Longtime star in Australia, musician Delta Goodrem is on a “mission” to entertain us all
Delta Goodrem says she always promised fans a return to North America — it just took her a little longer than expected.
“I’m amazed when someone shares with me, you know, ‘I’ve been part of this journey [with you] far,'” the Australian singer-songwriter said in an interview, after opening her Canada Day weekend gig for the Backstreet Boys in Toronto.
Despite previous album releases in Canada and the United States, Goodrem’s music has gone largely unnoticed in North America. But at home, she is a real star.
His debut in 2003, innocent eyes, which she recorded and extensively co-wrote as a teenager, remains the best-selling album of all time by an Australian female artist.
Since then, she’s had four more No. 1 albums, made her mark on the small screen as a judge and mentor of The Voice Australia for eight seasons and performed on the theater stage.
She has performed with Andrea Bocelli and Olivia Newton-John, and written for Canadian singer Celine Dion. In January, she was made a Member of the Order of Australia.
Now, following two ‘resets’ – first, paralysis which left her unable to sing, and second, a pandemic which both took her away from the stage and helped her connect with international fans online – Goodrem, 37, said she feels ready to spread her wings beyond Oz.
“It was always the plan to take the show we just finished in Australia on the road,” Goodrem said, referring to his recent headlining tour. “I feel like I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else right now.”
Social media offers a “new world” for music
When Goodrem started his career 20 years ago, the music industry was very different. Sales of physical CDs triumphed and legal music downloads were only beginning to gain popularity.
Although she toured with other artists and made promotional visits to Canada and the United States in the years that followed, her headlining tours were limited to Australia.
In a “new world,” where musicians can perform live online for fans at the push of a button, or stream their music around the world via music streaming services, she says the way she connects with fans has changed.
“I see it as if there’s a new freedom, if you want someone’s music to be part of your life, there’s an easier way to do that. So I think that’s very different. from when I started,” Goodrem said.
During the strict pandemic shutdowns in Australia, Goodrem produced dozens of weekly Instagram gigs, known affectionately as Bunkerdown Sessions, performing songs from his own catalog and covers of songs by other artists. The videos have garnered hundreds of thousands of views.
“I started to realize how connected we all are in the world,” she said. “It was the beginning of the realization that there were so many people taking [in] my music again.”
Those sessions found their way to Stella Schneckenburger, a student from Markham, Ontario, who became a Goodrem fan in 2018 after stumbling across her music on YouTube. The Australian artist’s recent stopover in Toronto was Schneckenburger’s first time seeing her live.
It was the Bunkerdown performances, however, that connected her not just to Goodrem, but to a group of fan-turned-friends halfway around the world in Australia; she bonded with them during the live streams.
“My friends kept telling me that there will be no experience that will ever be the same as seeing it live and, like, it was so true,” Schneckenburger said.
Although some of Goodrem’s previous releases have only been available in Australia and surrounding markets, she has been steadily releasing albums internationally since 2016. And last year she made her entire discography available on streaming platforms around the world.
“I just want to perform”
Goodrem’s latest “era,” as she calls it, apparently saw her take more creative control of her career, producing TV specials with her own company and, now, bringing her music to new audiences in the alongside the Backstreet Boys.
It is also made up of his most recent album No. 1, Bridge over troubled dreams, and the piano, which was central to his career.
“I still have the same fingerprint, so to speak,” Goodrem said. “I would always sit at my piano and sincerely try to match the dance to the piano and match the theme of what I might be feeling at that specific moment, that specific day.
“It was mostly about going back to the beginning, knowing where the music starts for me, which is my heart and the piano, and building from there.”
The deeply personal album was inspired, in part, by that first reset. During surgery on a salivary gland in 2018, a damaged nerve left her unable to control her speech – or sing. One of the singles from the album, paralyzedrelates this experience.
“The record was built on that reset — deleting everything and starting over,” she said.
Coming out of the shutdowns that defined the pandemic and with concerts returning around the world, Goodrem says she wants to get back on stage and entertain fans — wherever they are.
His tour with the Backstreet Boys continues in the United States until the end of July.
“It’s a good time to enjoy this freedom to come, and I just want to play,” she said.
“It’s my mission to make sure we do a lot of shows together and really have a new era of music and life.”