Saturday evening’s in my household was family time. Mum was busy in the kitchen serving up dinner for our family of six; dad was on the lounge patiently waiting for dinner to be served while being in control of the TV remote. Mum would yell out “Dinner’s Ready” and we would eagerly scramble into our designated position on the dining table with full view of what dad would call the ‘idiot box’.
It was our favourite show which was about to start, the only show we would watch as a family. It was Young Talent Time! We watched in awe as all the cast members sang their songs and danced their way into our hearts.
For Dad and I we had our favourite, the one who stood out from the rest, the longest serving cast member her name is Tina Arena.
Since the tender age of 8 years old Tina Arena who was then known as Tiny Tina sang before Australian Audience’s week after week from 1977-1983.
Arena left YTT in October 1983 ahead of her 16th birthday – due to the program’s stipulation to give way for younger members. She performed “The Way We Were” and “McArthur Park” for her finale.
Arena released her first solo studio Strong as Steel in 1990 which included “I need your body” and “The Machine’s Breaking Down”.
Arena’s follow up solo album ‘Don’t Ask’ released in 1994 included hits Chains and Sorrento Moon. Arena had an amazing year scooping up Best Album, Best Female Artist Best Pop Release and Song of the Year (Chains) at the 1995 Aria Awards.
Following the success of Don’t Ask Arena released In Deep in 1997 featuring the hit single ‘Burn’ and also ‘If I Didn’t Love You’. The album debuted at Number 1 on the Australian ARIA Albums Chart on 25 August 1997 making it Arena’s second Number 1 album.
Arena released a further a 5 Studio albums the last being Eleven in 2015 peaking at #2 on the Aria charts. Eleven was named in recognition of Tina’s eleventh album.
In 2015 Tina Arena was deservingly inducted into the Australian Aria Hall Of Fame, 20 Years after becoming the first female to win Album of the Year for ‘Don’t Ask’.
Arena told the crowd the length of “A musician’s career should be decided by the artist themselves, not a radio station”.
“Who decides in radio that a woman at a certain point in her life no longer becomes viable?” she said.
“Women and men of all ages have something interesting to say but what I have struggled with is the complete ostracisation of a woman at a certain age.
“I want to still acknowledge that ladies over 40 are still in the game — my darling friend behind me Miss Kylie Minogue, the wonderful Madonna, J-Lo, Annie Lennox, my Lord the list does go on.
“Keep doing what you are doing, and keep doing what you do best ladies because we will decide when it’s time for us to stop.”
On ‘Australia Day’ – 26 January 2016 – Arena was recognised in the Australia Day honors, which the country’s sovereign awards its citizens for actions or deeds that benefit the nation. Arena has been appointed as a ‘Member in the General Division of the Order Of Australia’ – Order of Australia – in recognition of her contribution to the arts, representing Australia on the world stage and philanthropic work.
On 27 April 2016, the Governor General of Australia, Sir Peter Cosgrove, awarded Tina Arena with her Order of Australia (AM) Medal at a private ceremony in Paris.
In the late-1990s, Arena relocated from Australia to reside in Paris, France. In 2000, Arena met the French artist Vincent Mancini with whom she has a son, Gabriel Joseph Mancini, born in 2005.
In 2012, Arena and her family relocated from Paris, France to reside in Melbourne, Australia. She moved back, full-time, at the end of October 2012, after almost two decades living in France and London, with her partner, Vincent Mancini and their son. In an interview Arena did previously she says, “It was time. I’ve been away 20-odd years, worked internationally and done some great things, [but] I just felt it was time to come home”. What Arena wants more than anything right now, is time with her family, including her parents, Giuseppe and Franca, and sisters Nancy and Silvana. “I want to be with my family and have my son experience what it’s like growing up in Australia”, she says, “it’s really important for me”.
Tina is about to embark on a national tour with her Innocence to Understanding Tour touring nationally beginning in September.
Live and Loud was fortunate to have the amazing Tina Arena answer a few of our questions
Tina starting from such an early age in the Music/Entertainment industry, what is the most important you have learnt?
The most important lesson for me is stay true to yourself and make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons – because you love the craft, not chasing the fame. The other things that are key include pushing yourself to be better, surround yourself with the right people and have good legal & financial advice.
Starting in YTT and looking at reality TV shows such as X FACTOR , Australian Idol and Australia’s Got Talent, do you think it sets false expectation of what the Music industry represents?
I guess that’s a generalisation. Different people have different perspectives and different expectations. The shows that you mention give singers a very good platform but it happens very quickly and so many singers are profiled and the reality is not many will succeed. Did those shows change the music landscape – 100%, some good things can be taken from that but it also comes with a downside. I think those shows’ cycles are certainly slowing down.
What is the biggest change you have seen within the industry?
So many, the changing music formats (from vinyl to cassette to CD to MP3 to streaming), record label mergers, the rise in piracy, and fragmentation of media.
Positives too: music is very accessible at present.
With a career spanning over 40 years what has been the highest point in your career and retrospectively your lowest point?
Again so many, it’s hard to condense the highlights into a sentence or two. Broadly speaking singing and connecting in other languages has been a high point, Opening the Olympic Games for my country, winning ARIA for album of the year, my theatre work, my AM in Australia and Order Du Merit in France and touring with symphonies are all still incredible memories for me.
Where do you draw your inspiration from when creating music?
All different places, the people I’m with, places I’m in.
Who has been your biggest influence?
No single person. I love Barbara Streisand and Bette Midler, I love George Michael and Prince and Fleetwood Mac, Coldplay and Adele are wonderful. My family and friends inspire me also. I like all genres of music really, I’ve worked with everyone from Bocelli to Tiesto so my tastes are very broad.
Recently you collaborated with Client Liaison with Sorrento Moon to the amazement of the crowd how did you feel after the performance?
Fantastic – I was unsure what the response would be, if I’m being honest. It was a new crowd for me, but as cliche as it sounds, I truly believe music connects people. All those people at Splendour were there for the music – they’re at a festival so they’re up for music that they may not be used to and I felt that openness from them. I loved it and I think Client Liaison are such a fantastic band: sonically, visually and with such an energy and sense of humour. It was a real buzz.
Being a keynote speaker for Big Sound 2017 shows just how well respected you are within the industry, people look up to you, admire you and adore you what is the best advice you can give an upcoming artist?
Similarly to question 1!: Stay true to yourself and make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons – because you love the craft, not chasing the fame. The other things that are key include surround yourself with the right people and have good legal & financial advice.
Embarking on your Innocence to Understanding Tour what can fans expect?
A sense of celebration. This will be my last live shows for a while so we are going to have some fun. I’m playing music from my entire career, a few surprises – the new band are amazing, I’m really excited about the lighting and design and fashion – It’s going to be a special show.
Where will we see Tina Arena in the next five years?
Hopefully in a few places you won’t expect to!
I have a new French language album coming out in a few months which I’m really pleased with, my fragrance is coming this Spring which has been a real passion project (developed with Bertrand Duchaufour who has worked with Dior and Givenchy, taking ingredients from my 3 cultures: Italy, France and Australia) and some acting projects. I have a major project lined up for 2018 which I can’t tell you about yet, but it will be announced very soon.
Tina’s Innocence to Understanding Tour Dates
Do not miss one of Australia’s finest performers in full voice, sure to be a truly amazing evening with this amazing artist!
Wednesday, 6th September
The Tivoli, Brisbane
Friday, 8th September — NEW SHOW
The Tivoli, Brisbane
Saturday, 9th September
The Star, Gold Coast
Sunday, 10th September
Empire Theatre, Toowoomba
Tuesday, 12th September
Civic Theatre, Newcastle
Wednesday, 13th September
Ulumbarra Theatre, Bendigo
Friday, 15th September
Saturday, 16th September — NEW SHOW (On sale 10am Friday, 19th May)
Sunday, 17th September
Costa Hall, Deakin University Waterfront, Geelong
Friday, 22nd September
WIN Entertainment Centre Theatre, Wollongong
Saturday, 23rd September
ICC Sydney Theatre, Sydney
Sunday, 24th September
Canberra Theatre, Canberra
Tuesday, 26th September
Princess Theatre, Launceston
Wednesday, 27th September
Theatre Royal, Hobart
Thursday, 5th October
Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide
Friday, 6th October
Crown Theatre, Perth