Delta Goodrem interview: "I've always run my own race"

We talk to the star about her long awaited return to the UK, fifth album and more.

Ten years is quite a hefty amount of time out of the spotlight, but that's exactly how long it's been since Delta Goodrem released a single in the UK - until now that is. 

Things may have changed quite a bit since then (her parting single with the UK was Almost Here, a duet with her ex Brian McFadden), but the singer and former Neighbours star sounds completely re-energised on her latest track Wings.

We sat down with Delta to talk about her long awaited return to the UK, her new album and her world-dominating debut Innocent Eyes.    

Hello Delta! First thing’s first: Wings is your first UK single in 10 years; why have you been neglecting us?

Clearly I just wanted to wait for a whole new decade before returning! Honestly, right now I feel like I’m the best version I’ve ever been of myself. I feel like I’ve been through lots of different chapters in Australia and this is a good moment to be here with the right song. I feel like I’m being rediscovered again with this song, which is a really great place to be in.

You sound very ‘re-energised’ on the song; you must have been pleased when it shot to the top of the Australian singles chart?

I’m definitely someone who believes anything is possible, but I didn’t want to be preachy about it. I wanted to create a feeling in the song that reflects how I feel in life at the moment – completely free and like you say, re-energised. I feel like something just changed in my heart recently, and this song is the result of it.   

We read you had a bit of a creative block before coming up with Wings…

I’ve had a few people say this to me, and I have no idea where that came from! I was writing prolifically still after the last record in 2012/2013, which came out in my home country. This song was just a bit of a turning point in terms of ‘this is going to be the sound of the new album’. This was the song where I felt I hit my stride.

When you sat down and started writing and recording the new album, is there a part of you that has to work out where you fit within the music industry at that moment?

Always, and there’s such great songs and artists out there keeping the bar high, which makes you want to work harder. I knew what sort of sound I wanted to do though; this time it was all about the instruments and giving it that classical feel to it – almost taking it back to my roots.

It seems like you always do things ‘your way’, which must make things harder?

I really do, which very much makes it harder. I’ve always run my own race – I was like that in school as well - I was always my own thing. I want to be inspired by what’s on the charts and what people are connecting with, but I also like to do my own thing. I work hard to make sure I’m evolving, and if people like what they hear, I count myself lucky.

What are you listening to that’s on the charts at the moment?

I’m really enjoying The Weeknd at the moment, all the Calvin Harris stuff and Kygo – his records are incredible. There’s a new Australian artist called Conrad who’s a real super talent. He just had a Number 1 in Australia. Seriously, I love the charts.

MORE: See all Delta's hit UK singles and albums in her Official Chart archive

Well you’re talking to the right people here!

Of course! I’m so proud that I have nine Number 1s in Australia. Kylie has 10 and Madonna’s at 11 and has the record. I only recently found that out, so now I’m like, it’s on! I’m going after those two.

How’s the new album coming along? When can we expect to hear it?

I’ve written a lot of songs for it already, but I’m going to finish it while I’m doing Cats, because I’ll be stationed in the same place for three months, which for me is unheard of. I’ll be tweaking every piano riff and guitar line and make sure it’s the best record I’ve ever done. That’s the ambition.

I’m working with these two Australian producers DNA (David Musumeci and Antony Egizii), and I always write with Vince Pizzinga who I wrote Innocent Eyes with, and I always write with John Shanks (Kelly Clarkson, Celine Dion) as well.   

It’s almost 13 years since Born To Try was released in the UK. What are your memories of that time?

The thing about that song is it’s created so many memories for me throughout my life. It really gets me feeling sentimental. I think of the moment I wrote it so often. When I think of the UK, I think of singing it on Top Of The Pops. I remember the piano being amongst everyone in the crowd and thinking, I’m doing TOTP!

I was 17 when it first hit Number 1, and because I was so young, it just felt like it was what was meant to happen. It’s only when you get older that you realise achieving that is actually really hard! When the song first came out, it really was a phenomenal moment in time for me, and since then, it’s done so many great things for me.

Your second album, Mistaken Identity, is often considered a bit of an underrated gem.

I’m glad you said that! I didn’t come back to the UK after the second album. Obviously my health stopped me being able to travel around the world. Then when I came back into the pop world, everything was different and then I made some choices and it just… I didn’t want to get pulled into that tabloid world. I decided to deal with it all myself and come back here now fresh.

Mistaken Identity was just me and Guy Chambers, and I had such a great time with it. He’s still a great friend of mine. I remember things being very intense around that time. Between coming off Innocent Eyes and then coming to the UK and being Number 2 behind Beyonce… for whatever reason my path was meant to lead here for a while, but it’s awesome to be back.

Delta Goodrem's new single Wings is out now.