Part of the Conversations Series, with Shirley Higgins-Croft
Dame Delta Goodrem is an Australian icon. Singer, pianist, button-presser and scud-tamer. There is no limit to the breadth of her talent
Dame Delta sat down for a chat with Shirley Higgins-Croft at Villa Romana in Cairns.
SHC: Dame Delta, it is such a great honor to have the chance to chat with you. I have followed your career from Scud to Seal and it has been a knuckle-whitening roller-coaster of a ride.
DDG: Hi Shirley. Thanks. Wow, how great is it to be in Cairns, enjoying a skinny decaf and some fettuccine linguini.
SHC: Absolutely! So, shall we talk first about your childhood? Was it happy or horrific?
DDG: I’d describe it as a little of both. Mum and Dad were great supporters and my biggest fans. Trent was a bit of a shit sometimes.
SHC: When did you realise you were a supremely talented superstar-in-waiting?
DDG: I suppose it was when I worked with the Quik people on a few jingles and I became the face of the company. But then they changed the name to NesQuik and I thought my songwriting career was over and I’d be cast aside like a piece of old rubbish. I’d seen what Kraft did to Bec Cartwright when they changed Peanut Paste to Peanut Butter. Tragic. I certainly didn’t want to have to marry a tennis player to get my fame back.
SHC: You did court a tennis player though?
DDG: Ha ha, good one Shirley. Yes, Mark and I had a short but breathless time together.
SHC: Tell us about it.
DDG: OK. Act One: He was the loner, the Greek god with a big serve of charm and a long drink of ouzo. I was the shy girl, cancer-survivor, brimful of talent and ready to try anything. Act Two: He was the loser, the Newton centaur with a little dick and a hairy back. I was the confident woman who owed the world nothing and was ready to be the superstar I already was. Act Three: I told him to fuck off.
SHC: How sad it is when love goes away. Do you still think of him?
DDG: Sometimes, when my eyes are wide shut and I’m in the earth’s atmosphere I find myself one for butterflies. Then I think of him fondly. Other times, not so much.
SHC: Mmm. So beautiful. Let’s move forward now. You’ve moved past Brian and Nick…
DDG (interrupting): Wonderful artists and very kind souls.
SHC: …Indeed. So, it is 2012 and you’ve been asked to join a show called The Voice. Tell us about that.
DDG: Well, I’ve always wanted to pass-on what I learned in life, love and this crazy world of high-stakes music-making. The Voice was the chance to mentor some hopelessly untalented wannabes and spin around and make someone’s life so much better by giving them the opportunity to meet me. It’s my life’s work.
SHC: I’ve heard a rumour that you haven’t always got along with your co-stars. Is that right?
DDG: Well, after I white-anted Kylie off the revolving chair, I was given final approval on casting. So everything is sweet now. But it was really tough at the start.
SHC: Do tell.
DDG: -Well Joel is far too tatted for my liking and he only knows three chords. Keith is a great guitarist, but … how do I put this? Tatts. And I could do without the constant stream of star-fuckers he’d bring through the studio during the sound-checks. It was always the same patter. “Do you want to sit in the chair, sweetie… Do you want me to spin you around, babe…Do you want to see my dressing room sugar-boo? Bring your friend. There’s a big carpet python in there. He’s very friendly.” God, it was so bad.
SHC: Wow, sounds like Keith’s a bit difficult to work with.
DDG: You could say that. And I haven’t even started on Nicole. She is easily the most boring person I have ever met. She’d drift around the set like Yoko and bang on about Judean coins and Lenny Kravitz. And Virginia fucking Woolf. Also, I know she won’t mind me saying this, but she has terrible body odour. Whoo-wee.
SHC: Pong! What about Seal?
DDG: Well he wears Chanel Number 5, so he smells OK. Honestly, I think Nicole traffics in it. But there’s absolutely no danger of her accidentally splashing some on herself. But I digress. To be truthful, Seal is a complete fuck-wit and he can’t hold his drink. Chinese bladder. Oh, and sooooo sanctimonious. Oh, and no oil-painting.
SHC: What about you?
DDG: Anh Do has made offers.
SHC: Of course he has. Before we finish, let’s go back to the NesQuick emergency. What happened there?
DDG: Well, Mum and Glenn Wheatley were in a tizz. But then Glenn had the idea to call Eric Murray in to help out.
SHC: The Songdoctor? I actually interviewed him recently. Did he help?
DDG: Absolutely. He’s a genius. He turned all the crotchets into quavers and Quik became NesQuik lickety split. Or so the song goes. I ended up with a lifetime supply of the pink stuff. And then the career took off.
SHC: Memories. That jingle is so catchy. May I say that you have a lovely figure for someone with unlimited access to such a tempting treat.
DDG: Thank you, but I don’t use it. At least not orally. I actually keep a jar by the bedside and give myself a quick dusting downstairs to encourage Matthew to go the growl. He loves it.
SHC: There’s a handy tip for the ladies! Thank you Delta.
DDG: If you like that, you’ll love what I do with Milo.
SHC: Ooh, we might not go there Dame Delta because I notice that the diet tiramisu is all but gone and the sun is behind the mountains. Thank you so much for spending this time with me. It’s been a rivetting chat and I’ve enjoyed it immensely.
DDG: Me too. It’s been a pleasure. Hope to see you again soon.