Natalie Bassingthwaighte Biography

 
Natalie Bassingthwaighte

On the 1st of September 1975, in the regional town of Wollongong NSW, two proud parents, Betty and Michael Bassingthwaighte, welcomed a star into the world. From a young age, it seemed Natalie Bassingthwaighte was destined to become an entertainer. Loving nothing more than to showcase and 'show off' her talents, little Nat used to charge 20c for family and friends to come and see her dress up (in true diva style!) and put on mini concerts.

Natalie got her first taste of the limelight after landing the all-important role of 'Tinkerbell' (alongside her best friend Tod O'Mara), in her primary school production of 'Peter Pan.' From that day forward, she has never looked back.

Progressing onto the Wollongong School of Performing Arts, then graduating from the Australian College of Entertainment, Natalie became an all round performer, something she believes is an integral aspect of surviving in the industry.

Fresh out of college and eager to break into the world of entertainment, Natalie auditioned for a job at Sydney's 'Wonderland' and to her surprise, scored the gig! She participated in a variety of performances, such as 50's, 70's, country and Hanna Barbara shows. Nat found out how demanding it was to sing and dance at the same time whilst trying to keep your breath, but she enjoyed it immensely!

After a stint at Wonderland, Natalie performed two seasons as lead vocalist and stand up comic at the 'Kaos Comedy Theatre' restaurant in Sydney.

In the meantime, she was also auditioning for many different musicals. Finally, after an exhaustive audition process, she was chosen over 6000 hopefuls for her role of Mark's mom (and Maureen's understudy) in the Australian tour of the rock musical 'Rent'.

During Rent's tour, she was approached to audition for another professional stage production. This time it was for 'Chicago.' The casting directors were dubious given the fact that she wasn't an 'A-List dancer,' however her enthusiasm won out when she convinced them she 'had what it takes to carry the role.' As a result, Natalie landed the part of 'June' and understudied the principal role of 'Roxie.'

Nat received her first lead role in the production of 'Chang and Eng' in Asia. A story of the first Siamese twins, she played the role Adelaide Yates in both the Singapore and Bangkok seasons of the show. Natalie thoroughly enjoyed the experience; however she wished she were able to bring more personality into such a straight role. Soon, she would get her chance...

Upon returning to Australia, Natalie made her debut on the small screen in an episode of 'All Saints.' However she was not to stay around for long.

Finding herself far from home in America, Nat was excited to see herself in her very first trailer, playing 'Raina' in an episode of 'The Lost World.' However, this was not the last time she was to work overseas. Natalie attained her first movie role as 'Kelly' in the US telemovie 'Counterstrike.'

As peculiar as it may sound today, Natalie wasn't always so relaxed in front of the cameras. Performing in front of thousands of people in stage shows was one thing, but as soon as she was placed in front of a camera, the nerves began to set in. Before she landing her roles in the US, Nat had decided to take a few courses in order to 'get better.' However after wrapping the productions, she realised that she didn't really know a lot about character development work. So she returned to her roots...the stage.

Sydney's Capitol Theatre played home to a very successful season of 'Footloose' the musical in which Nat played the role of 'Ariel' opposite Spencer MacLaren. Once again she got to showcase her singing, dancing and newly developed acting skills in front of a live audience.

Putting her on-camera nerves aside, it wasn't long until Natalie was set to take over our television screens in one of Australia's most popular soap operas, Neighbours. Knowing that the job would prove very beneficial to her credibility as an actress, her manager, Mark Byrne put her up for the audition. At first she wasn't particularly eager to work on a soap opera, knowing that music was her first love. She agreed to do the audition, and accepted the role as the conniving Ramsay Street sex siren, Izzy Hoyland, a character she portrayed for 4 years.

Taking on a role so far removed from her own personality wasn't bound to be easy, but Nat really sunk her teeth into the development of the bitchy Izzy. The character was loved and loathed by many, and it shocked Nat when she was constantly being recognised as 'Izzy' on the street. Working on the show became more than a job as she made some fabulous friends along the way.

During a hiatus from Neighbours Nat got the chance to play every girls dream role, 'Sandy' in the musical 'Grease'. After auditioning 400 other hopefuls, the shows producer was given a breath of fresh air when Natalie took to the stage. She nailed the audition; oozing all of the vulnerability Olivia Newton John had previously brought to the role. She was excited to be given the opportunity to escape the 'Izzy' stereotype and prove to everybody that Neighbours wasn't her first job.

In 2004, Natalie filmed a part in Rohan Sprong's student film 'When Darkness Falls.' Portraying the character of 'Jinx De-Luxe,' her big scene involved a performance of the Marilyn Monroe hit 'Every Baby Needs A Da-da-daddy.' This film was to be released after editing, in 2006.

Her busy life was just about to get busier. Natalie had been intent on a music career for a very long time. She had been part of an RnB group that were set to hit the music arena, but unfortunately things didn't work out and she realised that wasn't really what her heart was telling her to do.

In the meantime, she had been working on her own demos; mainly songs with an acoustic-rock sound before she was to be recruited for Aussie dance outfit the, 'Rogue Traders' in late 2004.

After being presented with their music, Nat went in and met the two masterminds behind the project, DJ's James Ash and Steve Davis. They had auditioned a field of 15-20 girls before Natalie Bassingthwaighte walked through the door, but after she sang 'Voodoo Child,' they knew they had found their front woman.

Natalie's Neighbours fame remained a concern for the credibility of the band. It was decided that her identity was to initially be kept a secret for the 'Voodoo Child' video clip. With dark hair, and clothed in gothic-like attire, 'Izzy' from Neighbours was almost unrecognisable. Meanwhile, the single was getting a lot of radio airplay and charting well, leading people to question 'who was the voice behind the song?' In fact, it was over 2 months before one journalist got hold of the truth and unveiled her identity.

'Voodoo Child' was released in Australia on the 27th of May, 2005, reaching #4 on the Australian Record Industry Awards (ARIA) charts. It was the first single from 'Here Come The Drums,' an album taking two years to complete.

On the 23rd of October, the Rogue Traders had the honour or opening the 2005 ARIA awards with an explosive performance of 'Voodoo Child.' Clad in high heels, fishnets, and mini shorts Natalie dominated the stage like a wild tiger. With her powerful vocals teasing and energising the crowd, it was the start of what was to be a very successful year for band.

After the success of the Aria performance, 'Here Come The Drums' was released on October 24. The album spent an astounding 62 weeks in the ARIA charts and at present, has gone 4 times platinum.

'Here Come The Drums' spawned a number of top 10 singles including: 'Voodoo Child,' 'Way To Go,' 'Watching You,' 'We're Coming Home,' and 'In Love Again.'

The Rogues supported Kelly Clarkson on her national tour of Australia, where they would get their first taste of playing a big concert arena. Over the remainder of 2005 and onto 2006 the Rogue Traders appeared on a number of television programs such as; Rove Live, Big Brother, The Footy Show, Sunrise, Video Hits, Dancing With The Stars, Australia Day Live, the AFI and MTV VMA's. They also performed a lot of their own gigs, and at music festivals such as Sydney's 'Homebake.'

The band went onto receive a swag of award nominations at both the ARIA and MTV Australian Video Music Awards (MTV VMA's), where they took out the award for 'Best Dance Video - Voodoo Child.'

In 2006, Natalie was also nominated for the TV Week Gold Logie. The Gold Logie is the highest honour awarded for 'Most Popular Personality On Australian Television.' She was also nominated for the 'Most Popular Actress' Silver Logie, but just missed out on winning in either category.

With the success of the Rogue Traders, Nat found it increasingly difficult to juggle her commitments with Neighbours and the band. After careful consideration, she decided not to renew her contract. The evil 'Izzy' made her last appearance on Australian television in September of 2006.

Finishing up work on Neighbours left Nat free to concentrate on her first love, the music. The Rogues were about to go international, releasing 'Voodoo Child' and 'Watching You' in both the UK and Germany.

Upon returning from the UK, they was set to headline their first national tour. The Rogue Traders 'We're Coming Home Tour,' was a hit with the masses, with not a bad review in sight.

Natalie Bassingthwaighte supports a number of different charities, of which she has helped raise awareness, such as the 'Variety Club.' Participating in fundraising events, donating prize money from television shows and to celebrity auctions, whilst bringing joy to unfortunate children in hospitals. She was involved in the 'CARE Australia Hunger Campaign,' and performed at 'Vision Australia's Carol's By Candlelight in 2005, and recorded a version of 'O Holy Night' for the 'Myer Salvation Army 2006' Christmas CD.

Released late 2006, Natalie recorded a duet with Shannon Noll for the 'Beyond Blue' fundraising album, 'Home: Songs Of Hope and Journey.' A cover of the Kate Bush and Peter Gabriel classic, the single 'Don't Give Up,' topped the ARIA charts at #2.

Late 2006 also saw Natalie appear in an episode of 'Stupid Stupid Man' as 'Sandy', and the filming of 2 weeks worth of Neighbours episodes which were screened in early 2007. The scenes were filmed in London with co-stars Alan Fletcher and Jackie Woodburne.

2007 saw an eventful year for Natalie. She was nominated again for both Gold and Silver at the TV Week Logie Awards, and announced that she would soon star in an Australian horror film, Prey.

During August, Natalie moved to LA to search for more acting roles. The move was not to be permanent, though. Rogue Traders released their third album (second with Natalie on board), titled Better In The Dark, in October, and Natalie was need in Australia for promotional appearances.

More charity work was also a part of Natalie's busy schedule, taking part in My Diverse Australia and other various causes.

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