DELTA GOODREM – 2002-2020

delta113

Think About You (D Goodrem/J Brunetta/J Ryan) 2018 and Keep Climbing (D Goodrem/M Copley/S Kole) and Paralyzed (D Goodrem/M Altschuler) – Delta Goodrem – 2020

In November 2016 it was announced that Delta Goodrem was to play the role of Olivia Newton-John in a new biopic to be filmed in Melbourne entitled Olivia Newton-John: Hopelessly Devoted to You, it seemed like a casting call made in mini-series heaven, both women were famous Australian singers, cancer survivors, and Olivia had mentored Delta from the age of eighteen, and likewise Goodrem idolized the Australian music icon, so what could go wrong – plenty!

delta137

Olivia and her family only found out about the mini-series after production had commenced, neither her consent nor her input had been sought, and as the 69-year-old superstar was battling cancer again at the same time, her ex-husband Matt Lattanzi and daughter Chloe savaged the producers for their insensitivity and blatant exploitation of intensely personal times in their lives. Olivia stated that she would never watch the mini-series despite being assured by Delta that it was respectful of Olivia, her career, and her family. But ever the realist Olivia agreed to record two duets with Delta for the soundtrack of the biopic, on the condition that the proceeds would be donated to fund cancer research at the St. Vincent’s Hospital Wellness Centre (Melb) that Olivia had founded some years before. The soundtrack I Honestly Love You featured three duets with Delta, Your The One That I Want (Dan Sultan), Let Me Be There (Olivia Newton-John) and Love Is A Gift (Olivia Newton-John), the album charted #4 locally and #2 in NZ. 

Think About You was one of several non-album singles that Delta released around this time, as she market-tested songs in the hope of identifying suitable album tracks and to provide future direction for her music; which was now primarily supported by a group of rusted-on fans here in Australia and New Zealand. Pleasingly this wasn’t a self-absorbed message song, more of an up- tempo electropop banger with echoes of 90’s Mariah Carey and J.LO with an erotic ambience and sexy lyrics “Every time I look at you/Your clothes are coming off…”, it peaked at #19 locally and the Kiwis sent it to #4, and it deserved to do better here as well.

An image change for Delta here, casual windswept, softer look, brunette, shoeless, jeans and tee shirt- sultry and sexy, but tasteful.

Delta had dedicated herself to success in the USA for the past ten years, like several Aussies who had relocated their to successfully ignite their careers including Olivia Newton-John, Helen Reddy, Sia Furler and Iggy Azalea, but Delta had failed to hit the charts Stateside. She was confused, disappointed, and crushed, her steely focus and glacial demeanor began to unravel as she partied in LA. She decided to return home to Sydney where she would acquire a luxury apartment for $4.825m in inner suburban Darlinghurst (Syd), and by 2017 had set up house there with her new partner, musician and co-collaborator Matthew Copley. Below L-R Delta and Copley, Delta’s new Sydney Apartment.

In 2020 three songs were pre-released from what was expected to be the upcoming sixth album from Delta Goodrem; in May, July and September, they were chronologically Keep Climbing, Paralyzed, and Solid Gold, so logically it was anticipated that the album Bridge Over Troubled Dreams would hit the market in time for Christmas. Delta’s pre-publicity for the album had trumpeted that this was an altogether stripped back and emotionally raw set of songs, revealing, authentic, and personal, and that it would surprise her fans. Delta returned to the piano here and eschewed electric keys and overproduced beats, it was certainly more minimalist than her previous albums which had deployed bloated teams of tunesmiths to little effect. There were only 3 producers credited, and most of the songs were co-written by Delta, her new partner Matthew Copley, and Marla Altschuler, who was better known for writing music for film, television and commercials. The sheer cost of the “bigger is better” approach adopted for previous albums with an army of writers and producers, traipsing around multiple studio locations, plus the cost of producing promo videos, would have certainly pushed her last three albums to barely break-even point financially.

delta135

But Christmas came around and Bridge Over…” still hadn’t landed, Delta then rush-released a hastily-compiled Christmas album, Only Santa Knows, jammed with covers of traditional yuletide songs, which was never the less well-supported for a #2 local hit. Best tracks included the original song Only Santa Knows, a duet on Silent Night with the murmouirously-moving Gurrumul, and the haunting Carol of the Bells, Joni Mitchell’s majestic River was also included, but was unrecognizable from the original, and clearly the low point of the album.

delta136

It seemed that as the early sales of the three singles pre-released from the new album had not set the charts on fire, Bridge Over… was relegated to become Goodrem’s seventh album and was not released until May 2021. Keep Climbing was a piano power ballad with a motivational message about hope, embracing change, overcoming hardship; and moving forward in life; a familiar tinkling piano intro built up in layers of strings and soulful melodies with great vocal backing by the Trilogy Group choir, but it stalled on the digital sales chart at #6 locally.

Studio vid with Delta standing at the mic and seated at the piano, the Trilogy Group choir appear in the neighboring studio.

Paralyzed was inspired by a medical condition with which Delta had to deal when after having her salivary gland removed, she faced serious complications that caused a paralysis of her tongue, and forced her to have to re- learn how to speak, it was a minor local hit and crept to #36 locally.

Studio Delta vid, Matthew Copley plays lead guitar; strings and tambourines enriched the mix.

Solid Gold was another self-love motivational mantra which simply failed to chart. Other songs were also autobiographically-inspired, the brutally honest Dear Elton, an open letter to the Rocket Man who had encouraged her when she was ill, Kill Them with Kindness was inspired by an incident at a concert in LA when Delta and comedian  Marlon Wayons tangled on the dancefloor, and he  unleashed on her on Instagram, saying she was “the most unrhythmic white woman he had ever seen”, and Crash was about the auto accident which involved a pregnant Lea Goodrem, which forced her to give birth to Delta two months prematurely. The album Bridge Over Troubled Dreams debuted at #1 locally but fell out of the top 40 after only 6 weeks, to become Delta’s least-successful studio album to date.

In 2021 at the age of 37, Delta Goodrem is an iconic singer, songwriter, and producer, she is one of the top eight Australian solo female singers of all time with over 9 million record sales to her credit, only eclipsed by such international hitmakers as – Olivia Newton-John (100 million), Kylie Minogue (100 million), Helen Reddy (80 million), Iggy Azalea (40 million), Sia Furler (25 million), Natalie Imbruglia (10 million) and Tina Arena (10 million). She has taken five consecutive songs to #1 when they were lifted off her megahit debut album Innocent Eyes in 2003, which ultimately sold over 4 million copies globally. In total she has taken 9 songs to #1 on the ARIA charts as well as five studio albums to #1, and throughout the period 2003-2021 she charted with no less than 22 songs on the ARIA top 20, and has won 12 ARIA Awards.

Delta has written and performed songs with Olivia Newton-John, Michael Bolton, Tony Bennett, Celine Dion, LeAnn Rimes and Westlife; at the Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony in Melbourne in 2006 she performed before a global audience of 1.5 billion, and has toured with such diverse artists as Michael Bolton, Ricky Martin and Andrea Bocelli. Below L-R – Delta with Andrea Bocelli, Michael Bolton, and Ricky Martin.

Delta is the epitome of a local hero, a gifted performer who as a singer, composer, and pianist was a triple threat, who stood on the edge of global pop stardom, often compared to Celine Dion and Mariah Carey, who never made the ultimate ascent to the peak of international success. Somewhere inside the bubble of her legion of songwriters, producers, arrangers, advisers, managers and family, Delta became disconnected from the world around her, not in a haughty, entitled, or cruel way, but in a glossy, self-absorbed, distanced kind of way, and increasingly we just yearned for the truth, clarity and authenticity of the Delta Goodrem we met back in 2002, when we heard for the first time the best song that she has ever done – Born to Try. 

delta20

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s