to sing it for a very long time," she said.
Imbruglia is still performing Torn and enjoying it.
"I'm grateful. It was overwhelming but so many great things have come out of that song connecting with people, and positive things in my life so I hold onto that."
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