Born to Try (D Goodrem/A Mtawarira) 2002 and Lost Without You (M Gerrard/B Benenate) – Delta Goodrem 2003
Between 2001-2003 Delta worked with many different songwriters and producers to create her debut studio album, Innocent Eyes, she also recorded internationally at no less than eight different studio locations – the Cove City Sound Studios (New York), Mansfield Lodge Studios (Los Angeles), Sing, Sing Studios, and Metropolis Studios (Melbourne), Studio 301 (Sydney), Olympic Studios and True North Studios (UK) and The Lab (Santa Monica).
Innocent Eyes would be one of the most stunningly successful debut albums ever recorded by an Australian artist, released in 2003 it went straight to #1 in Australia, #2 in the UK, #6 in NZ, top twenty in six European countries, sold 4.5 million copies worldwide (1.2million in Australia alone) and is the ninth largest-selling album in Australian history. Below- Audius Mtawarira
The first single released from the album was the piano-based ballad Born to Try, co-written by Goodrem and Audius Mtawarira, a Zimbabwean singer-songwriter who lived in Australia in 1996-2012, and who had also written songs for Jessica Mauboy, Paulini and Ricki-Lee Coulter.
Lyrically the song is about finding your way in life, ignoring the naysayers, taking chances and following your dream, it had an autobiographical verisimilitude about it “Be wrong or right/ Sometimes you’ve got to sacrifice the things you like/ But I was born to try.” The lyrics were truthful and heartfelt, and Delta imbued the song with a touching naivety, while musically it was floaty, ethereal, but still utterly charming and endearing.
Like many of the songs on the album, Born to Try aspired to authenticity, credibility and dramatic structure by a soft piano intro and plaintive vocals building to a more emotional and impassioned delivery, as the synth-inflected rhythms increased in tempo and the orchestration swelled behind Goodrem’s crystalline soprano vocals. She has said that this was the quickest she had ever written a song, that Audius Mtawarira had played a few chords and she then sang the whole song in one take, the lyrics naturally emerged, it was a magical creative moment for Delta, and it became her signature song.
Richard Sanford played piano, and Russ DeSalvo played acoustic and electric guitars and synths, it was recorded in New York, and was Goodrem’s first #1 hit single and stayed on the charts for 32 weeks.
It was also an international hit, #1 in NZ, #3 in the UK and top 20 throughout Europe, sold over 500,000 copies and was awarded ARIAs for Best Single and Best Breakthrough Artist in 2003, the promo video featured footage shot in Helsinki with Delta performing at the piano and was generally praised.
In March 2000 Lost Without You was the second single lifted off the all-conquering Innocent Eyes album, recorded in Santa Monica with producer/arranger Matthew Gerrard, it was co-written by him and American Bridget Benenate, the former had previous production credits with Kelly Clarkson, Jessica Simpson and Hilary Duff and co-composer Benenate had written the mega-hit Breakaway for Kelly Clarkson and had also worked with Australia’s Batchelor Girl. Below – Benenate and Gerrard.
The song is a lover’s lament for a failed relationship, the girl admitting her mistakes and seeking reconciliation “I thought I had all the answers never giving in/ But baby since you’ve gone I admit that I was wrong … Oh my bed’s so cold at night and I miss you more each day/ Only you can make it right, I’m not too proud to say.”
Gerrard and Benenate arranged and recorded the music and backing vocals (Benenate) in the States, and Goodrem’s vocals were recorded in Sydney and ultimately mixed by Michael Brauer. The song opens with piano and guitars, Delta at the piano projects a more animated, vampish, sexy image in the promo video, and the song was yet another #1 hit in Australia spending 30 weeks on the charts, and top ten in NZ, Sweden, and the UK and #18 in the US, for global sales in excess of 500,000. Delta Goodrem had come straight out of the blocks with a sledgehammer album, and a seemingly endless stream of #1 hit songs that resonated globally, her future releases were much anticipated.