As I log on to the Google Chat to speak to Delta Goodrem, what immediately strikes me is just how happy she looks. I’m speaking to her ahead of her debut run of UK headline dates. Yes, that’s right, her debut headline UK run. It’s crazy to think that despite several albums since her smash debut Innocent Eyes 20 years ago she hasn’t had a lead run in these parts. But thankfully she’s about to put that right, rejoicing with a huge smile on her face that that her bags are packed and she is ready to hit the UK shores.
Throughout our conversation she’s laughing, smiling, brimming with enthusiasm to get over to the UK while we talk about playing live, latest single Back to your Heart, setting up her own record label and what’s coming next for her.
“it’s been a heartbreak of mine”
Hi Delta, how are you?
Hey Mark, I’m good, I’m good. Looking forward to getting over to your side of the world!
I bet you are. Incredibly, it’s your first headline tour of the UK.
Yeah, I’m not sure how that’s possible, but it is possible, and it’s been a heartbreak of mine not getting over there earlier, so now is a really exciting time to head over. My bags are packed next to me, so I’m on my way.
How have you been preparing for it?
Just basically trying to go into my heart what songs to make sure that we play from the back catalogue and, but making sure we play all the songs that I hope anyone would expect to hear. And then adding in a few that, that are little new surprises.
I was going to ask you about the set list and how, how’d you manage to narrow it down? You, as you mentioned, you’ve got a big back catalogue to work from.
Yeah. I don’t, Mark, and that’s the problem! I feel bad for [the] songs thinking what about this song? So I leave a little open section where people can just say whatever song they want. And then I feel better that if anybody has a song that I’ve missed that, that I’ll play it.
The tour’s landing what will be just a couple of weeks after you’ve released your first new music in a couple of years? What were your feelings on getting new music out there?
Well, I think the evolution from the last record had felt like it was naturally time to, to be at this stage in my life too, [it] felt was like this as the moment. And I think that the lyrics in the song, in Back to your Heart, show life is for the here. It’s about right now, with that feeling of the change in industry, of being present, being who you are right this minute. I felt very excited to have that song out.
The last album was very autobiographical and very singer songwritery and going to my piano and deep diving the feelings. But this one, this next album, I really just wanted to have fun and sing along, in Belinda Carlyle vibes, you know, all the, the big, big guitars and key changes.
So was that a deliberate choice or organic creation?
I always think there’s an organic nature to what happens on a record, but I also think that there is a conscious feeling of where you want to go.
What were your first thoughts the first time you listened to the final cut of Back to your Heart?
Gosh, I mean, weirdly, this one stayed pretty similar from the day I wrote it. It didn’t go the like the next song that I have coming out – I think I’ve done maybe 25 mixes on it! I’m very passionate about it and I love it. But then this one kind of just happened. I was in LA doing the Backstreet Boys tour. I was with a producer who’s written and produced a lot of songs with me in my career. And I just sort of said, this is the energy I’m feeling right now.
And, and we just kind of wrote this song and it, and, and it was done pretty much that weekend. Now I mastered it and mixed it again just before we released it, but I didn’t change much on it, actually.
So it was really fast turnaround.
Yeah, it was. I’d had the song for a second, but then it felt, it felt like it was the right time now.
You mentioned another song coming soon.
It’s on the train tracks. It’s on the tracks. It’s on its way. But I feel like people are really taking to this song. It’s great to kind of see that flight from people and just enjoy getting to know this, this first song off the new record.
And to coincide with the release of the single, you’ve also now set up your own record label.
I have, yeah.
“that’s really all you can ask for”
Got to be exciting times there.
Yes, busy and exciting! But I think it’s really a kind of a natural approach. In this moment, it feels like that that’s the right way to approach and be able to share your music in different ways.
I feel really grateful just to have a group of people around me who believe in what I do and believe in my music and the art and that’s really all you can ask for and that’s all a label should ever be is people around you who believe and you all have one team, one dream.
Does it bring sort of any more pressure?
Not really. It does but it doesn’t. We actually said this the other day when we were doing the morning shows in Oz, that there’s something about it. The exhilarating feeling of, of freedom to just… feel like you have clicked and I feel confident that I have such incredible people around me who are working so hard.
I think I’ve been in it for a long time that I can enjoy putting into action what I’ve learned for many, many years.
Is it something that had been mulling around in your mind for a while to do this then?
I think more so that I had always naturally kind of run my own race and set up my own. I’d always been the kind of the captain of my own ship, so to speak, and I think that it was just, there was natural change going on when it came to where I was, and being with Sony for 20 years, and that’s a blessing, and I love the team at Sony, and we continue to work together, but I think that there was an aspect of, I had, was starting to do some really fun things that I felt that I could really continue to evolve and the landscape had changed. So, I think it was a natural evolution of where I had been.
You mentioned you’ve got your tour kicking off next week. What can fans expect, because a lot of them won’t have been able to catch you live before, so what can they expect from it?
I know, I think I might actually cry at the first show! I just would love them to be there to hear the songs that have been a part of their own lives and that they sing them at the top of their lungs with me and that we have a whole heap of fun and that we go on a journey from start to finish and that they walk away feeling that they had gone into their heart and had a great time.
“it’s an energy exchange”
When you’re up on stage, it’s obviously very personal. I imagine you feel very exposed. What’s going through your mind while singing to thousands of people?
Oh, I think for me, you know, I think it’s an energy exchange. It’s a mutual meeting, it’s an exchange of love together through music.
And I see that as a unifying moment. And I think to see in people’s faces that connection that they might’ve had with a song, I think that that’s, that’s that’s what I look forward to. There’s no better feeling than seeing that, seeing [them hear] the songs that they’ve had in their life.
It’s about both of us coming together.
And so the UK dates that’s just the start of it. You’ve then got European dates. Australian tour. How do you keep sane on the road?
Who said I was ever sane, Mark? Who said I was ever sane? You’re putting it out there.
I’m just making an assumption.
I actually love being on the road. I get so excited to get on the bus. That part I’m excited about! It’s the packing and preparation that’s not exciting, Mark. I’m over that part. So once I get through these couple of days and I get on the plane, I’m pumped and ready to go.
“it was definitely a lifetime in one year”
The Australian tour marks a celebration of the 20th anniversary of Innocent Eyes. Looking back now, what are your thoughts on that album?
I treasure it. I treasure that album, the gift of that moment in time being something that people connected to – it doesn’t happen every day that that moment. When you’re a young, young artist there was nothing except for the thoughts and feelings that were put into songs and people took that in. That’s something I will treasure forever. Now getting to celebrate that in a tour and play the songs I didn’t get to play live in that time, which were a part of that magical moment, I’m excited to celebrate that album and that chapter.
I don’t believe one thing defines you, but it was definitely a lifetime in one year that happened in 2003.
And I think it’s obviously very impressionable at that age, to be 18, have a record breaking album and just break around the world. And then the extreme of going through cancer at the same time. I think that it’s [so good] to be able to come back and play the album in a beautiful ribbon of celebration.
Is there a track on the album that still particularly resonates with you?
You know what, I’m really enjoying In My Own Time on the album. Obviously there’s the singles which I love, Born to Try will always be in my DNA. But, you know, some of the deep cuts we’ve been going into have been nice to kind of go, ‘Oh, that’s nice. I haven’t heard that song for a long time’.
And obviously some of the songs with Gary Barlow. I mean, I was in Manchester when we wrote Butterfly, Longer, My Big Mistake, Running Away, Throw It Away, there’s all the songs that I recorded in Manchester. Those were important moments in my life with Gary Barlow and Elliot Kennedy and I was a 16 year old, flown over there and recording those songs.
That was a big part of that record too.
So after the tours have all finished. What’s what’s the plan then?
Oh, I don’t know, Mark. I really don’t know at this point. No, I have a Christmas special! So, I have my national Christmas special that is for our fourth year. It’s my baby because I produce it. Atled Productions produces it. We all work very hard. It’s basically Christmas Eve, Christmas Day. And so we have to get the Christmas show ready. That’s straight after the tour.
And finish the new album, of course!
Oh yeah, that’s right, I also have the Netflix movie, that’s coming out in September, called Love is in the Air. It’s a romantic comedy.
So thank you so much for your time. I’m really excited to catch you in Manchester.
Thanks Mark. I’m truly looking forward to getting over there and singing.
When does Delta Goodrem headline at Manchester’s O2 Ritz?
Delta Goodrem headlines at the O2 Ritz Manchester on 31 August 2023. The Manchester gig is one of five UK and Ireland dates she is playing:
22 August – Glasgow, SWG3 Galvanizers
24 August – Birmingham, O2 Institute
27 August – London, O2 Shepherds Bush Empire
29 August – Dublin, Academy
31 August – Manchester, O2 Ritz
Lead image of Delta Goodrem courtesy Carlotta Moye