Delta Goodrem can't help but laugh when talking about the lyrics to her new single, Paralyzed.
It is an intensely personal song she wrote about a turning point in her life however it sounds as if it was written about the COVID-19 lockdown. She recites the poignant lyrics from memory.
Doctor paused this life. He told me, 'You won't fly. Cancel everything. You need some time to heal and it may take a year'. Reset the clocks again. Is this the way life goes? .... All of my plans have been silenced overnight. All that I know is paralyzed. Is paralyzed. Is this the way that life goes? It's just the way that life goes. With a little time, with a little hope. With a little light you'll never know. For a little space, for a lot of love. Close your eyes and think of a better time, big dreams. Open your mind for you to find a little strength inside. Stop and rewind. With a little strength inside. Stop and rewind.
"Before I played it to the Sony team I told them it was one of the songs I had written about a particular experience of mine - and then we listened to it and we all went 'Oh my gosh, hang on a minute'," she says, laughing.
"It sounds like I'd written the lyrics about this moment in time for everybody but I actually hadn't. This song is a narrative of when your whole world stops and has to be reset. Of course it's a personal song, but this is a song for anyone who can relate to pressing pause, finding patience and a chance to stop and rewind.
"But I am thankful it is out and in some way it can be a song about connection for people in this moment of time. It's about truth, and speaking how we feel."
Goodrem sounds happy and relaxed, sipping a cup of tea and enjoying a Mint Slice biscuit (her favourite) as we chat. Her role as a coach on The Voice Australia has finished for the year and it's time for her to be an artist again. She has just released singles Keep Climbing and Paralyzed from her forthcoming album and announced her Bridge Over Troubled DreamsTour of Australia and New Zealand in 2021.
"I went into this year knowing that it was time to release new music," she says.
"I wanted to be back at the piano and I wanted to do it myself. I wanted to take the time to be myself again and this is where I'm at right now."
With her hair cut into a blunt bob and a wardrobe full of power suits Goodrem in 2020 exudes confidence and maturity.
"I'm enjoying the suits and I'm enjoying short hair and it feels right for who I am and what I feel at this moment," she explains.
"The hair was definitely a step-by-step process, I assure you, it wasn't a straight-out cut. Each time I cut it I would have a slight moment of panic but I realised I needed to shed a lot of layers again."
Goodrem has come a long way from the awkward teenager singing with her hands in her pockets in the 2002 video clip for Born To Try. She laughs at the memory.
"You want to know why I was like that? Because they put me in these huge shoes and it was freezing cold in Helsinki and I was like 'Where am I?'. I mean, I was in Finland for my first video," she says.
"I was definitely new. I was a songwriter and singer and suddenly I was on camera. I was quite shy when I first started with music. I was outrageously eccentric when I was not on camera but I was in an adult world as a teenager.
"Over time you will find different chapters of music and go 'OK, this is me and this is where I'm at'. I love each experience."
Goodrem has demonstrated considerable courage by announcing a 2021 national tour at a time when many other artists are playing it by ear. She is hopeful others will follow her lead.
"Thank you. I appreciate that immensely because I do feel that I just had to believe it could happen. A year without live music is heartbreaking," she says.
"For me it's all about having something to look forward to. When I decided to start doing the live streams for my Bunkerdown Sessions I really understood that when you're going through a challenging time you have to have something to look forward to.
"I was proud to go out the gate early after working with the venues to see if it was possible. We're all going to be together, singing together in person, healing together through song."
When Goodrem opened her 2016 Wings of the Wild tour in Newcastle there was a shock marriage proposal and two of her fans got engaged.
"I pride myself on the fact that anything can happen at my shows - they're spontaneous and in the moment. I can't wait to get out there and do it all again," she says.
We all know 2020 has thrown some curveballs, and Goodrem is no exception. She was devastated by the bushfires that tore through NSW during the summer months and did her bit to help, releasing a song for charity and performing at Fire Fight Australia.
Then when COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, she performed at global event One World: Together At Home and Music From The Home Front, where she shone as one of four hosts and performed Men At Work classic Down Under with Colin Hay.
"I'm very, very empathetic and and I feel people and I think that without a doubt my heart was broken at the beginning of the year with the bushfires," she says.
"We needed to take a moment to feel the pain felt by our fellow humans. It's the same with when the pandemic happened, it was a complete shock to our bodies and systems.
"I turn to music in these times and it's the only way I know how to send love out to the world. Through song. We need music all the time, but especially in challenging times.
"It's a total reset. It's going to a completely different world for quite a long time and we're all just trying to find our new footing."