Delta Goodrem on her Christmas concert and her massive 2023

2023 was a huge year for Delta Goodrem. She embarked on two tours, starred in a Netflix rom-com, got engaged and will tonight cap off 2023 with something that is shaping up as something of an annual tradition at this point: Her fourth televised Christmas with Delta concert.

But among all this activity, something of a new music drought: Just one new single this year, the 80s-tinged pop rock anthem Back To Your Heart.

“It’s been a big couple of years,” Goodrem tells, confirming that yes, a new album is on the way, the first since 2021’s Bridge Over Troubled Dreams: “I’m excited for new music to come next year.”

First, though, that Christmas concert, always a chance for Goodrem to ham it up and get festive with some A-list guests. This year’s performers include G Flip and Robbie Williams.

“It’s important we keep evolving. There’s music, but there’s also chats, and a few little surprises this year that are true to an Australian Christmas,” Goodrem says, teasing that Santa was “on fire” during the filming of the special (not literally, she assures me).

It rounds out a year that’s seen Goodrem looking forward – releasing her first music under her own record label imprint, ATLED Records, and embarking on her first extensive UK and European tour, performing smaller gigs in countries where she’s a cult artist, rather than the household name she is here in Australia.

And the European tour came with an added surprise: Her partner of seven years, fellow musician and frequent musical collaborator Matthew Copley, proposed while they were in Malta.

“We’d been in the thick of touring, doing shows and festivals, so no,” Goodrem says when I ask if she had any inkling she’d be returning from Europe with an engagement ring on her finger.

“[Matthew’s] family is from Malta, so it was beautiful and special. It was a beautiful party.”

Despite Copley’s near-constant presence in Goodrem’s musical outings, she’s somehow managed to keep their relationship quite private and low key, after a string of very public romances earlier in her career.

She said it hadn’t been too hard juggling their public musical relationship with their private romantic relationship.

“When you’re in the right place, it’s just easy. We’re both in the same place in terms of how we feel about that. We are obviously a team when it comes to music and creating – that’s how we met and it continues. But there’s a clear line,” she says of maintaining their privacy.

Among all those new beginnings this year, she also took time to look back: Goodrem toured Australia to mark the 20th anniversary of her debut album, Innocent Eyes. Having sold over a million copies in this country, the album is still far and away her most popular release (and the second-highest-selling album by a local artist in Australia, beaten only by John Farnham’s monster Whispering Jack).

Goodrem described the shows, which saw her perform the classic album front to back, as “profound” – particularly as her shock diagnosis with Hodgkin lymphoma three months after the album’s original release meant she never got to have an Innocent Eyes tour first time around.

“You think you know how it’s going to feel, but you can’t begin to understand how profound it feels when you step back into an album and play it from start to finish with the audiences that went on that journey,” she says.

“Going back to Innocent Eyes … there were so many happy tears throughout the tour. I didn’t get to tour it when it first came out. It was crazy to look back and think: These were just songs I’d written by myself. It wasn’t overthought; you’d just write a song and put it on the album.”

Next year there’s new music and another anniversary to contend with, this time for her deeper, darker sophomore album Mistaken Identity. With our chat almost over, I make a pitch for the one career milestone it seems crazy she hasn’t ticked off yet: a Delta Goodrem Greatest Hits.

Consider it: Goodrem has clocked up nine (!) number one singles and a further eight top 10 hits. She’s sitting on an Australian answer to ABBA Gold or The Immaculate Collection.

“You know what? One of my team is constantly telling me I need to put out a greatest hits, so maybe you’re right. I apologise, and I’ll work it out!” she says with a laugh.

“I do get in trouble for not putting some of my hits like Heart Hypnotic or Think About You [on her albums].

“Look, I’ll do it when you least expect it, everybody. Maybe we’ll get through the next album and I’ll put it out.”

Christmas with Delta air 7pm tonight – Sunday, December 17 – on Channel 9 and 9Now.

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