There’s nothing stopping Delta Goodrem. The celebrity singer and songwriter is at the top of her game and working on her new album after releasing the single Wings, which became her ninth No.1 in Australia. She has just finished her role on The Voice Australia alongside Jessie J, Ricky Martin and Benji and Joel Madden and is rehearsing for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats The Musical, in which she plays the most glamorous cat, Grizabella. I chatted to the 30-year-old about her inspiration behind Wings, her TV feud with Jessie J and why she waited until now to pursue musical theatre.
Congratulations on the success of Wings.
Thank you, it’s incredible. To go to Ni. 1 and to see that the public really embraced Wings and just have a genuine liking has just been a really special moment. It really does feel like a new chapter – this whole record is a new era of music [for me].
Was Wings a long time in production?
No, bizarrely. I had been writing all different songs for the album. And then, I just had a big switch and said, “What first song do I want?” I still just knew I didn’t really have the first song yet. I had done the Ricky [Martin] tour and I had done all my old songs – really organically with my shoes off, by the piano – and all of a sudden I went, “Oh my gosh. I know what type of song I need to write.” It was that lightning moment. I went into the studio the next day after the tour and I went, “I know who I am. I know what makes me, me. I’m back in love with classical pop in piano.” I was like, “So I should embrace what I do.”
When you write a song like Wings, do you instantly have a gut feeling that it will be a hit?
I’ve never had a hit song that has felt the same. They’ve all felt slightly different. This one, I had a feeling. I believed because I was really gravitating to the song and I was like wanting to listen to the song and dance around the room with my other writers. So I knew “This is right”. But I always test the songs on all my mates.
Do your mates actually tell you if they don’t like it?
Oh God yes, I swear. I’ll send them an email with my songs and say, “See which one sticks.” My friends have been my mates since I was five, so they’re going to say if they think it’s crap (laughs)!
Congratulations on the last season of The Voice. Do you enjoy doing the show?
It [was] an incredible season. I think this year has been the best season yet. I feel like the audiences and us – everyone is just relaxing into the show a bit more now. We kind of know what the show is [now].
Will you do another season?
I have no idea. It depends. I mean, it has been an incredible season but you never know where the next year leads.
You and Jessie J went head to head during last season. Was it all for cameras?
I’ve been pretty open that we’re both very passionate. We are very different type of women but it doesn’t mean that we argued any more or any less than what, let’s say, the Maddens did – it just was a lot more focused on. I’ve been pretty open too that there was a lot of editing illusions … It’s a TV show. No one needs to get too deep about it, it’s entertainment. Jess and I have a good laugh about things. We’re the ones who have a dance. Because we’re different women, it doesn’t mean that we can’t find our place as mates.
Do you guys all hang out when you’re not filming the show?
It’s pretty clear Ricky and I are very close. But we don’t have to [hang out]. It’s like if you hang with all your workmates; we don’t have to. We all work really hard. But truthfully, this time in my life, I can’t hang. I don’t get to hang because having the No.1 single in the country these last few weeks and the work that it takes to get there, I physically haven’t been able to hang with anyone, let alone my real mates (laughs).
You are currently rehearsing for CATS. How did that come about?
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s team invited me to do it. I had never thought about [doing] theatre. I don’t know why – I’ve put it down to maybe when I was six years old, I went for The Secret Garden and I didn’t get it. At that time I was getting all the TV [gigs]. I was getting chosen for everything – I had gotten chosen for Hey Dad and A Country Practice and all these shows. Then all of a sudden I had been not chosen for this theatre show that was running for a while. So I thought maybe I’ll just never do it … And then CATS asked me and I went, “I would love to have a look.”
Are you nervous about your first stage musical?
No, I’m more excited. I’m completely in the zone for it.
How did you prepare for the role?
I had to be fit. The first week of rehearsals you’re on your hands and knees – you have to be feline. So [I was] learning to transition into turning into a cat and all those body movements and holding your body in a different way and then dancing.
Will we see you doing more theatre roles?
I still have to get through this show (laughs)! Then I’ll see. But I do know that being around the cast is my heart and soul and makes me very happy. I spoke to Ricky [Martin] about it — because obviously he has done Evita. He said, “Delta, now that you’ve gotten that bug, you’re going to completely fall in love with this.” And I have. It’s totally different to pop. But it doesn’t mean that the worlds can co-exist beautifully. It’s just that – it’s entertainment. I’m getting to do everything I love – dancing, singing and acting, which is why I go, “Why didn’t I think of this sooner?”
You’ve had such a successful career. What is your biggest motivation?
My motivation is a love of great art. I love music. I love writing. I love people. My motivation is to just connect. My intention has only ever been to just bring my messages through songs. That’s what I got into it for. I wasn’t in the era where we grew up with Instagram and that stuff so I never thought about public life when it came to music. So my intention – and the reason why I’ve been here for 15 years – is only to do a really great performance… I feel like people actually have gotten to know me again for the person I actually am rather than the perception [of me]. I like to have a good laugh, do great entertainment, make TV, do live performances and just sing the songs that have been in their lives. I don’t have any other sort of motives.
Australia has really got to know you through The Voice. Have you noticed a big change?
There has been a change in my own experience of completely letting go and being free to just show who I am and just embrace that. I was so shy when I started. I didn’t know how to say my opinion on camera because it wasn’t actually my nature naturally – I’m not the person you interview at 15, who is going to tell you their political opinion, because I’m a muso. So this show when I started. It was like: how does one break through to share an opinion? But now I just feel “Yeah. Cool. This is what I do and this is what I feel.” I now stand for what I want to stand for and it’s incredible when people embrace it.
If you had never got into music, what would you have done?
Easy: there are three things. I would have been a ski racer, played basketball or I would have studied physics to become a scientist.
WE WENT TO Aria restaurant.
WE ATE Cone Bay Barramundi with grilled cabbage and smoked dulse.
WE DRANK Friends of Punch Quartz Reef vineyard pinot noir
DELTA WORE Daniel Avakian dress and Samantha Wills jewellery.