Universal woman
Universal woman

The latest incarnation of Delta Goodrem sees the 27-year-old singer songwriter as an empowered woman who wants to wrest back control of her life.

Control, the final track of Child of the Universe (her fourth album and first in five years), has Goodrem fired up, wanting to have the last word on who she is and how she is perceived.

"I am taking back control from everyone and everything," she says over the phone from Sydney. "I think the song is pretty straightforward, but bigger than that is the message.

"I started in this industry just wanting to make music and do my thing. You have to remember to be fearless again and go from the heart and I feel like this is me being a child of the universe and taking back control.

"I am standing up and being the woman that I wanna be."

And who can blame her for being more than slightly agitated. Since the release of her self-titled third album in 2007, Goodrem has been the subject of controversy in the Australian media.

She has copped flak over the ending of her seven-year relationship with former Westlife star Brian McFadden (the pair have apparently signed confidentiality agreements about their time together), her subsequent dalliance with teenage pop star Nick Jonas (eight years her junior) or her highly-criticised appearance as a coach on Nine's talent show The Voice, where she was accused of not putting her artists' best interests first.

Child of the Universe covers all of these areas, allowing the listener into Goodrem's world over the past five years, warts and all.

Knocked Out deals with The Voice, an experience that "in the moment felt like a never-ending storm", she says. "I think that moment of harsh reality has given me much strength and I wrote a great song about it, so I am thankful for it."

On a more sombre note, the ballad Wish You Were Here, is a deeply personal song about the death of Goodrem's childhood friend Liam O'Flaherty, who was killed in a motorcycle accident in 2009 at 24.

"I tried so many ways to write that song . . . how I could express how I was feeling about losing someone you have been close to your whole life.

"And I said to his parents 'I promise I will write a song for him'," Goodrem says. "And then on his birthday, when I sat down at the keyboard, I thought 'How do I feel', and I just started that melody and it just came through me.

"I think it was magical that it was on his birthday."

While Touch sounds like a sexy upbeat pop-rock number, in which Goodrem "is definitely a 27-year-old now", it is actually a collection of private moments she hopes will allow fans more insight into her character.

"My dad gave me that necklace I sing about, this little heart necklace when I was a kid that I wore everywhere," she said.

"The mountain I am talking about is Mount Kosciuszko, I had a goal to go there and my family took me there just after I was sick (with Hodgkin's lymphoma) and we walked up to the top."

After collaborating with a number of different songwriters for almost two years, including ex-boyfriend Jonas on Safe to Believe, Goodrem brought in acclaimed British record producer Chris Braide (Lana Del Ray, Kylie Minogue, Christina Aguilera) to help freshen up a number of tracks, including the upcoming single Hunters and the Wolves. She felt had begun to feel "stale".

Currently in the midst of east coast album-launch shows - including one aborted gig in Sydney over the weekend after suffering leg burns from spilling boiling water from a humidifier on to herself - Goodrem said she would launch a full scale arena tour mid-next year, which she promised would include a date in Perth.

'I am taking back control from everyone and everything . . . the song is pretty straightforward.'

The West Australian

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