FEATURE: Laura Imbruglia “I Guess I Am Just Not Marketable In The Way A Popstar Is.”

Having just relocated from Sydney to Melbourne, Laura Imbruglia admits she is on a bit of a downer. “I’ve been too busy to miss my friends and family, but I just need to get a job sorted and I will be alright.” Melbourne is not foreign territory to the initially shy singer/songwriter as her ironically titled melancholic second album “The Lighter Side Of..” was recorded in the city, but Laura is clearly trying to find her feet. “I just need to get a job sorted so I can meet people. Once I start making friends round here then it will be easier. When I was first in Sydney I worked in a heavy metal record store and I made so many friends there. I already have a job at a record store here but I just have not started that one yet.”

“I wasn’t too keen on the idea of a residency, but my manager arranged it all in a way that makes it interesting.”

It appears that Laura is currently lacking a creative outlet which is only furthering her frustrations. “I haven’t written in a while. I tend not to be able to write when I am in a relationship, it is just so hard to when you are happy without sounding cheesy. I guess I should find some new inspirations but I’m not very political so I can’t write about that.” For someone who started writing as soon as they picked up a guitar in their early teens, the lack of inspiration must be hitting home hard especially considering the lack of connection to her new base.

Despite her anxieties, Laura’s relocation has led to a month long residency at Fitzroy’s The Old Bar. “I wasn’t too keen on the idea of a residency, but my manager arranged it all in a way that makes it interesting.” Having tested out the format on her friendly Sydney fanbase, Laura seems keen to win over the hearts of a new audience but realises she has some hard graft in front of her. The residency is designed to demonstrate the versatility Laura possesses. Both her first show last week and yesterday’s performance explore Laura’s solo material, though this week has a special treat for prospective audience members. “I’ll be playing with the same band who played on my record. As I’ve been in Sydney till now, we have never been able to play live together before.”

Once the self-exploration is complete, Melbourne will get to see two very different sides to Laura. First up comes Country Laura, as she explains “I have been in a real country phase for the past five years. I have chosen one song by each artist I will cover. In my own collection I have a lot more male vocal artists than female. I don’t really know why, but country music fans may have a surprise when they hear my choices.” Then to close the month long stay, Laura switches from singer to compere as she invites her audience to take part in some good old fashioned karaoke. But just a small plea to anyone out there who can help her out….“when we did the same residency in Sydney, I knew someone who worked as a karaoke DJ. He had all the gear and was happy to lend it to me. But here I don’t have the same contacts. I have been calling everyone and telling them that I am reliable and even offered to pay a bond, but the answer is always no.”

“I guess I am just not marketable in the way a pop star is.”

Alas even these live shows seem to fill Laura with mixed emotions. “In Sydney everyone knows my stuff, but here it is like starting again. Part of me feels like I‘m a baby again.” But as the interview progresses, the nonchalance turns out to be an unfulfilled ambition. Having worked her socks off for the past decade, commercial success appears to have eluded her. “I guess I am just not marketable in the way a pop star is. I do what I do and don’t really want to release something for the sake of success. I would do a covers record but I don’t see where it would get me musically as however much I like performing them, they don’t really reflect what I can do.” Her unflinching dedication to staying true to herself has been a throughline of her career. Having never sought to take the easy route, Laura is not seeking fame but rather a shot at a financially sustainable solo career. “I guess I could write a pop melody, I know how to do it but it just does not fit with what I have to say.”

Her self-deprecation seems mis-placed from the writer of the subtle break-up record “The Lighter Side Of…”, who has not only succesfully toured Europe as well as Australia but also stayed true to her own beliefs in a fickle industry. With only three more chances to catch her residency, here at The Kaje we say get in line for a ticket before you miss out.

Words and Images: Jeremy Williams

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