July 8, 2008 / 12:56 AM / in 9 years

Aussie singer Delta Goodrem heads for U.S.

NEW YORK (Billboard) - When Delta Goodrem was cast in Australia’s long-running serial “Neighbours” in 2002, the teenager didn’t care for the “bad girl” character written for her -- and had the audacity to renege on the potentially career-making role.

<p>Australian singer Delta Goodrem arrives at the premier of Spider-man 2 in central London July 12, 2004. REUTERS/Kevin Coombs</p>

Goodrem had already signed a development deal with Sony Records and felt the part didn’t suit the hopeful tone of her music. “It’s hard now to believe I had the courage to do that,” the 23-year-old says.

But as it turns out, show producers wanted to fly with Delta, and they rewrote the role of shy coffee-shop staffer/budding singer Nina Tucker to her liking -- and she signed on.

Goodrem has certainly made good on not being bad -- but her story has since played out with more real-life melodrama than any soap. When her latest album, “Delta,” arrives July 15, it will represent the culmination of five topsy-turvy years.

Her first single, “Born to Try” (Columbia), rallied to No. 1 at home in Oz, while her debut album, “Innocent Eyes,” spent 29 weeks as a chart-topper, selling 14 times platinum and winning seven Australian Recording Industry Assn. Awards. The record also made her a star in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Greece, Sweden and Japan.

And then her career came to a halt when, at 18, she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer that attacks the immune system. A U.S. launch of her album on Columbia was compromised; single “Lost Without You” reached No. 18 on Adult Contemporary radio, but because she was too weak to promote it, Goodrem’s planned album was scrapped.

<p>Australian singer Delta Goodrem arrives at the 30 Days of Fashion organised by ACP Magazines in Sydney August 30, 2007. REUTERS/Patrick Riviere</p>

After chemotherapy and radiation, her 2004 sophomore CD “Mistaken Identity” was released in established territories and, not surprisingly, displayed a starker lyrical side.

Goodrem says, “I was young, but never naive, and found strength as a woman. I know it was intense, even tiring.”

Fans stood alongside her (even as she retired from “Neighbours”), and she had another No. 1 album. Then, “Delta” in 2007 became her third consecutive chart-topping disc.

“The title reflects that I‘m my own person now, I’ve learned a lot,” she says. “You can only control so much in life.”

Now, she returns to the States, where she’s signed to Mercury’s resurrected imprint Decca. It’s a slightly reconfigured “Delta” arriving Stateside. The first single, the uptempo, piano-fervent “In This Life” --co-written by Goodrem and her fiance, Bryan McFadden (formerly of hitmaking Irish boy band Westlife) -- is bulleted at No. 35 on adult contemporary top 40.

“It’s even more rewarding that I get to come back and start properly,” Goodrem says of her U.S. relaunch. “I‘m hungry for this and committed to being a new artist. I feel like I was always meant to do this, like there’s a chip in my body that says, ‘OK, what’s next?”’

Reuters/Billboard

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