Interview: Delta Goodrem
Wed, 09 Jul 2008 17:33:37
The Grove is easily one of the most beautiful outdoor malls in Los Angeles. In addition to its bevy of upscale stores and restaurants, there's a giant fountain in the center that plays Frank Sinatra tunes. The Farmers Market sits adjacent to this modern shopping Mecca. It's a veritable epicenter of authentic culinary favorites, from fresh seafood to piping hot Mexican dishes. So it's no surprise that Australian singer Delta Goodrem loves this locale. With a smile, she exclaims, "The Grove's unreal! I live in walking distance, and it's an awesome spot, because it's central to all of Los Angeles. I definitely enjoy it. I'm always at The Farmers Market getting food [Laughs]. It's lovely! It reminds me of spots in Australia." She needs no reminder of home though; Delta is just as at home in L.A. Her career has landed her in the City of Angels many times, but now, it looks like it's for good. The 23-year-old is already a million-selling pop monolith down under, but in America she's just gearing up to release her debut, entitled Delta. The record combines classical piano and big pop melodies for an infectious sound. In between glancing out her window at The Grove on a sunny summer day, Delta discusses her music and much more with ARTISTdirect.
Would you say your music establishes a middle ground between classical structure and modern pop?
Yeah, definitely! It's funny because I've always liked sentimental pop. I come from a classical piano background though. Then I stopped writing my own pieces, and I got into writing pop songs. This record isn't as piano-driven as my other albums are. However, the first single definitely has my stamp on it. I'll always have that style of writing on my albums; it's just something that I do.
Where does the creative process usually start for you?
The songs always start with the piano. I've written songs that begin on bass or other instruments, but I'd say 95 percent of the songs start on the piano. The songs have to seed from me. That way, I feel emotionally attached to them. If I try and collaborate with other people, I can bounce ideas off of them, but the songs always have to seed from me. I really prefer a song to start and grow from there. It's important to create colors. It's kind of like painting for me.
It feels like extremely personal music that would definitely necessitate such a close connection.
It's really important to tell stories, and I feel like I've got a lot to talk about. With every experience comes understanding and new empathy. You can relate to a whole new group of people after each experience. I really enjoy being able to go through something, understanding it and then writing it in a song.
You've been doing this for a while too.
I know a lot of other artists have been doing it a lot longer, because I'm only 23. However, I feel like I've really grown up in the industry. I'm from Australia, and it feels like I've been out as an artist forever over there, but everyone always says, "You're still only 23!" I've been with a record company there since I was 14. I've had a manager since I was 13, and I appeared on T.V. for the first time when I was seven. My parents had nothing to do with the industry. They were just wonderful supporters. They did nothing but encourage and support me. They never discouraged my dreams. They let me know that anything worth doing is worth doing well.
"Believe Again" is the perfect opener for the album. It really pulls the listener right in.
I'm so glad. It's funny because I'd written that when I was in Ireland right before Christmas 2006. After my second album back in Australia, I hadn't really written as much as I would've liked to write. Normally I write a lot, but I'd stopped for a second there. At that time, I don't think I'd recovered properly from going through so much with my parents' divorce and all this other stuff that happened. When I wrote the song, it really said exactly what I felt like. I ended up going back to Australia for the holidays to see my parents. A lot had changed because of the divorce. Still, I knew it was going to be a really nice Christmas. For the first time, I had really let go of everything on my shoulders, and I felt like I was starting to turn it around. So I wrote "Believe Again." That song did turn the whole album around. I really did believe again. After Christmas, I wrote "In this Life" and "Angels in the Room." Then literally, the album wrote itself. We used live strings at the beginning of the song. It was this big orchestra, and it was incredible. I really love that song. I just sang these melodies, and I wanted it to be something where people could listen to it and say, "Yeah, I believe again. I believe in myself, and I believe in my work." I love the message of that song.
What's the story behind "God Laughs?"
Well, that was about my parents breaking up. They'd been together my whole life, and it only happened within these past couple years. I wrote about it because there are so many people in the world that go through this, and I knew the emotion that I felt in that situation. Life can change so dramatically, and I wanted to explore that in the song. It's funny, because I've had so many people write in and say, "Delta, darling, God's not laughing at you!" [Laughs] I'm like, "No, I mean this in a really positive light!" [Laughs]
"Angels in the Room" fits as a cohesive conclusion to the record.
I'm always interested in talking about life, and we were talking about the universe and who, what, where and why. I talk about life a lot in my songs. I love everything that has to do with the psychology of people. "Angels" was me imagining myself singing in front of all the people that have supported me and saying, "There must be angels in the room."
“Life can change so dramatically, and I wanted to explore that in the song”
The music also has a cinematic quality.
"Angels in the Room" could go on Grey's Anatomy. That's my favorite T.V. show [Laughs]. I love that show, and I'd love to have a song on it.
Even though you're established in Australia, you're starting fresh in the U.S. in a sense. Is that exciting?
I can't wait to tour America. You only get to introduce yourself to people once, and that process of discovery for an artist is really beautiful. It's great to start again. It's fun. You get to have that experience and enjoy the whole process all over again.