July 16, 2008 / 5:11 AM / 11 years ago

Delta Goodrem looks to Olivia Newton-John for debut advice

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A pop star, soap actress and cancer survivor, Delta Goodrem is already famous in Australia, Britain and Japan, but now her sights are set on America and who better to turn to for advice than Olivia Newton-John.

Singer Delta Goodrem poses for a portrait at Reuters in New York July 14, 2008. REUTERS/Jamie Fine

While other stars before her have failed to match their international success with fame in the United States, Goodrem, 23, who released her U.S. debut album “Delta” on Tuesday, hopes to follow in the footsteps of her role model, fellow Australian Newton-John.

“Olivia’s been an incredible guiding light with me,” Goodrem told Reuters in an interview this week. “She’s always given me really great advice ... She’s beautiful and we have a beautiful friendship.”

But as for the advice she received from Newton-John, best known for her role in the 1970s hit movie “Grease” and several U.S. No. 1 albums and singles, Goodrem was tight-lipped. “If I told you that I’d have to kill you,” she said, laughing.

While there are few U.S. reviews for the album, Goodrem has found a friend in famously harsh celebrity blogger Perez Hilton, who said her first single “In This Life” was “deelish.”

And Billboard’s Chuck Taylor wrote: “With successes from Leona Lewis, Katy Perry and Natasha Bedingfield proving that the public hungers for quality female pop, timing is a bull’s-eye for Goodrem’s deliciously tasteful U.S. bid.”

For Goodrem, who performed a duet “Right Here With You” with Newton-John at Los Angeles Gay Pride celebrations in June, her U.S. debut has been a long time coming.

A battle with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, diagnosed when she was 18, derailed her career while her debut album “Innocent Eyes” was at No. 1 in Australia and No. 2 in Britain and she was acting in Australian soap “Neighbours,” also a hit in Britain.

“A lot happened very quickly — my debut album became something very magical in the sense that so many people took it home, one in four homes (in Australia) had that album,” she said. “This wonderful moment was happening and then I got diagnosed with cancer and it was this extreme situation.”

After successful treatment, which saw her lose her long blond hair, Goodrem, who has won eight Australian Recording Industry Association Awards — the Australian equivalent of the Grammys — returned with 2004’s “Mistaken Identity.”

“Delta,” her third studio album and U.S. debut, was released in Australia last year, hitting No. 1. She describes the album as having a “theme of letting go, of moving forward, of believing again in this life.”

The singer-songwriter, who wrote a song for Celine Dion’s 2007 album “Taking Chances,” said the album allowed her to move on from of her cancer battle and the divorce of her parents, and begin to believe again through her relationship with Irish singer Brian McFadden, a former member of boy band “Westlife.”

McFadden, to whom Goodrem is now engaged, co-wrote half the songs on “Delta.”

Although much of her music is piano-based, she describes it as pop. “At the same time it’s sentimental, it still has meaning, it still has weight to it,” she said. “It comes from a deeper place than what the literal lyric sometimes says.”

Editing by Eric Walsh

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