INTERVIEW: Delta Goodrem

For her seventh studio album Delta Goodrem has returned to her roots and created a body of work that hears her finding the magic in live instrumentation again. ‘Bridge Over Troubled Dreams’ is all about the stories she’s always wanted to tell but has perviously held back or not known exactly how to articulate the words. Sitting down at the piano, she’s built up 11 authentic tracks that are full of heart and soul that capture the raw moments in a beautiful lightness.

Setting the tone with opening track ‘Keep Climbing’ which is all about resilience, she lowers her guard and opens up about a near-tragedy while her mother was pregnant with her, her journey with tongue paralysis, the grounding she needs from her friends, and the power of strength and the importance of not giving up. Coinciding with the release of her debut book of the same name, she opens up about these stories in even more detail and ticks off another bucket list item before kicking off one of her biggest Australian tours later this year. 

I recently chatted with Delta Goodrem about the live instrumentation behind ‘Bridge Over Troubled Dreams’, explored the creative processes behind ‘The Power’, ‘Dear Elton’ and ‘Kill Them With Kindness’, and found out the different catharsis writing a book gave compared to writing music. Check it out BELOW;

THOMAS BLEACH: Your sixth studio album ‘Bridge Over Troubled Dreams’ is an honest, vulnerable and authentic collection of tracks that hears you creating the sonic purely ground up with live instrumentation and choirs, and no synths. When figuring out what you wanted this record to represent, why was this something you decided you wanted to hone into the album? 

DELTA GOODREM: For many reasons this album represented a reset both personally and musically. It was about going back to basics and what matters the most. These stories had been on my heart to tell, and when I decided this was the right time to share them it was only appropriate to find a musicality and production that matched. I sought to make an album that was authentic to this moment and wanted to incorporate details like hearing the pedal of the piano and other little nuances that allow the listener to experience the live instrument aspect.

TB: What was the most challenging part of building the album sonically in that way compared to your last record ‘Wings Of The Wild’? 

DG: The most challenging part of building the album with live instruments is that you can’t change your mind as easily. Once you have committed to the key the song is in or the tempo it’s SO much harder to change than if you were to start building from a computer. While it was challenging at times, the process was organic and incredibly rewarding. I dearly loved making ‘Wings of the Wild’ too, and it will be a big part of the tour as well! 

TB: ‘The Power’ is a song that immediately stands out on the album with its empowering energy and bold production that I can already hear could be a perfect opening track in your upcoming live show. So can you explain the creative process behind this particular track? 

DG: Love that! ‘The Power’ has an energy and palpable feeling. After I finished writing the book, I realised that we needed one more song with the kind of energy and production that ‘The Power’ has. I revisited an old lyric that I had started, and it was brought to life as ‘The Power’. I also had a playlist called “Take the power back” which was a reference to Rage Against the Machine’s song which was included in that playlist and inspired me to write the song. I wanted it to uplift and remind people that all the power you need lives in you!

TB: Marking the significance of Elton John as a key inspiration in your artistry on ‘Dear Elton’, what song of his specifically triggers a special moment in your childhood or career? 

DG: There are so many Elton John songs that I love and cherish. A more recent memory is from the beginning of 2020 and the very first song I listened to as we were ringing in the new year was “I’m Still Standing” and it was so motivating to start the year off hearing that song as I was in the middle of making this album.

TB: ‘Kill Them With Kindness’ is a beautiful song about strength. What is one of your favourite lyrics from that song? 

DG: I’m always a sucker for a bridge in a song and I really love the lyrics, “And when you’re feeling like their judging, keep dancing even if they’re watching”. This was sort of a take on the dance like no one is watching phrase, and you know what, dance even when they are watching!! Live your life to the fullest and kill them with kindness!

TB: Contrasted by the organic live instrumentation, your vocals are complimented so boldly through the record with the strongest they’ve ever sounded. This is something that should be absolutely celebrated after your tongue paralysis. When you listen back to the album and hear your vocals is there a disbelief or proudness that exhales from that journey? 

DG: Thank you, that is very kind and is such a compliment. When I pause and think about all of it, it’s very humbling. It took a lot of work and practice to get to this point today, but I wouldn’t change a thing about my journey. I am so grateful for the support of my incredible healthcare professionals and friends and family that helped me get through it.

TB: To coincide with the release of this album you’ve also released your debut book of the same name. As someone who has candidly opened up about her vulnerability through music for the past 18 years, how did you find the process of emotionally sharing differentiated when writing without having to think about melodies? Was it harder? 

DG: Writing a book has always been one of my goals and it was like getting to finish what I started with writing the songs. There is only so much storytelling you can fit into a song, but the book allowed me to expand on the stories and inspirations that went into the creation of the record. The book also allowed me the opportunity to share photos from my personal collection to help paint the picture of what these stories and songs represent in my life.

TB: Later this year you will be hitting the road on a huge arena tour, and with a discography full of big pop songs like ‘Think About You’, ’Wings’ and ‘Heart Hypnotic’, is there a song that you’d like to re-design sonically for the show with this more organic instrument heavy sound? 

DG: Great question! Yes, but you’ll have to wait and see which songs! I am inspired by bringing this album and past songs to life in an organic way for this tour. It wouldn’t be my show without some surprises and of course everyone up on their feet having a dance as well!

TB: Let’s play a quick game of rapid fire questions, you ready? 

DG: Let’s go! 

TB: The emoji that best describes my sixth studio album ‘Bridge Over Troubled Dreams’ is…

DG:  The piano keys!

TB: The most empowering song on the record would be…

DG: ‘The Power’

TB: The song I cried writing or listening to it back was…

DG: ‘Crash’

TB: The song I’m most looking forward to performing live from the album is…

DG: ‘Dear Elton’

TB: The song that took the longest to find its sound was…

DG:  ‘Paralyzed’

Bridge Over Troubled Dreams Australian Tour

Friday 24 September – Newcastle Entertainment Centre, Newcastle

Saturday 25 September – Royal Theatre, National Convention Centre, Canberra

Thursday 30 September – WIN Entertainment Centre, Wollongong

Saturday 2 October – Gold Coast Convention & Exhibition Centre, Gold Coast

Wednesday 6 October – Townsville Convention & Entertainment Centre, Townsville

Friday 8 October – Brisbane Entertainment Centre, Brisbane

Saturday 9 October – Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney

Wednesday 13 October – RAC Arena, Perth

Friday 15 October – Adelaide Entertainment Centre Arena, Adelaide 

Saturday 16 October – Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne

‘Bridge Over Troubled Dreams’ is out now!