The Australian singer-songwriter is "sharing stories and moments that I never thought I would share" as she gears up for the release of her sixth album

Delta Goodrem
Credit: Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images for G'Day USA

Delta Goodrem is opening up like never before on her latest music.

The Australian singer-songwriter is gearing up for the release of her sixth studio album and is ready for fans to get a more personal look at who she really is.

"One of my favorite things about music is that each person finds their own meaning and connection to the lyrics," Goodrem tells PEOPLE. "This new album that I’m working on is about going back to where it all started and how people got to know me in the beginning, and that was by me speaking my truths in songs."

Goodrem, 35, signed her first recording contract at the age of 15 and has faced ups and downs in those two decades, including a battle with Hodgkin's lymphoma when she was only 18 years old. For Goodrem, this new music was an opportunity to show a more candid, mature side.

"This record has really been about being vulnerable, transparent and finding that part of me that wants to be my authentic self at all times," she says. "This album was about coming into my own as a woman and sharing stories and moments that I never thought I would share."

Goodrem worked on this new album alongside her boyfriend, fellow musician Matthew Copley. The artist wanted to keep production minimal for her latest tracks, focusing instead on emotional lyrics and live instrumentation. "This album is incredibly personal, raw and honest," she says. "Every single song I started at the piano, every instrument is recorded live and there is a cohesive sound captured throughout."

Her first single, "Keep Climbing," is the sort of stripped-back power ballad that first brought Goodrem to chart heights in Australia, and the singer hopes it can serve as motivation for fans, especially amid the challenges of the current pandemic.

“'Keep Climbing' very intentionally starts on a single note, reflecting the stillness of one’s first steps before starting a new journey," she says. "It's about the resilience in never giving up and to ‘keep climbing,' the fear in change and feeling stuck. It’s the moment in between where you are and where you want to go in your life, and that even if your journey hasn’t been perfect, you live in hope that it leads to a 'bridge over troubled dreams.'"

The former soap actress signed her first recording contract at the age of 15 and has gone on to sell more than eight million albums worldwide. Goodrem says she feels as inspired now as she did starting out nearly 20 years ago.

"I have always had a yearning and wonder to connect with things that spoke to me, then create inspired art and share it with the world," she says. "Never stop dreaming and focusing on a vision for what you want to achieve and how to continue to grow in your life. Continue to create opportunities to grow along with discipline and hard work."

New music is just one way Goodrem has remained busy while remaining hunkered down at her home in Australia during the coronavirus pandemic. "The pandemic and lockdown created a moment of pause and reflection, but has also been a time of creativity and focus for me," she says. "I have continued to follow the guidelines provided and am grateful to all the healthcare and frontline workers who have been so tireless in their support for all of us."

The singer has been hosting weekly "Bunkerdown Sessions" livestreams on Facebook and Instagram with Copley, performing a mix of fan requests and new music. "It has been an incredible way to stay connected with people from different countries around the world and something for me to look forward to each week," she says.

Goodrem also just wrapped filming on The Voice Australia, where she has served as a coach for nearly all of the singing competition's nine seasons since 2012. The judging panel also includes Boy George and Kelly Rowland, who both had to work remotely due to current travel restrictions.

"This year has been particularly memorable in how we have been able to find a way to continue to do the show and bring music to people during these challenging times," says Goodrem. "I am so proud of the artists on my team and how they adapted and evolved despite the unusual circumstances."

Goodrem's upcoming album doesn't yet have a release date, but she's already announced plans for a 2021 tour.