NEW YORK (Reuters) - After a six-year hiatus, singer Natalie Imbruglia returns to music with a new album, her fifth, a compilation of tracks originally sung by men.
"Male" features covers of songs such as Cat Stevens' "The Wind", Tom Petty's "The Waiting", Neil Young's "Only Love Can Break Your Heart" and The Cure's "Friday I'm in Love".
"The female artists, for some reason, it felt more scary and like a direct comparison," Imbruglia told Reuters. "I think when you flip the sex ... it's instantly a different interpretation because we're coming from different places emotionally. I just found it more fun."
The Australian native and British citizen, also an actress, became known for music with hit single "Torn" in 1997, which earned her a Grammy Award nomination.
Her last album "Come to Life" was released in late 2009.
"It became not just about who you like but being smart about ... what suits your voice and what you can give credit to. So that helped with my song choice," she said of "Male".
"I'm a romantic and I love these kind of songs. I wanted to do something very organic, very classic production, no electronic sounds and very vocally driven. And these songs lend themselves to that vibe."
The track Imbruglia says she is most proud of is "The Summer" by Josh Pyke, mainly because it was tough to sing.
"The guy doesn't take a breath. So I'm proud of the fact that I was actual able to do it," she said. "I think it turned out beautiful and it reminds me of Australia."
The 40-year old calls "Male" personal and intimate and "not a trendy album of the times".
"It's more classic and for people who like my voice really because it's so vocally driven," she said.
"If you don't like my voice you will hate the album."
(Reporting by Alicia Powell in New York; Writing by Marie-Louise Gumuchian in London; Editing by Alison Williams)