Delta Goodrem reflects on ‘challenging time’ after losing ability to speak

Delta Goodrem has said losing the ability to speak and sing was “definitely a challenging time”, but she never doubted she would be able to return to the stage.

The Australian singer, known for her soprano voice, faced complications while having her salivary gland removed in 2018, which led to the paralysis of a nerve in her tongue.

Goodrem, 36, had to relearn how to speak and sing, and a song she wrote about the experience, Paralyzed, appears on her latest album.

After shooting to fame as a 15-year-old and starring in long-running soap Neighbours, she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma and treated in hospital aged 18.

Referencing that time as she recalled losing her voice, Goodrem told the PA news agency: “Anybody who is in the middle of going through a challenge, whether you’re in a cancer fight, whether you’ve gone through something traumatic, there’s many different phases and different moments you’re going to feel.

“It’s a process, it’s a step by step process. It’s the first realisation. Then it’s the journey of, ‘Okay, this is happening’.

“For me, I believed I was going to get through it and believed I would.

“But of course, you have those moments of uncertainty, which is again what so many people are going through in the last year, that uncertainty and that unpredictability – a part of you that is defined in the uncertainties.”

Goodrem’s seventh album, Bridge Over Troubled Dreams, tackles personal topics including her cancer diagnosis, the support she received from Sir Elton John and the challenges of being a child star.

It is accompanied by a book, published by Simon & Schuster, that features the stories behind the songs, plus lyrics and pictures.

Goodrem said she had to “surrender” to the fact she had lost her diction and was therefore unable to sing.

She told PA: “If you ask any of my friends and people who know me, I find it very hard to share those stories sometimes because I’m very, very conscious that so many people are going through so much at all times.

Delta Goodrem shot to fame aged just 15 (Sony Music/PA)
Delta Goodrem shot to fame aged just 15 (Sony Music/PA)

“I understand that everybody has their challenges and that just happened to have been one of mine. But yes, it was definitely a challenging time.

“The only reason why I’m a songwriter, I brush over it sometimes, is just from the pure fact that people live with communication challenges. It’s a constant.

“It was definitely a very important moment in life as a singer.

“You realise it’s going to take a lot longer or if at all, to be able to get your diction back and to be able to speak and sing the way you did before.

“I think there was a surrender in the understanding of that I was in that moment, and I had to quietly just try my very best to work hard at my rehab and continue to work hard with my speech therapist, and continue to work on that journey.

“That was a part of the start of this record. It was a reset.”

Bridge Over Troubled Dreams by Delta Goodrem is out now.