Delta Goodrem sings from the heart and it is a quality she looks for as a coach on The Voice Australia.
The ninth season of the popular television show returns to our screens on Sunday, May 24, on Nine and 9Now with a new host and a new game plan.
The outcome, though, remains unchanged. One talented artist will win $100,000 in prize money and a recording contract with EMI Music.
This year's hosts are Darren McMullen and Renee Bargh. McMullen returns to the show after hosting the first four seasons of The Voice Australia, as well as The Voice Kids. Bargh is a newcomer to The Voice family. The Australian has spent the past decade rubbing shoulders with the biggest stars in the world on the Emmy Award-winning US entertainment show, EXTRA.
Music is a language that is universally understood, and I want to feel connected to the artists through their performances.
Goodrem is The Voice's longest-serving coach. She has been there since day one and loves mentoring raw talent. She was the winning coach in the 2016 and 2017 seasons of The Voice.
This year, her rival coaches are Guy Sebastian, Kelly Rowland and Boy George.
"Each year it feels like coming back home to family and I am so grateful for the Nine Network and The Voice journey in my life," Goodrem said.
"There's a very special energy on set every season - new additions, fresh talent and the producers always make exciting tweaks to the show as it continues to evolve.
"The whole season has so many different highs, but there is definitely great energy during blind auditions when we get to experience all of the amazing new talent."
For Goodrem, the "blind auditions" are the highlight of each series. The four coaches cannot see each artist as they sing for their spot in one of four teams - but they can hear them. It's all about the voice.
"The blind auditions are the heart of the show," she explained.
"It's about the artist's voice - at that moment nothing else matters other than their singing and in particular how they are able to connect.
"There's a palpable excitement in the air during blind auditions with the anticipation of discovering new talent and artists sing their hearts out in search of their dreams. It's such an inspiring kick-off to the show every season."
A good voice is desirable but Goodrem likes to delve a little deeper.
"Each year when filling Team Delta, I look for singers that have heart and soul in their performances," she explained.
"Music is a language that is universally understood, and I want to feel connected to the artists through their performances.
"I also look for artists that have natural talent, but with room to grow. My favorite part of The Voice is getting to mentor talent. As I am listening to their blind auditions, I am already thinking about how I can help develop their talent so that they can achieve their dreams - and so that we can take the crown again, of course."
Three new rules have been introduced by producers this year. In addition to The Playoffs and Showdowns, details of which have yet to be revealed, there is The Block.
"Throughout the course of the blind auditions each coach has two 'blocks' they can use to block or stop another coach from being able to turn their chair for an artist," Goodrem explained.
"It can be really fun and really frustrating when you're on the receiving end, but it definitely makes for great television."
Goodrem hit the ground running in January. Her song Let It Rain - inspired by Australia's ongoing drought and bushfire crisis - topped the iTunes charts and she donated all earnings to bushfire relief. She also performed in front of 70,000 people at the hugely popular Fire Fight Australia the following month.
Let It Rain was included on the album release of songs from the concert, Artists Unite for Fire Fight, which also went on to top the charts. Then life as we knew it abruptly changed, courtesy of the COVID-19 pandemic.
For Goodrem, being confined to her home resulted in heightened creativity. In addition to performing in multiple live-streamed events with her musician boyfriend, Matthew Copley, she also released a single, Keep Climbing. An album is in the works.
"Lockdown has been a chance for me to reflect, but I've also stayed really focused and creative," she said.
"Performing in isolation is a new thing for me, but there is also incredible unity in coming together virtually and having one-on-one interaction online.
"In addition to my weekly Bunkerdown Sessions, I was honored to be a part of the Lady Gaga/ Global Citizen One World: Together at Home concert and also the Music From The Home Front celebration. It was an incredible way to give back and recognise all of the healthcare and frontline workers here in Australia and around the world making sacrifices for all of us."
Goodrem was the only Australian artist to perform as part of the online One World: Together At Home festival in support of the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for the World Health Organisation. The event was watched by more than 270 million viewers worldwide, many of whom were introduced to Goodrem's talent and, in the comments, expressed surprise that she wasn't a household name worldwide.
Goodrem took it all in her stride.
"I have been very inspired by our new reality and this moment of pause," she said.
"During my Bunkerdown Session last week, I wanted to give the wonderful people who have tuned in a special treat by letting them hear - first - Keep Climbing, the first song off my upcoming album.
"The song is about resilience and never giving up. I'd like this song to remind people to not be afraid to find the strength when they feel stuck between where they are and where they want to go. To find that part in you to keep climbing and to continue to believe that it will lead you to that next moment in your life."