The long, flowing tresses. The earnest, heartfelt singing behind the piano, most often with bare feet. This has been Delta Goodrem’s modus operandi as a performer for years, particularly during special appearances and television performances.
But it’s an image the singer admits she has stuck to ever since the release of her hit debut album Innocent Eyes a decade ago. At 28, Goodrem wants to shake things up a little – and not just with her haircut.
“You know, I don’t always have to be behind a piano,” she says. “I have many, many more layers as a performer, which I’m excited to explore.”
She admits the piano has often been used as a symbol for her seriousness as a musician.
“[But] I think you all know that I write the songs, I don’t need to remind people … For the first time ever I don’t feel the need to be as intense about everything. I’m actually a young woman – let’s have fun.”"
With the release of her new single Heart Hypnotic, which went straight into the top 10 of the ARIA Charts last week, Goodrem is signalling a shift away from the persona she has built up over many years. Even her song, written with OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder, is bright, uplifting and a good old-fashioned dancing tune.
“Heart Hypnotic is about loving music,” she says. “It’s about, ‘I don’t know what this is, I don’t know what this melody is, but I know I love it, I’m hypnotised by the beat.’ There wasn’t another layer, and that’s unusual for me.
“It’s more just [about] celebrating new music and a new phase of feeling very free in music – and me sharing my fun side a lot more. I was so young when I started, so you naturally have a way about how you, you know, have been able to protect yourself for so long. And then just to throw caution to the wind and be kind of able to resonate through music again.
“To be able to do Livin’ La Vida Loca, to do Heart Hypnotic [in television performances], it’s so much fun.”
Unfortunately, Goodrem’s personal transformation – and her new sense of freedom – had negative beginnings.
It stemmed from the intense criticism (including abusive Twitter tirades) she received from some viewers of The Voice, particularly during the first season of the show, a period she admits was intensely difficult.
“It was as though everyone had forgotten what I’d done …” she says, trailing off.
Innocent Eyes sold more than 4.5 million copies and had five No.1 singles, not to mention a collection of ARIA Awards. (Sadly, at the time, Goodrem’s battle with cancer was also headline news). Ten years on, she is upbeat about her new musical direction.
“It feels great to just move into this next phase of my musical career,” she says. “I think last year was always going to happen … I had to shed my own skin of letting my guard down.
“[But] it was one of the hardest years, last year. I’ve learnt so much. I never thought I’d say this, but I’m really appreciative of everything that happened … because I feel like I went in this year going, ‘I’m just going to be myself and do what I do.”‘
Goodrem is focusing her sights on the US market again, with plans to release another album next year. It’s not the first time she’s had a crack at the charts there. In fact, she’s been trying for many years, and has had notable pockets of success as a live performer.
“I feel like I believe in the right timing of things and I’ve still got a lot of support there,” she says. “The right song at the right moment is always key. Yet I’ve been having these wonderful experiences, like singing with Michael Bolton this year on Ellen [The Ellen DeGeneres Show].”
Goodrem confirms she will be writing an album specifically for a US release.
“Next year’s going to be a busy year,” she says. “It goes in waves and this is an exciting wave again. I’ve learnt in my career that it’s all different, you just go with the moments …
“What’s been nice is I feel people are going back to the music; I feel that in my heart. It’s been nice to hear people talk about the music [again] – and that’s all I ever got into it for.”
Delta Goodrem’s single Heart Hypnotic is out now through Sony Music. It will be added as a bonus track to her latest album, Child of the Universe.