The first time I met Delta Goodrem she’d just come off the back of the phenomenally successful first season of The Voice. The Charlotte Dawson Twitter trolling incident was unfolding at the time, and she had plenty of kind words and sympathy for her.
Looking back, it was fitting – because if anyone else knows about social media trash-talk, it’s Delta. Her evolution from Neighbours starlet to best-selling, ARIA award-winning artist, to a mentor on The Voice hasn’t been without its controversy.
From her battle with Hodgkin’s lymphoma at 18 to a string of high-profile boyfriends, every mistake, every drama, every life-changing moment has been captured in a headline.
Yet despite all this, when you chat to her, she knocks you sideways with her positive, genuine and wise-beyond-her-28-years attitude. (And yes, just like on TV, she’s gob-smackingly gorgeous in person.)
Armed with a newfound devil-may-care approach and a take-no-prisoners attitude towards coaching on The Voice, this year Delta is ready to take on – well, anything.
Did you feel more prepared for the The Voice this year?
“Absolutely, I feel differently to how I did last year. Over Christmas, I had a moment to myself where I watched all the episodes and figured out what I can do better. I’m proud of what I did, but I know I wasn’t a great sales pitcher for the artists. I know in my heart that I can be a fantastic coach for them, and there’s no [coach] who knows Australia like I do!”
Social media plays a huge part in The Voice’s popularity. But it’s also opened you up to a lot of criticism…
“Well, it’s the way of the world right now. Our show is no different to others, where everybody voices their opinion. I equate it to writing in your diary – sometimes you write your bad days, rather than your good days. I’m somebody who likes to write out the good things and be appreciative and always be thankful, but not everybody feels that way.”
Do you feel you’re quite sensitive to the criticism? Or are you a bit tougher this season?
“I think that it was just a storm last year and I’ve been in the industry for a long time, so I can move on from it. People have had their say and I’ve grown stronger. Now, stuff just rolls off me. I’m like, ‘Yep, cool, moving on…’ And I’m sorry to say, but it only reflects badly on other people now. We all get it, though. No big deal!”
As the only female coach on The Voice, do you feel like you get targeted more?
“There is a lot more on women, yes, definitely. But I’m not feeding into it. People forget what I actually do – and that’s music. I’m comfortable in my talent and my creativity. I don’t feel I need to defend myself.”
Even what clothes you’re wearing seems to get heaps of attention.
“I think it’s so funny that people care! The funniest is when there’s tweets like, ‘Why is she wearing the same outfit every day?’ Those are just the kinds of things you deal with! As it happens, I got a custom-made Lisa Ho jumpsuit to wear for all the auditions. I just wanted to feel comfortable and myself.”
"Seal and I are definitely just friends."
Is the edited version of the show that we end up seeing on TV an accurate portrayal of what actually goes on when you’re filming?
“There’s a bazillion times more footage than what you see. We’re all talkers, so when we start, it can honestly be for 45 minutes on one person! What you see on TV has been edited a lot.”
How would you describe your relationship with each of the other mentors?
“I’ve known Joel [Madden] forever, so when we’re on set we laugh a lot. We tend to play like we’re kids. Ricky [Martin] and I bonded straight away, which was a beautiful thing. As for Seal and me, we have had a wonderful friendship. We’ve kind of earned each other’s respect, because we’re not characters who become your best friend straight away. We can both be quite reserved, and that’s why we’ve become such great friends.”
What about the rumours about a romance between you and Seal?
“Oh my gosh! We were crying with laughter. We sent the funniest emails about it. He was so lovely and beautiful though, checking that I was OK. We were like, maybe we should set up a wedding on the show? But no, Seal and I are definitely just friends.”
What’s happening with you now music-wise?
“I’ve got some new music coming out soon. And I’m going to be on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, which will be really fun. I’ve always got stuff going on behind the scenes.”
Who are your style icons?
“I think Gwyneth Paltrow is phenomenal! And Nicole Richie as well. Every time we go out, it’s ridiculous how gorgeous and stylish she is.”
Say you were auditioning for The Voice, what song would you sing?
“That’s a really hard question! Maybe a Stevie Nicks song, but then I’d think, ‘Could I do a big Céline [Dion] ballad or a big Mariah [Carey] ballad?’ But then I’d want something a bit quirkier, like a Tori Amos song.”
If you weren’t a mentor on The Voice or a musician, what would you be doing?
“I would be a snow skier. I would ski all day and then sing in the bar at night. Or I would play basketball. I love all sports – as a teenager that was my thing. I was going to take up skiing full-time and join the AIS [Australian Institute of Sport] when I was 14.”