Tina Arena

Tina Arena

Birth name: Filippina Lydia Arena
Born: November 1, 1967
Age: 51
Birthplace: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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Biography

Filippina Lydia Arena AM (born 1 November 1967), commonly known as Tina Arena, is an Australian singer-songwriter, musician, musical theatre actress, and record producer. She is one of Australia's highest selling female artists and has sold over 10 million records worldwide.[1][2][3] Arena is an artist with the vocal range of a soprano and is multilingual: she sings live and records in English, Italian, French and Spanish. In April 2013, she was voted Australia's all-time greatest female singer, and third-greatest singer overall, in an industry poll conducted by music journalist, Cameron Adams, for the Herald Sun.[4] Time Out magazine gave a succinct description of Arena's voice as, "Tina Arena truly boasts two incredible assets - her voice and her versatility ..."[5] The Australian Broadcasting Corporation's monthly classical music and arts magazine, Limelight, commented that, "Tina Arena is a performer with a supreme voice, boundless range and energy, and charm to spare."[6][7]

Arena has earned several international and national awards, including seven ARIA Awards, and two World Music Awards for 'Best-selling Australian Artist', which she received in 1996 and in 2000. In 2001, Arena was awarded a BMI Foundation Songwriting Award (Broadcast Music Inc.) by the American performance rights organisation for co-writing "Burn" with Pam Reswick and Steve Werfel.[8] In 2011, Arena became the first Australian to be awarded a Knighthood of the French National Order of National Merit, presented by the President of the French Republic, Nicolas Sarkozy, for her contributions to French culture, and ceremonially awarded by Frédéric Mitterrand, the Minister of Culture and Communication of France.[9] In 2012, Arena appeared as a judge and mentor on the revival of the Australian television variety programme Young Talent Time: the original Young Talent Time series had made her a household name in the 1970s and 1980s, as "Tiny Tina", which screened on Network Ten from 1971 to 1988. In October 2013, Arena released her first English album of original material in eleven years, titled Reset. In the same month, Arena published her first autobiography, titled Now I Can Dance, which has been reprinted four times. Also in 2013, Arena participated in the 13th Australian series of Dancing with the Stars, reaching third place behind Cosentino and Rhiannon Fish.[10]

In 2015, Arena was inducted into the Australian Recording Industry Association ARIA Hall of Fame at the 2015 ARIA Awards ceremony.[11] On Australia Day, 26 January, 2016, Arena was recognised in the Australia Day Honours and appointed a Member in the General Division of the Order of Australia "for significant service to the music industry as a singer, songwriter, and recording artist, and as a supporter of charitable groups.[12][13][14] On 27 April, 2016, the Governor-General of Australia, Sir Peter Cosgrove, presented Tina Arena with her insignia as a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) at a private ceremony in Paris.[14]

To celebrate her 40 years in the music industry, Arena released a 31-track double compilation album called Greatest Hits & Interpretations on April 7, 2017, containing all her hits and covers of her songs by various international artists. This album debuted at No. 2 at the Australian charts and is now her 8th Top 10 album in Australia.[15] In April 2017, Arena announced her Innocence to Understanding Tour in conjunction with the release of her Greatest Hits & Interpretations, starting in concerts Brisbane on Wednesday, September 6, 2017, and concluded in early October.[16] The title of the tour is a telling nod to her career journey, one of only a few artists who has been able to live four decades in music.[17]

On August 21, 2017, Opera Australia announced that Arena would be taking on the lead role of Eva Perón in the 2018 Australian touring production of Evita, with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics and book by Tim Rice, directed by Harold Prince, who has won an unprecedented 21 Tony Awards for directing on Broadway. Arena is cast opposite Paulo Szot, Brazilian operatic baritone, winner of a Tony Award for best actor on Broadway 2008, in the role of Juan Perón. The Evita Australian tour official opening night took place on September 13th, 2018, at the Sydney Opera House in the Joan Sutherland Theatre, with the season running to November 3rd, 2018. The next venue on the Evita national tour leg will be at the Arts Centre Melbourne, from December 5th to December 30th, 2018.[18][19]

Arena was born in the Melbourne suburb of Keilor East, to Giuseppe "Joe" Arena and Francesca "Franca" Catalfamo (both from Valguarnera, Sicily), Sicilian immigrants, in Melbourne on 1 November 1967.[20][21][22] Giuseppe was a rural worker in Sicily and then a cane cutter in Cairns in 1955. By the following year he was a labourer in Melbourne and later worked for Victorian Railways.[20][21] Arena grew up in Keilor East, Victoria with two sisters, Nancy and Silvana;[22] As a child, she listened to Spanish, Italian and French songs that were in her family's record collection. At the age of eight, she was the flower girl at her cousin Gaetano's wedding, and at the reception she urged her father to approach the host so that she could sing - Daryl Braithwaite's version of "You're My World" - it was her first public performance.[23]

Arena's family call her Pina, which is her shortened first name. She changed her first name from Filippina, to Tina, as her stage name becoming Tina Arena, when she apppeared as a child performer on the national television talent show Young Talent Time in 1974, at age eight.[24][25][23] For secondary schooling, she attended a Catholic girls college, St. Columba's College, Essendon, in Melbourne.[26] Recalling her upbringing, Arena says, "It was a very Italian household, it was a very traditional household. There was a lot of love but there was a lot of discipline. And there was no room for pretentiousness. Really, there just wasn't."[23]

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Young Talent Time years

Arena received singing lessons from Voila Ritchie who recommended her to appear on a television talent quest and variety show, Young Talent Time, an Australian weekly television variety programme, produced by Lewis-Young Productions, screened on Network Ten.[23] Young Talent Time was then one of Australia's best known variety light-entertainment television shows, that aired live, with a nationwide family audience who sat down every week to enjoy the wholesome performances of the Young Talent Team. In this era of Australian television broadcasting, there were three main metropolitan networks: the Seven Network, Nine Network, and Network Ten, and the state owned Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). Also, colour television was newly introduced across the country in 1975.[27][28] Johnny Young hosted Young Talent Time, which remained a popular long-running, award-winning series, that ran from 1971 until 1988. The series featured a core group of young performers, in the vein of The Mickey Mouse Club, and a weekly junior talent quest. The Young Talent Team performed popular classic songs along with the top hit songs of the day. The original programme launched the career of Arena, as well as a number of Australian performers including Dannii Minogue, Danielle de Niese and Debra Byrne. The series spawned numerous hit singles, fifteen Young Talent Time albums, a film, as well as a variety of merchandise including toys, swap cards, posters, and board games. The series earned numerous and successive Logie Awards, for Best Australian Musical Variety Show, and an Award for Sustained Excellence (presented in 1982).[29][30][31]

When Arena was selected to appear on Young Talent Time, the producers at Lewis-Young Productions and Network Ten asked her to change her first name from Filippina to Tina - creating her stage name as Tina Arena - so as to be more "relatable" to the wider national audience.[32] In the mid-1970s, there was a minority of ethnic diversity represented in the Australian mainstream media, especially on primetime television.[33][34] Initially appearing as a Young Talent Time contestant in 1974, at age eight, Arena went on to permanently join the cast as a regular member of the show's Young Talent Team in 1975, at age nine. She then quickly, and affectionately, became known on the show by her nickname Tiny Tina.[35][23][36][37] For her first appearance she performed ABBA's "Ring Ring".[37]

As a core member of the Young Talent Team performing live on Australian national television each week, Arena sang cover versions of popular music tracks. In 1977, she released a split album, Tiny Tina and Little John, alternating tracks with fellow Young Talent Team member, John Bowles.[38]

As a member of Young Talent Team, Arena appeared in TV specials, in TV commercials, at shopping centres, and on tourist venues.[39] In September 1982, she became a "coach" for new team members, Danielle Minogue and Mark McCormack; Arena told The Australian Women's Weekly's Debbie Byrne that "They seem to be settling down a lot quicker than I did. They both have a really professional attitude."[40] At 14, she told Byrne "my aim: to be a recording artist and actress but, now, I have to concentrate simply on what I'm doing and that can take enough effort."[41]

Arena departed the Young Talent Time show in October 1983, ahead of her 16th birthday, due to the Network Ten Young Talent Time series age-limit contract stipulation to give way for younger members. Arena performed the songs "The Way We Were" and "MacArthur Park" for her finale set on her farewell to Young Talent Time episode. Arena starred on Young Talent Time from 1976 to 1983 — making her the show's longest-serving cast member.[42][43]

Arena completed her Higher School Certificate (final year of secondary school) and was hired as an insurance clerk; however, she resigned after three months to pursue a music career.[42]

Speaking at her BIGSOUND keynote address in 2017, Arena described her childhood to teenage experience on Young Talent Time as an inclusive apprenticeship into the television light-entertainment and musical industry in Australia, Arena noted:

It was 40 years ago and there were no ethnic faces on television. It was an extraordinary apprenticeship. Young Talent Time was inclusive and welcoming. The only downside of Young Talent Time was when I was trying to transition to an adult.[44]

Starting a solo recording career

At age 17, Arena signed a record deal with Graffiti Records, which released her debut single, "Turn Up the Beat", in 1985. Australian musicologist, Ian McFarlane, described it as having a dance-pop style.[36] The Sydney Morning Herald's Tim Elliott reflected that it "failed to impress."[22] It had been recorded in the previous year with Brian Cadd producing at Flagstaff Studios in Melbourne.[45] When the single did not appear in the top 50 her planned album was scrapped.[45]

Following her 1985 recording, Arena sang advertisement jingles and she worked on the pub and club circuit to earn a living.[22][46] She performed solo shows and in bands, including as a member of a nine-piece ensemble, Network.[36] She also appeared in musicals.[47] In 1987, she supported American artist, Lionel Richie on his Australian tour,[36] following a number of charity performances.

1988-93: Debut solo album - Strong as Steel

During 1988, Arena appeared as a guest on Australian TV shows recalling her tenure on Young Talent Time and looking for a new record label. In 1990, she had a singing and dancing role in the David Atkins' musical, Dynamite, for a 10-month run.[36] Also that year she signed with EMI and reinvented her image as a raunchy disco diva.[36] In April she issued a single, "I Need Your Body",[48] which peaked at No. 3 on the ARIA Singles Chart.[49] McFarlane described it as "uptempo" with the associated music video "projecting a raunchy disco-diva persona ... flaunting a pouting rock starlet with bouncing cleavage and attitude to burn."[36] Australian journalist, Ed Nimmervoll, noticed that she used "raunchy videos showing off her cleavage as if to prove she was a woman now."[50]

The artist followed with another single, The Machine's Breaking Down, in August 1990, which peaked in the top 30.[49] Her debut solo album, Strong as Steel, was released in October, which peaked at number 17 on the ARIA Albums Chart.[49] Most of the album was produced by Ross Inglis.[36][51] Penelope Layland of The Canberra Times opined that "the frantic single, I Need Your Body, is quite uncharacteristic of much of the music on Tina Arena's album, Strong As Steel. In fact it is one of the weakest tracks on an album which bounces with potential pop hits."[51]

According to music historian Ed Nimmervoll, Arena "was not comfortable. This was not her. This was not what she wanted to be for the rest of her life. Tina went into seclusion while she decided what to do next, moving to Los Angeles to be a nobody again."[50] She had relocated to LA in 1991, where she took more singing lessons and started song writing.[36] Upon return to Australia, in 1993, she performed in the local December 1992 to February 1993 musical theatre production, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, as the Narrator, at the State Theatre, Melbourne.[36][37][50][52] In 1992 Arena sang background vocals on the debut album by Australian singer-songwriter Rick Price, titled Heaven Knows, which was released in July 1992, and she appeared in the 1993 music video by Price for the single "A House Divided".[53]

1994-96: Second solo album - Don't Ask

Tina Arena's second solo studio album, Don't Ask, was released on November 21st, 1994, and was produced by David Tyson for Columbia Records. According to Nimmervoll during recording "Tina nearly broke down. This was an all-important moment in her career."[50] Arena co-wrote all ten tracks of the original Australian version.[54]

Arena stated, "I had gotten used to singing other people's songs, but this time they are my songs and my experience so I can sing them like I mean it. The record is honest and sincere and simple."[55]

Ian McFarlane noticed it demonstrated a "more mature, sophisticated, soul-tinged style and approach ... her powerful, crystal clear voice more than adequately matched the material on offer."[36] Kelvin Hayes of AllMusic felt that "a lot of Don't Ask remains twee. However, there are good moments."[56] It peaked at No. 1 on the ARIA Albums Chart - a year after its release - and remained in the top 50 for 83 weeks.[49] It reached No. 11 on the UK Albums Chart and No. 12 in New Zealand.[57][58]

Don't Ask was the highest-selling album of 1995 in Australia and one of the biggest-selling albums by an Australian female singer to date.[36][50] It has sold over two million copies worldwide and was certified 10 times platinum by ARIA in 2011 for shipment of over 700,000 copies in that country alone.[50][59][60] The success of the record made her a "priority artist" for Sony, who marketed her in the US.[36] Her European success was realised: Don't Ask charted in Germany, Sweden and Switzerland.[61][62][63]

The lead single, "Chains", was issued ahead of the album in September 1994, in Australia, which peaked at No. 4 on the ARIA Singles Chart.[49] It also reached No. 6 in the UK,[57] No. 7 in New Zealand,[58] No. 9 in Ireland and No. 20 in Canada.[36] In 1995, she toured Europe, appearing on Top of the Pops, which broadcast to an audience of 60 million people. In the European market Arena was an unknown and a fresh commodity, she opined: "I loved every minute of that - of people not knowing who I was. I guess it was tiring fighting the individual thing. It was good to not be a part of a past and being accepted as an artist. Not having to carry this Young Talent Time luggage which was constantly shoved in my face."[37] Five additional singles were released, "Sorrento Moon (I Remember)" (February 1995), "Heaven Help My Heart" (May), "Wasn't It Good" (September), "Show Me Heaven" (November) and "That's the Way a Woman Feels" (March 1996).[36][49][50]

At the ARIA Music Awards of 1995 Arena was nominated in six categories and won four trophies: Best Pop Release and Song of the Year for "Chains"; and Album of the Year and Best Female Artist for Don't Ask.[64] At the 1996 ceremony she received five more nominations and won Highest Selling Album for Don't Ask.[64] Other accolades she earned were Variety Club Entertainer of the Year, an Advance Australia Foundation award, and a World Music Award.[55]

1997-2000: In Deep and the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games

Arena relocated to Los Angeles in 1996 and 1997, to record her third solo studio album, In Deep (18 August 1997), which became her second number-one album in Australia.[36][49][50] For the Australian version of the album Arena co-wrote eleven of its twelve tracks - her fellow writers include Mick Jones (of Foreigner), David Tyson, Christopher Ward, Dean McTaggart, Pam Reswick and Steve Werfel.[55] The album included her cover version of Foreigner's "I Want to Know What Love Is", originally written by Jones who produced Arena's version. In Deep "was recorded predominantly live in the studio in an attempt to bring the material closer to Tina's stage performance persona" with four tracks produced by Tyson and the rest by Jones.[50] In Deep was certified 3× platinum in Australia.[65] William Ruhlmann of AllMusic found the US version of the album showed that "Her own songs, co-written with a team of others, are perfectly good contemporary pop/rock, and she sings them with passionate commitment" and it was "brimming with potential hit singles (it spawned three in Australia)."[66]

In Deep, in its different versions, provided ten singles, with the lead one, "Burn", appearing in July 1997,[49] which had some US airplay. The track was co-written by Arena with Reswick and Werfel.[54] In Australian it debuted at No. 2 and was certified gold upon its release.[49][67] It was also a hit in Asia. Besides the English language version she also recorded it in Spanish and Italian (in the form of "Ti Voglio Qui"). The second single, "If I Didn't Love You" (November) appeared in the ARIA top 50.[49] In April of the following year she issued "Now I Can Dance", which peaked at No. 13.[49] In the UK Arena released "Whistle Down the Wind" (June 1998) as a cover version single, it was the title track from the 1996 musical of the same name, her version reached the UK Singles Chart top 30.[57]

In April 1998, Arena performed at the 50th birthday celebration for Andrew Lloyd Webber at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Arena performed at the celebration, along with John Farnham, and featured musical performances by Elaine Paige.[68]

Arena's duet with US artist, Marc Anthony, "I Want to Spend My Lifetime Loving You", from the feature film soundtrack for The Mask of Zorro (July 1998), gained her European chart success.[36] The track was issued as a non-album single in Australia in September, but did not reached the top 50.[49] It was included on the French release version of In Deep, appearing in October, which peaked at No. 3 on the French Albums Chart - a year after its first entry - and spent 88 weeks on that chart.[69] It also reached the top 10 in Belgium and top 40 in Switzerland.[63][70] It was certified 3× platinum by Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique (SNEP) in May 2001 for sales in France.[71] "I Want to Spend My Lifetime Loving You" had been issued in Europe in September 1998, it peaked at No. 3 in France - her first charting single in that market.[69] It also reached No. 3 in the Netherlands and top 10 in Belgium.[70][72]

Arena toured the US from March 1999, to promote the album's local release, as well as another single, "If I Was a River", which did peak in the UK top 40.[36][57] Sony attempted to "break" Arena into the US market by the release of "If I Was a River", penned by Diane Warren. Ruhlmann felt the label had an "obvious plan is to turn her into a down-under Celine Dion" however the album and its singles "had no commercial impact upon release in the U.S." and "must be considered a disappointment."[66] Her US foray included appearances on TV shows such as Donny & Marie. In February 1999, she teamed with label-mate Donna Summer to perform a cover version of "No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)"; the duet appeared on Summer's live album, Live & More Encore (June 1999).

Arena's first French language single, "Aller plus haut" (English: "Go Higher", July 1999), appeared on the continental version of In Deep, which peaked at No. 2 on the local singles chart;[69] it has sold 600,000 copies in that country.[73] It also became her first number-one hit on the Belgian Singles Chart.[70] Her second French language single was a cover version of "Les trois cloches" (English: "The Three Bells", January 2000), which reached No. 4 in France and another number-one hit in Belgium.[69][70] From May that year she lived in London while she appeared in the lead role of Esméralda for the stage musical, Notre Dame de Paris during a six-month run.[36][74] Carr, by now her ex-husband, had claimed in Business Review Weekly (2000) that Arena was paid $200,000 per week when she was performing in Notre Dame de Paris.[75][76]

Arena sang "The Flame" (written by John Foreman) at the 2000 Opening Ceremony of the Sydney Olympics on 15 September.[77] Seven Network covered the national broadcast across Australia, which become the highest rating TV telecast in Australian history.[78] John Farnham, Olivia Newton-John, Vanessa Amorosi, Human Nature and Julie Anthony were some of the other Australian artists who appeared at the opening ceremony and contributed to the various artists' album, The Games of the XXVII Olympiad: Official Music from the Opening Ceremony (September 2000).[78][79] She recalled, "When I sang at the Olympics, I cared about the fact that I was Australian. And I was touched because I was an ethnic girl, of ethnic blood but that WAS Australian. Because I was born here, this is where I grew up, this is where I learned everything."[23]

At the ARIA Music Awards of 2000 in October, Arena received an Outstanding Achievement Award.[64] In the following month she issued her first compilation album, Souvenirs, which reached the ARIA top 40.[49]

2001-07: Just Me, "Never (Past Tense)" and Un autre univers

Arena's fourth solo studio album, Just Me, was released on 12 November 2001 and debuted at No. 7 in Australia;[49] it reached the top 50 in France and top 70 in Switzerland.[63][69] She co-wrote tracks with Nile Rodgers (Madonna, Diana Ross), Desmond Child (Ricky Martin, Aerosmith), Robbie Nevil (Earth, Wind & Fire), Mark Hudson (Eric Clapton, Cher), Victoria Shaw and Peter-John Vettese (Dido, Paul McCartney). The album explored different genres, containing more upbeat tracks as opposed to her two previous studio records which featured her soprano voice on slow pop ballads. Although written after the divorce from Carr, she said that the record is not angry nor bitter but rather a "celebration of womanhood".[80] It was certified gold by ARIA and by SNEP (France).[81][82]

To promote Just Me she showcased it for 150 people, mostly Australian TV and media personalities, in Melbourne.[83] The record provided four singles including, "Symphony of Life" (September 2002), which peaked at No. 8 in Australia and top 50 (as "Symphonie de l'âme") in France.[49] In November 2008 she performed the track at the closing of the Gay Games, when the international sporting event was held in Sydney.[84] She was featured on 2 (November 2002), a duets album from Olivia Newton-John for which the pair recorded an uptempo track, "I'll Come Runnin'".

In March 2002, Arena posed for a semi-nude photo shoot by James Houston for Black+White magazine.[85] She explained, "This shoot isn't about shock value, and it's not porn, it's an elegant, understated and honest exercise in challenging my sexuality and learning to love myself again."[86] She appeared in Cabaret in August that year in Sydney in the lead role of Sally Bowles.[74][85]

In April 2003, Arena and US electronica group, Roc Project, released a dance music single "Never (Past Tense)",[87] which reached number 1 on the US Billboard Dance Airplay Chart in October 2003.[88] The single included seven house and electronic dance music remixed versions by various DJs.[89] This was the first time three performers associated with Young Talent Time were simultaneously in the chart's Top 10 with Dannii Minogue's "I Begin to Wonder" and Kylie Minogue's "Slow" also appearing on the chart.

"Never (Past Tense)" was used on the US TV series, Queer as Folk, and on its associated soundtrack album (2003). The singer-songwriter performed the Tiësto remix with a new remix of "Dare You to Be Happy" live at the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras after party in March 2005.[90] By 2014 she had performed at the Mardi Gras for a fourth time: she is one of the gay icons of this generation.[91][92]

In October 2004, Arena released Greatest Hits 1994-2004, her second compilation album, which peaked at No. 10 in Australia.[49][93] The compilation provided a newly recorded track as a single, "Italian Love Song" (November), which reached the top 40.[49] After its release she left the recording label, striking a new deal with Sony Music BMG, France.[93] She embarked on an Australian national tour in late 2004 to early 2005, to support the album.

Her debut French language album, Un autre univers was released in December 2005, and gained a platinum certificate from SNEP in February 2006,[94] it peaked at No. 9 on the French charts and remained for 78 weeks.[69]

Un autre univers lead single, "Aimer jusqu'à l'impossible" which peaked at No. 3 on the French charts, in November 2005, and stayed in the top 5 for over 10 weeks.[69] The single was her biggest French hit to date on the French national charts[95][96] In February 2006, the single achieved platinum sales in France.[97] The single peaked at No. 1 in Belgium and was a top 20 hit in Switzerland.[63][70] The song received an award for Song of the Year in France.[98] A second single "Je m'appelle Bagdad" was released in June 2006, peaking at No. 6 in France and No. 8 in Belgium.[69][70] The third and final single from the album, "Tu aurais dû me dire (Oser parler d'amour)" (English: "You Should Have Told Me (Dare to Speak of Love)"), was issued in October.

Arena toured France, including two concerts at the Théâtre de la Porte Saint-Martin in Paris. She performed her French hits and some of her Australian repertoire. In July, she appeared on The Footy Show where she performed, with fellow Australian singer Kane Alexander, direct from Munich's Prince Regent's Theatre.[99]

In 2006, she appeared on various European TV shows to promote the album and has appeared in Night of the Proms, Star Academy, Fête de la Musique, Les Enfoirés and the NRJ Music Awards where she performed her single, "Aimer jusqu'à l'impossible" (English: "Love Even the Impossible", November 2005) backed by her French contemporaries: Anggun, Leslie Bourgoin, Amel Bent, Nâdiya, Lââm and Natasha St-Pier.[100]

2007-09: Songs of Love & Loss 1 and 2

Arena returned to the London stage in April 2007, starring as Roxie Hart in the West End production of Chicago, at the Cambridge Theatre, West End of London. The Sydney Morning Herald reported that, "Arena is returning to the stage following the birth of her first baby, Gabriel, now aged 13 months. Arena will make her debut at the prestigious Cambridge Theatre in Covent Garden in April playing the infamous murderess who exploits the media to escape prosecution. Arena said she was "excited, if not a little daunted" about playing the role, which means Arena will have to dust off her dancing shoes for toe-tappers such as Razzle Dazzle and All That Jazz."[101][102]

In 2007, Arena's sixth studio album, Songs of Love & Loss, was recorded independently and self-financed as she no longer had a recording contract in Australia. The album was issued on December 1st, 2007 after a new deal was struck with EMI. It has torch songs, originally recorded by women in the 1960s and 1970s, including by Dusty Springfield and Diana Ross, and the arrangements featured a full string orchestra conducted by Simon Hale. A promotional tour of Australia, in early November, included appearances on Dancing with the Stars and Sunrise. Five concert dates backed by a 35-piece orchestra were held over December to January: three at the Sydney Opera House and two at Melbourne's Hamer Hall. The album peaked at No. 3 on the ARIA Albums Chart;[49] at the ARIA Music Awards of 2008 it was nominated for Best Selling Album.[64]

While Arena was promoting Songs of Love & Loss in Australia in 2008, she shot a music video in and around Sydney for her next French language single, "Entends-tu le monde?" (English: "Do you hear the world?"), was made available to French radio and music TV channels. It appeared on her second French-language album, 7 vies (28 January, 2008), which debuted at No. 12 on the official French charts, her highest debut in the country.[69] "Entends-tu le monde?" was physically released in February and debuted at No. 10 on the French charts, becoming her sixth top 10 single in that market.[69]

Arena and Alison Jiear at Sydney Mardi Gras 2009

In August 2008, Arena performed with Andrea Bocelli during his Australian tour.[103] The two performed duets of "The Prayer", "Canto della Terra" and a cover of Elvis Presley's "Can't Help Falling in Love".[104] Prior to the tour she had been in the UK recording her eighth studio album, Songs of Love & Loss 2, it was released on 15 November 2008, which reached No. 12 in Australia.[49] For this album, her vocals were recorded live with the London Studio Orchestra, again conducted by Hale.[105] On 27 August 2008, alongside fellow Australian singer and songwriter Darren Hayes, Arena appeared as a guest judge during the London auditions of the sixth season of Australian Idol.[106] She appeared again as a guest judge, on 16 November, while she was in Australia to promote, Songs of Love & Loss 2.

In March 2009, Arena toured Australia and appeared as a guest performer at the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras party singing a medley of "Aimer jusqu'à l'impossible" and "No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)", accompanied by Alison Jiear on the latter.[107] She travelled to South Australia to co-headline with US musician, Chris Isaak, at Barossa Under the Stars, an outdoors concert.[108] Also in March 2009 her first French language compilation album, The Best & le meilleur (English: The Best & the best), was released. The Peel Me Sessions, an album of original material recorded in 2003, was also officially released in May 2009.

2010-11: French National Order of Merit and Tour de France / National Anthem

In January 2010, Arena and Irish singer, Ronan Keating (of Boyzone), were co-headliners for an outdoor concert festival, A Day on the Green, at Swan Valley.[109] The duo performed tracks from their latest respective albums and were supported by Australian Idol season 4 winner, Damien Leith.[109][110]

In January 2010, Arena released a live CD and DVD in Australia titled, Live: The Onstage Collection, where the album peaked at No. 22 on the ARIA Albums Chart.[49] The live recording was her eighth Top 10 album on the ARIA Australian-only Artist Chart and was also promoted and sold during Arena and Keating's concerts.

On July 24, 2011, Arena sang, in a remarkable a cappella performance, the Australian National Anthem on the podium on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées of the Tour de France after the victory by Australian cyclist, Cadel Evans.[111][112] This was unscheduled and came about because Arena was living in Paris at the time and offered her services only hours before the ceremony. It was the first time in Tour history that a national anthem was performed live on the podium in front of huge crowds and a broadcast audience of millions.

In 2011, Arena was a judge on the French version of The Sing-Off TV singing competition program, alongside two other judges, French rapper Michel Jonasz, and Nathalie André. The TV program was broadcast on Channel France 2.[113][114]

In 2011, Arena became the first Australian to be awarded a Knighthood of the French National Order of National Merit, presented by the President of the French Republic, Nicolas Sarkozy, for her contributions to French culture, and ceremonially awarded by Frédéric Mitterrand, the Minister of Culture and Communication of France.[115]

2012: Young Talent Time revival and Australian symphony orchestra tour

Arena appeared as a judge on the 2012 version of Young Talent Time in Australia, 29 years after her final regular appearance on the original series.[116] After judging the talent shows, she finished her national Australian tour backed by various Australian symphony orchestras with Anthony Callea as a special guest. Arena detailed working on the tour: "They are precious, those moments where the orchestra swells behind you, they are difficult to describe in words and from an adrenalin perspective it is a sensational feeling."[117][118] In November 2012, she issued her fourth live album released on CD and DVD, Symphony of Life, recorded at one of her Melbourne concerts.[119] Arena's management is Beebox.[120]

2013-14: Reset, Now I Can Dance and Dancing with the Stars Australia

Due to the success of her Symphony of Life Tour, Arena added five extra shows in Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra for February and March 2013, as part of her Encore Concerts.[121][122][123][124] In July she performed two concerts at the Queensland Music Festival. One of these was a solo show backed by the Queensland Youth Orchestra performing her own hits and covers; and the other was with local artists, Christine Anu, Anthony Callea, Rick Price and Katie Noonan paying tribute to the Bee Gees.[125][126][127]

Arena released her first English language solo studio album in eleven years, Reset, on 18 October 2013, which peaked at No. 4 and became her sixth Top 10 album in Australia.[49][128] It was released in both standard and a deluxe editions (with three extra tracks). It was certified gold in three weeks and then platinum in December 2013.[129][130] Its lead single, "You Set Fire to My Life" (September), included both studio and acoustic versions; as well as three official remixes by Cosmic Dawn, The Slips and 7th Heaven - it reached the ARIA top 40.[49] The track "Only Lonely" featured in Channel 7's Home and Away promo, which also reached the top 40.[49][131] Also in October 2013 Arena published her autobiography, Now I Can Dance, written with Jude McGee, to coincide with the release of Reset and is now on its 4th reprint.[132][11][133]

Arena performed at the G'Day USA Los Angeles Black Tie Gala on 11 January, 2014.[134] On 14 March, 2014, Arena appeared on Sunrise and performed "You Set Fire to My Life".[135] Also in March, Arena appeared on So You Think You Can Dance Australia to perform her single, "Reset All" (December 2013), which was accompanied by a routine from two previous winners of the series, Jack Chambers and Talia Fowler.[136]

2015-17: Eleven, ARIA Hall of Fame and Australia Day Honours

In May 2015, Arena issued Songs of Love & Loss in France.[137] Her eleventh studio album, Eleven was released on 30 October 2015.[138] It was preceded in September by its lead single, "I Want to Love You". Arena premiered the single by performing on the live television show Dancing with the Stars on 4 September 2015.[139]

Arena's latest venture, her new album Eleven, is so named because it is the 11th album of her recording career, but also because she likes its astrological implications' '11' being a figure of enlightenment and artistic sensitivity. Like its predecessor, 2013's Reset, Eleven is a pop-heavy collection, featuring songwriting collaborations with, among others, Kate Miller-Heidke, Hayley Warner and Evermore's Jon Hume. Her new album, was recorded in Sydney, Melbourne, London and Stockholm, as well as in Paris. The Eleven album is a mix of atmospheric electronica (Unravel Me, Overload), smouldering anthems (Wouldn't Be Love If It Didn't, Love Falls, Not Still in Love with You) and dance-friendly pop (Magic).[140] Arena's most recent release, Eleven, became her seventh Top 10 album in Australia by debuting at No. 2 on the ARIA album chart in November 2016, and is now certified gold.[141]

In September 2015, Arena hosted shows on SmoothFM Radio Stations from 4:00 pm every Saturday on Sydney's SmoothFM 93.5 and on Melbourne's SmoothFM 91.5.[142]

On 25 October 2015, the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) announced that Arena was due to be inducted into their Hall of Fame in the annual awards ceremony in November as a member of the Australian music industry ARIA Hall of Fame.[11] In mid-November ARIA announced that she would be inducted by Australian-British singer and actress Kylie Minogue, also a Hall of Fame inductee - and the sister of singer Dannii Minogue, a former Young Talent Time contestant.[143] Arena looks forward to enjoying the acknowledgment of her peers at the Australian music industry's gala celebration on November 26, 2015. She is quick to point out that receiving the honour doesn't mean she is entering the twilight of her career. "It's not the end," she says, "Not yet", adding, "I don't have another 40 years in me, I don't know how long it's going to last, but I'm touched by the recognition. It will be an emotional night".[140] In November 26, 2015, Arena was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame at the 2015 ARIA Awards ceremony.[11]

During Arena's Hall of Fame ceremony induction on November 26, 2015, fellow Australian songstress Kylie Minogue - also a Hall of Fame inductee - paid tribute to Arena by stating, "I remember being blown away when she sang "MacArthur Park" on Young Talent Time, and I tried countless times to try and sing that song the way she did it and couldn’t do it. She has the pipes. She could teach us all a lesson." This was a nod to Arena's entire career, as one of the Australia's highest-selling female artists, and her childhood fame on Young Talent Time from 1976 to 1983 — making her the show's longest-serving cast member.[42][144]

On Australia Day, January 26, 2016, Arena was recognised in the Australia Day Honours, 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.[13]

On April 27, 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.[14]

On September 27, 2016, she performed at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus in Athens, Greece, as a special guest of Greek singer George Perris.[145][146][147][148][149]

On December 9, 2016, Arena, in her capacity as the official ambassador, launched the 'Versailles: Treasures From The Palace' exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia (NGA), located in Canberra in the Australian Capital Territory. The exhibit, which is said to be the most elaborate ever put on by the NGA, features 130 priceless works of 18th century of art flown to Australia from France.[150][151]

On Australia Day, January 26, 2017, at the Australia Day Concert: Live at The Sydney Opera House, Arena joined a collection of Australia's best talent, including Guy Sebastian, Human Nature, Dami Im, children's group The Wiggles, and others, performing contemporary tunes and tributes to the great songs of Australia's past. The 2017 Australia Day Concert was a free public event, organised by the NSW Government through its tourism and major events agency.[152] Arena, as one of Australia's most accomplished performers, with a career spanning several decades, said prior to the event, "Australia Day is a great opportunity to come out, eat some delicious food, listen to some amazing music and take part in the diversity that defines our country" and "I can't wait to be part of the day - to stand in the middle of the harbour, to sing with the harbour crowds and school choir, and give my own version of a salute to Australia".[153]

In April 2017, Arena released her fifth compilation double album titled, Greatest Hits & Interpretations, released by EMI Music Australia. The album is a 2-CD set—the first contains 17 of Arena's hits; the second is an album of interpretations.The interpretations disc includes a duet with Dannii Minogue, singing with Arena for the first time since Young Talent Time.[15]

Arena announced her Innocence to Understanding Tour in conjunction with the release of her Greatest Hits & Interpretations, starting in concerts Brisbane on Wednesday, 6 September, 2017, and concluded in early October.[16] The title of the tour is a telling nod to her career journey, one of only a few artists who has been able to live four decades in music.[17]

In early May 2017, Arena released her first fragrance, after working three years on the project, called Renaissance developed with Bertrand Duchaufour, one of the world's leading perfumers in Paris. Bertrand have come up with a high quality Eau De Parfum combining ingredients sourced from Arena's three cultures: France, Italy and Australia (including Sandalwood from Indigenous Australia).[16][154]

In September 2017, Arena featured as a keynote speaker at the Australian BIGSOUND Musical Conference.[155] Now in its seventeenth year, BIGSOUND attracts more than 6000 music fans and industry gurus who attend the event at Fortitude Valley, Queensland, for the more than 130 artists across 18 venues over three nights. Arena's keynote speech shared her experience and her advice for the changing face of the music industry, having been at the forefront of the Australian music scene for 40 years.[156][157]

2018: Quand tout Recommence

After almost a decade away, Arena made a welcome return to French Pop music, arriving with a new 2018 French-language album, Quand tout Recommence (translates to: "When Everything Restarts"), set for an April release, to the francophone music market (primarily France) and also reaching audiences in Belgium and Sweden. Quand tout Recommence is Arena's third French-language studio album, and her twelfth studio album overall, since her francophone album, 7 vies, released in January 2008, which debuted at No. 12 on the official French charts; her highest debut in France.[69][158]

The new album title Quand tout Recommence translates to "When Everything Restarts" in English.[159] Arena has stated that when she records in the French language, she is careful not to record French versions of her English language hits, as lyric meanings in French and English differ. Arena notes that too often the intention of the song gets "lost in translation", therefore she always chosen to write in both languages.[160]

On November 17, 2017, Arena released on digital preview platforms a new song recording, Tant que tu es là (translates to: "As long as you're around"), as the lead single for the upcoming album,Quand tout Recommence.[161]

In an April 2018 interview with Webmedia SAS Pure Charts (France), Arena defined what pulled her into French Pop music, after a decade of recording and performing in her homeland Australia, and in the selective international showcase tours, Arena explains, "I wanted to re-do music in French. Everything started from there with this project. The desire". She is motivated by the desire to reconnect with the success of her French Pop hits, "Go higher" and "Love to the impossible". On her 2018 Quand tout Recommence album, Arena offers ten new songs recorded in the language of Molière, L'ombre de ma voix (Translates to: The Shadow of My Voice")." The contents of songs on the record is quite varied. Recalling her former residency in French Pop Music, yet, her inaugural entry on the French Music Charts was in 1998, and was her first French platinum record. Arena concludes, ""I miss the connection with the French public. It was time. With all that happened." Good, is what happens with Arena, and France.[162]

On February 16, 2018, Arena released on digital preview platforms the next single, L'ombre de ma voix (Translates to: "The Shadow of My Voice"), from her new album Quand tout Recommence.[163]

On April 6th, 2018, the new French-language album, Quand tout Recommence was released on the francophone market, with the album peaking on the French album chart Top 150 at No.62, and also peaking on the Belgium album chart at No.46.[164][165] The two single releases and the complete album, Quand tout recommence, are now available to download and stream worldwide.[166]

2018 Music Video: L'ombre de ma voix

An accompanying official music video for L'ombre de ma voix (Translates to: The Shadow of My Voice"), was released on February 16, 2018. The 2018 music video director is Michael Westbrook, with production by Positive Dream Réalisation.

The video thematically delivers a nostalgic mood, as Arena traces her 40-year career in the music industry, showing a montage of video footage and TV clips across her lifespan as a live performer. Capturing the visual evolution of Arena's artistry, beginning in 1974 for the-then eight year-old child performer on the Australian family-entertainment television musical live talent show Young Talent Time.[167]

In the Quand tout Recommence music video, Arena appears multiple times in every frame, and it doubles and triples; Arena is seen as the artist she is today, in the recording studio, and throughout the footage of clips revolving around her, as she is evolving through her career. The montage chronicles Arena's childhood, and adolescence, to womanhood - including childhood piano lessons, roller-skating, backstage rehearsals, signing autographs with fans, to singing live at the Sydney Olympic Games 2000, and more. Clearly, Tina Arena has always got to work, sung her heart out and in again, and she keeps working. The song title, "The Shadow of My Voice", makes a report on 40 years her a career, composed of ups and downs, and mixes childhood images, live performances, and studio sessions. The opportunity is taken by the Australian to prove that she is still active and far from relying on her previous success.[168]

2018-Present

In October 2018, Arena teamed up with Sydney's Maserati as an official ambassador for the Italian luxury car manufacturer.[169] Maserati is a key contributor to the Sydney Opera House, and a supporter of the performing arts in New South Wales, Australia. Since 2014, Maserati has been a Partner of the Opera House, an Event Partner of the annual All About Women Festival and an official Opening Night Sponsor.[170][171]

2018 Evita - Australian Tour Production

Evita: Synopsis

The Opera Australia 2018 national tour, Evita, is the 40th-anniversary restaging of the original Harold Prince production. Prince's production won seven Tony Awards when it hit Broadway after the West End, and it has become the basis for most subsequent productions of the musical.[172][173] Evita charts Eva Perón's life from an ambitious teenager through her political life as the First Lady of Argentina from 1946 until her death in 1952, at age 33. The stage musical Evita includes some of Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's biggest hits, including "Another Suitcase in Another Hall", and the iconic "Don't Cry for Me Argentina".[174][175]

Evita: Casting

On 21 August 2017, Opera Australia announced that Arena would be taking on the lead role of Eva Perón in the 2018 Australian touring production of Evita, with music by Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics and book by Sir Tim Rice, directed Harold Prince, who has won an unprecedented 21 Tony Awards for directing on Broadway. The Evita Australian tour will commence at Sydney Opera House, in the Joan Sutherland Theatre, on the official opening night of September 13th, 2018, with the season running to November 3rd, 2018. The next venue on the Evita national tour leg will be at the Arts Centre Melbourne, from December 5th to December 30th 2018.[176][177] Arena said that she was “terrified”, but described the role as “a precious gift for myself and for any female performer”. She said that she felt “blessed to work with someone who has had the kind of career that Hal Prince has had”. Arena also says she felt the time was right to tackle the role. "I have been approached to do this role on a couple of occasions." Arena noted that, "I never felt emotionally ready for it, stating "I felt I had a lot of living and learning before I could get up and take on the enormity of the story and the human spirit she possessed." Arena expressed of knowing about Eva Perón since she was a little girl, and feeling privileged to be able to recount the story and embrace the complex role.[178][179]

On May 7th, 2018, Opera Australia Artistic Director Lyndon Terracini, along with producers John Frost and David Ian, announced the full cast for the upcoming Australian production of Evita. With Arena announced in the lead role as Eva Perón, the remainder of the cast was announced as: Paulo Szot, Brazilian operatic baritone, and winner of a Tony Award for best actor on Broadway 2008, in the role of Juan Perón; Kurt Kansley (The Lion King, Rent, Godspell, Show Boat) will take on the role of the revolutionary Che Guevara. Michael Falzon (We Will Rock You, Jesus Christ Superstar, Chess) will portray tango singer Agustín Magaldi, while the role of Perón’s Mistress will be played by Alexis van Maanen. Jemma Rix (WICKED, The Wizard of Oz) has been cast as the alternate Eva Perón and is currently scheduled to be appearing in the role at least once a week (the Wednesday 7:30pm show) throughout the Sydney season, according to the Evita-Australia website.[180][181][182]

On July 21st, 2018, Opera Australia Artistic Director Lyndon Terracini, along with producers John Frost and David Ian, announced the 18 young performers who have been cast in the upcoming production of Evita, in season at the Sydney Opera House from September 2018. Three sets of six children will alternate in ensemble roles.[183][184][185]

Evita: Arena on Eva Perón

In taking on the titular role of Eva Perón in the revival of Harold Prince's original 1978 production of Evita for Opera Australia and John Frost, Arena commented to the ABC's Limelight magazine that she was "terrified", but described the role as "a precious gift for myself and for any female performer". She said that she felt "blessed to work with someone who has had the kind of career that Hal Prince has had". Arena also notes that she felt the time was right to tackle the role:

I have been approached to do this role on a couple of occasions. I never felt emotionally ready for it. I felt I had a lot of living and learning before I could get up and take on the enormity of the story and the human spirit she possessed. I don't think I was ready in my 30s to play Eva Perón at all. Playing the role of Eva Perón at 50, is much more suited to the life experience that I have had.[186]

Arena expressed of knowing about Eva Perón since she was a little girl, and feeling privileged to be able to recount the story and embrace the complex role.[187][188]

Evita: Opening Night

The official opening night of the Evita Australian tour, at the Sydney Opera House, in the Joan Sutherland Theatre, took place on Thursday, September 13th, 2018. Evita book lyricist, Sir Tim Rice, attended the Opening Night, having travelled especially to Australia for the event, a week after joining the illustrious EGOT winners club. Arena as the lead role received a prolonged standing ovation for her stellar portrayal as Eva Peron at the opening night.[189] Sydney's The Daily Telegraph reported following opening night that, "Arena soars in a sublime performance of the First Lady of Argentina. Even those who don't know the musical Evita, are probably familiar with the song "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" and it was at this point on opening night that Arena really powered into her own as Eva Perón.[190]

Evita: Critical Reception

On September 19th, 2018, the ABC's classical music and arts magazine Limelight's theatre reviewer, Angus McPherson, gave a four-star review of Opera Australia’s production Evita at the Sydney Opera House. The review, Evita - Tina Arena gives us a vocally high flying Evita in Hal Prince's original production states, "The role of the tough, ambitious, Evita isn't an easy sing, and it comes with baggage - anyone taking it on is walking in the footsteps of the likes of Elaine Paige, Patti LuPone and Madonna (in the 1996 film with Antonio Banderas) - but Arena proves herself more than equal to the vocal demands. She doesn’t have the heavy belt of a LuPone, but she’s got a deliciously sultry low register and she handles the lighter high notes with confidence, letting rip when it’s called for - her rallying oration in 'A New Argentina', buoyed by the chorus, is a rousing finale to the show’s first act. Brazilian opera singer Paulo Szot, brings a magisterial baritone to Juan Perón. Arena comes into her own in the second act, with highlights including the show’s hit Don’t Cry For Me Argentina (in quite a broad rendition), as well as Rainbow High, Waltz for Eva and Che and You Must Love Me - which was written for Madonna in the film and inserted here, Arena alone onstage, ‘in concert’ style. The show ends on a sombre note, and if Evita’s final moments don’t quite hit home emotionally, her assumption of power is thrillingly done, Arena’s vocals capturing her commanding power and charisma".[191]

On September 19th, 2018, The Sydney Morning Herald theatre reviewer, Joyce Morgan, gave a four-star review of Opera Australia’s production Evita at the Sydney Opera House. The review, Evita review: Don't cry for Tina Arena's timely Eva states, "What you do get is a show with renewed currency about the rise and demise of one of Latin America's most intriguing and controversial figures, Eva Peron. You also get a woman at the height of her musical powers in the show-stopper scene as Tina Arena, in the title role, steps regally along the presidential balcony to deliver with melting clarity and conviction the anthemic "Don't Cry for Me Argentina". In this 40th-anniversary restaging of the original Harold Prince production, the misogyny, sexism and patronising disdain by the powerful forces arrayed against our heroine takes the breath away. Not least because some of the abuse seems as current as that excreted by social media trolls. Rice's lyrics still pack a punch".[192]

On September 20th, 2018, The Guardian's Musicals reviewer, Clarissa Sebag-Montefiore, gave a four-star review of Opera Australia’s production Evita at the Sydney Opera House. The review, Tina Arena is Resplendent and Tough as Designer Dictator, states, "In Opera Australia’s production, Eva Perón wins over a nation with a Christian Dior dress and steely determination, and a killer ballad steals the show. At the centre of it all is Evita, played with a resplendent toughness by Arena. It is to her credit that in a few hours she can turn from a naive, if plucky, teenager eager to leave her poor upbringing behind to a grown woman ravaged by illness and yet still desperate to cling to the last vestiges of power. The score stands the test of time too, Under director Harold Prince's deft hands, the song, "Don't Cry for Me Argentina", shows its true colours: it is designed as a master class in political manipulation".[193]

Artistry

Arena possesses the vocal range of a soprano.[194][195][196][197] She is multilingual: she speaks and sings in English, Italian and French; and also sings in Spanish.[198][199][200] Her singing style is characterised as between R&B and ballad.[2][201]

Numerous media and musical contemporaries have praised Arena's skill as a world-class singer. Music journalist Ed Nimmervoll commented that Arena "has a voice that can give you goosebumps",[50] while news journalist Kate de Brito says that it is "smooth and musical even when she talks."[37] Cameron Adams of the Herald Sun says she has a "beautiful voice telling a beautiful story."[202] William Yeoman of The West Australian commented that "Arena's voice is redolent of both youthful pop and mature cabaret."[203]The Australian Broadcasting Corporation's monthly classical music and arts magazine, Limelight, commented that, "Tina Arena is a performer with a supreme voice, boundless range and energy, and charm to spare."[204][205] Kelsey Munro of The Sydney Morning Herald says that her voice is "strong, smooth and pitch-perfect."[201] According to Heidi Maier of Tom Magazine, it can be described as "remarkably strong". She also said, "Tina Arena has a powerhouse voice and when she hits her marks, she hits them with forcefulness and verve."[206] Spiritworks Australia says, "Whether she's singing spine-tingling renditions of contemporary classics by Lulu, Dusty Springfield or Blondie or her self-penned hits Sorrento Moon, Chains or Burn, Tina Arena is acclaimed as one of the world's most versatile and magnificent vocal interpreters. Her voice is smooth, rich and streaming with emotion."[207]

The Queensland Music Festival team says, "Tina sparkles with vivacity and class, possessing an outstanding vocal range and a voice that belies her petite stature - endlessly powerful and always resonant with heart and honesty."[5] Queensland Music Festival artistic director, James Morrison said "Tina Arena has one of the most amazing voices I've ever heard."[208] Time Out magazine had a brief description of Tina's voice as it says, "Tina Arena truly boasts two incredible assets - her voice and her versatility ..."[5] Melbourne's 89.9 Light FM declared that Arena is "undisputedly one of Australia's finest voices".[209] Sharyn Hamey, an online music reviewer says that "Arena has an angelic, beautiful and a powerful voice."[210]

Fellow Australian celebrities have praised Arena's vocal prowess with Delta Goodrem saying, "Her voice has strength whilst keeping its feminine warmth to draw you in." Melbourne singer/songwriter, Michael Paynter hailed Arena as "simultaneously the most natural and supernatural female Australian voice ever. She is technically and emotionally perfect, but somehow always has enough of a sniff of imperfection and rawness to make you not only believe every word, but be hanging off them too." Ricki-Lee Coulter also says that "She has so much control and power". Missy Higgins also commented that, "Tina Arena is one of our best singers ever. She could sing the balls off anyone, and she's miniature." Brian Mannix says, "Tina Arena has a tasteful voice. She sells the lyrics with her big voice but never over-sings." Birds of Tokyo frontman says, "Tina Arena can sing the shit out of anything, and do it in four different languages!" Anthony Callea added, "Technically, she is faultless and her tone is unique and warm. I love that she goes against all the 'singers' rules' - I've seen what she eats and drinks before a gig!"[211] Darren Hayes also made an effort in letting the public know that Arena's voice is one of his favourite voices in Australia through Twitter.[212]

Arena records songs and albums in English, and in the French, as well as in Italian and Spanish. However, as an artist, she confirms that she does not consider recording French versions of her English language popular hits. Arena notes that too often the intention of the song gets "lost in translation", therefore she always chosen to write in both languages.[213]

Arena's musical influences include Barbra Streisand, Carole King, Dusty Springfield, Petula Clark, Aretha Franklin and various Italian singers. She has noted that in a non-musical perspective, Princess Diana inspired her and called her "a great role model for women".[23][55]

Legacy

Arena's tracks have been covered by country music artists, including Wynonna Judd ("Heaven Help My Heart", "Love's Funny That Way"), Jo Dee Messina ("Burn"), Pam Tillis ("If I Didn't Love You"), Terri Clark ("Unsung Hero"), Kellie Coffey, Kathie Baillie ("Love's Funny That Way") and LeAnn Rimes ("You Made Me Find Myself").[54][214][215]

Younger artists have covered Arena's songs in singing competitions, such as the winner of the second season of Australian Idol, Casey Donovan who recorded Arena's "Symphony of Life" for her album For You and both Filipino artist Sarah Geronimo and Australian Anthony Callea who admits to being a fan of Arena's, recorded "I Want to Know What Love Is" including the bridge that was written specifically for Arena's version. Sarah De Bono who came in at fourth place when she joined The Voice Australia also recorded Arena's "If I Didn't Love You." Filipino artists Nina and Christian Bautista recorded a duet version of "Burn" that appeared on Nina's album Nina Live! while Regine Velasquez did a live performance on Philippine television. Erik Santos and Sheryn Regis also recorded their version of Arena and Marc Anthony's duet, "I Want to Spend My Lifetime Loving You".[216][217][218]

In 2001, Arena was awarded a BMI Foundation Songwriting Award (Broadcast Music Inc.) by the American performance rights organisation for co-writing "Burn" with Pam Reswick and Steve Werfel.[219]

In April 2013, Arena was voted Australia's all-time greatest female singer and third greatest singer overall in an industry poll conducted by Australian music journalist, Cameron Adams, for the Herald Sun.[211][220][221] As of July 2014, Arena has sold over 10 million records worldwide.[222][223]

In 2015, Arena was inducted into the Australian Recording Industry Association ARIA Hall of Fame at the 2015 ARIA Awards ceremony.[11]

On Australia Day, 26 January, 2016, Arena became 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.

Personal life

During her career, Arena has resided in United States, France, and the United Kingdom.[224]

In December 1995, Arena married her then-manager, Ralph Carr, who had been her manager since 1992.[225] The two had enjoyed considerable success, producing her 1994 album 'Don't Ask'. Their divorce was finalised in 1999, while they settled their financial and contractual matters in February 2002.[23][36][226]

In the late-1990s, Arena relocated from Australia to reside in Paris, France.[227][228] In 2000, Arena met the French artist Vincent Mancini with whom she has a son, Gabriel Joseph Mancini, born in 2005.[132][229]

In 2012, Arena and her family relocated from Paris, France to reside in Melbourne, Victoria 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. Arena says, "It was time. I've been away 20-odd years, worked internationally and done some great things, 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".[230]

In 2016, commenting on her balance between her artistic career and family life in Melbourne, Arena says, "I spend my life driving my son and his mates around to play footy and soccer or just hang out." Arena adds that she is reaching a point in her life where she is balanced and satisfied, "I appreciate being alive. I appreciate everything about life. I appreciate the privilege of being able to do what it is that I do. I appreciate having a beautiful family, having an extraordinary life."[231]

Views

Music industry politics

Arena has been a prominent vocal supporter of female artists in the music industry, particularly celebrating the long-term careers of mature women artists. Arena believes we should embrace and celebrate ageing and not fall victim to ageism - especially in the music industry where the maturity of women is not seen as viable or relevant.[232]

To the British newspaper The Guardian, Arena describes herself as somebody with "certain points on the board" - someone who has been "tenacious, resilient, hung around for a long time" and "done everything in their power to hone their craft". It is from the place - as one of Australia's great musical dames - that she makes abrasive critiques of what constitutes a career in music today. "I've struggled with the phantasmal aspect that has been a part of what we do" she says. "The fact that it has been really glamourised, glorified, also dumbed down as well. Thus, she argues that the music industry has been peddling shoddy wares, saying "It's a business template they've used. They've told people that you can be a star and sold that dream to everybody. I think it's been a huge irresponsibility".[233]

In December, 2016, in the Rolling Stone video series 'Her Sound, Her Story: Tina Arena', she discusses how the music industry squanders women as both they and their careers mature. "You've got to give me a really damn good reason why somebody, who is in the prime of their career and are doing really good work, why on earth they should stop? Are you going to tell a male who is at the top of his game in whatever domain, that he needs to step down and retire?". Speaking to series creators Michelle Grace Hunder and Claudia Sangiorgi Dalimore, Arena goes on to talk about the importance of female solidarity, mentioning how competition between women can be (and has been) dismantled by supportive relationships and encouragement of other women. Arena says "Get out of the ring. Take your boxing gloves off. Be convinced in the argument of your thoughts and your dreams".[234]

TimesUp Movement and the Australian Music industry

In December 2017, Arena joined over 600 high profile female artists from the Australian music industry, including Missy Higgins and the Veronicas, Sarah Blasko and Jenny Morris, in signing an Open letter #MeNoMore demanding change in the music industry, in support of the Time's Up to fight workplace sexual harassment and assault.[235] The authors of the Open Letter state they are motivated to organise the letter as an Australian response to the #MeToo campaign movement triggered by the accounts of sexual abuse in the wider entertainment industry. Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group responded with words of support.[236]

Following the January 2018 creation of US Time's Up campaign by a collective of Hollywood female artists to fight workplace sexual harassment and assault,[237] Arena joined with more than 30 high-profile women from the Australian media and entertainment industries - including Deborah Mailman, Sarah Blasko and Danielle Cormack - to spearhead a new national organisation, NOW Australia, led by broadcaster Tracey Spicer, to tackle sexual harassment, abuse and assault in workplaces across Australia. On Twitter, the Australian #MeToo campaign has encouraged stories of workplace harassment and assault following her public call-out on Twitter in October 2017.[238]

In March 2018, in support of the NOW Australia Time's Up and #MeToo campaign, Arena authored an op-ed article titled "The music industry must join us with #thetimeisNOW", published by News Corp Australia on news.com.au. Arena states her views on how the Australian music industry has enabled "a stagnant perspective towards females". Arena stated future social goals in the op-ed, that "We need to raise the bar of our emotional intelligence because this is not a whinge, it’s not a social media trend, and NOW Australia is going to keep the issue of sexual harassment at the forefront and do everything we possibly can to change the mentality that allows it to happen. We’ve got a lot of work to do here".[239]

Memoir

Arena's memoir, Now I Can Dance (book), published by HarperCollins, was released on 14 October 2013, in hardback, paperback, and in E-book format. Arena authoured her memoir with co-writer Jude McGee. The text is billed by HarperCollins as "Honest and intimate, funny and frank, Now I Can Dance is the long-awaited memoir from the very special, much-loved singer, songwriter and pop diva, Tina Arena."[240] She told Kathy McCabe of News Corp Australia that "I don't need to put a book out to put food on the table. It started to dawn on me in the last year that I have had an unbelievable life and I want people to know it's been hilarious, there's been a lot of laughter in my journey."[132] Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers (Australia) Pty Ltd (October 14, 2013).[241]

The tile of her memoir, Now I Can Dance (book) is taken from the third single, Now I Can Dance, from Arena's third studio album In Deep (1997). The track was written by Arena while living in L.A. and is a love letter from her to her family, as she explained in her memoir. The song was successful in her native Australia, reaching #13 on the ARIA Singles Chart.

Australian Broadcasting Company shop describe Tina Arena's memoir as an honest, gritty, funny, frank and totally revealing memoir from much loved songstress Tina Arena, who is about to celebrate a phenomenally successful 40 years as a singer/songwriter."[242]

HarperCollins said "Tina has amassed a cache of amazing stories. The artist who gave us "Chains", "Sorrento Moon" and "Symphony of Life" has sold eight million albums, won a swag of awards, encountered extraordinary people, fallen in and out of love, and experienced incredible highs and lows."[243]

In 2017, Arena updated her memoir with the release of a new edition of Tina Arena's memoir, with new content covering her relocation from France back to Australia, being inducted into the 2015 ARIA Hall of Fame, the release of new music, and new musical ventures.[244] Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers (Australia) Pty Ltd 2nd Edition (May 22, 2017).[245]

Charities

Arena has used her fame to help several causes and is a patron to two charities in Australia: child protection organization Barnardos and Soldier On, which supports rehabilitation for veterans, ex-service men and women.[246] In her support she is an official patron for a charitable organization 'Soldier On', which assists mentally and physically wounded Australian soldiers. Arena said, "It's vital that Australian soldiers have access to support when they return from overseas, and 'Soldier On' will make a much needed difference in the lives of wounded veterans and their families. 'Soldier On' is the first charity of its kind in Australia and I am honoured to be a Patron."[247]

In July 2013, Arena performed at the Melbourne Asbestos Cancer Fundraiser, which donated funds raised to support Mesothelioma research undertaken at the Olivia-Newton John Cancer & Wellness Centre and the Austin Hospital, Melbourne.[248][249] She was also a participant, with partner Damian Whitewood, in the 13th Australian season of Dancing with the Stars which commenced in September 2013 and nominated Barnardos Australia as her charity; the pair finished in third place.

Arena took part in Australia's biggest TV charity appeal, Telethon, in Perth on 20 October 2013.[250] On 21 December 2013 she opened Sydney's annual Carols in the Domain concert with "O Come, All Ye Faithful" and performed her single "Reset All" at the closing of the event.[251] She has also performed at several benefit concerts, including Live 8 in Paris and for Queensland Flood Relief in 2013.[246]

In November 2014, Arena released a cover version of the 10cc's 1976 song, The Things We Do For Love, with funds raised going towards the National Breast Cancer Foundation.[252]

Arena, reflecting on nearly 40 years in the music industry, relates all of her achievements back to her Australian beginnings: "If it wasn't for Australia, I would never have been able to have been catapulted internationally and to have done the things that I've been able to do. It was because of Australia that I've done that". she told AAP, in 2013.[246]

Discography

Main article: Tina Arena discography
Studio albums
English-language albums
  • Strong as Steel (1990)
  • Don't Ask (1994)
  • In Deep (1997)
  • Just Me (2001)
  • Songs of Love & Loss (2007)
  • Songs of Love & Loss 2 (2008)
  • Reset (2013)
  • Eleven (2015)

French-language albums
  • Un autre univers (2005)
  • 7 vies (2008)
  • Quand tout Recommence (2018)

Compilation albums
  • Souvenirs (2000)
  • Greatest Hits 1994-2004 (2004)
  • The Best & le meilleur (2009)
  • The Peel Me Sessions 2003 (2003)
  • Greatest Hits & Interpretations (2017)

Television

List of some notable TV appearances Arena has made over the years.

Television
Year Title Role Notes
1977-1983 Young Talent Time Herself "Tiny" Tina Arena as she was fondly called started her career in this show before becoming an international recording artist.[253]
1984 Young Talent Time 1984 Herself After leaving the show in 1983, she came back as a special guest the year after.[254]
1986 The Flying Doctors Miss Broken Hill An Australian drama series where Tina Arena played as Miss Broken Hill[255]
1991 All Together Now Vanessa An Australian sitcom where Tina Arena played as Vanessa[256]
1994 Australian Music Awards Herself Arena performed the first single from Don't Ask, "Chains"
1995 AFL League Grand Final Herself Arena performed "Waltzing Matilda"[257]
1995 Waltzing Matilda: The Song That Shaped a Nation Herself Video documentary[258]
1995 Top of the Pops Herself Guested on this TV show singing and promoting singles from her second album, Don't Ask.[259]
1995 Hey Hey It's Saturday Herself Arena performed "Wasn't It Good" to promote her second album, Don't Ask.
1996 World Music Awards Herself Arena won the world's best selling Australian artist award and later performed her hit single, "Chains". Celine Dion gave Arena a standing ovation after the performance[259]
1997 ARIA Music Awards Herself Arena performed the first single from the In Deep album, "Burn"
1997 Midday Herself Arena performed her hit single, "Burn"
1998 Andrew Lloyd Webber: The Royal Albert Hall Celebration Herself Arena performed "Whistle Down the Wind" as a tribute to Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber for his 50th birthday.
1998 The Donny & Marie show Herself Arena performed "If I Was a River"[260]
1999 VH1 Presents Donna Summer: Live and More ... Encore! Herself Arena performed "No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)" with the late Donna Summer. The performance and the song received praises from the media and was later included on Summer's live album, Live & More Encore.
1999 Fox Studios Australia: The Grand Opening Herself Arena sang a version of "My Heart Will Go On" and performed with Marcia Hines and Kylie Minogue as well.[261]
2000 2000 Sydney Olympics Herself Worldwide broadcasting was done for this event as Arena sang the Olympic song, "The Flame"
2000 NRJ Music Awards Herself Arena won Best New International Revelation, beating Britney Spears, Jennifer Lopez, Enrique Iglesias and Lauryn Hill. She performed her French hit, "Aller plus haut" afterwards[259]
2000 World Music Awards Herself Arena performed a song called "Live (For the One I Love)" from the Notre Dame de Paris soundtrack album. Elle Macpherson presented Arena the award for the world's best selling Australian artist[259]
2000 ALMA Awards Herself Arena and Marc Anthony gave speeches after accepting the award for Best Song in a Motion Picture for their duet of "I Want to Spend My Lifetime Loving You". Jennifer Lopez presented the award to Arena and Anthony[262]
2000 The Panel Herself
2001 ARIA Music Awards Herself Arena performed her song "Soul Mate #9" from her Just Me album
2001 Rumba! Festival Herself Arena performed songs from her Just Me album such as "Soul Mate #9" and "Symphony of Life"
2001 Channel V Herself Arena talked about her single "Soul Mate #9" and her performance at the 2001 ARIA Music Awards
2001 musicMAX Herself Arena talked about recording her album Just Me while showing snippets of her music videos and her in the recording studio
2001 The Ray Martin Show Herself
2001 Rove Live Herself
2001 Young Talent Time Tells All Herself
2002 Opening of Walt Disney Studios Paris Herself Arena sang the Disney song "When You Wish upon a Star"
2003 Pepsi More Music: The DVD Vol. 1 Herself Featured her song "Symphony of Life".
2003 Young Talent Time: The Collection Herself
2004 Australia's Funniest Home Videos Herself Arena performed "Italian Love Song", the first single from her compilation album Greatest Hits 1994-2004
2004 The Cream at the Carnival Herself Arena did an interview about her career. This interview was done on her birthday as well as she was presented with a birthday cake
2004 Good Morning Australia Herself
2004 Zu & Co live at the Royal Albert Hall Herself Performed "I'm in Trouble" with Zucchero Fornaciari
2005 Live 8 Herself Performed "Come Together" with Craig David and her own French hit single, "Aller plus haut"
2005 La Méthode Cauet Herself
2006 Fête de la Musique Herself Arena performed "Aimer jusqu'à l'impossible"
2006 Le village des enfoirés Herself
2006 Tout le monde en parle Herself Appeared as guest in 2001, 2003 and 2006
2006 Samedi soir avec ... Herself
2006 La chanson de l'année Herself 'The Footy Show Herself Performed the song, "Timeless" with Kane Alexander
2006 Muppets TV Herself
2007 Sunrise Herself Arena performed "To Sir With Love" and "I Just Don't Know What to Do with Myself"
2007 La Caravane des Enfoirés Herself
2007 The Morning Show Herself Arena talked about her success in Europe and the Australian tour she would embark on
2007 La chanson de l'année Herself
2007 Getaway Herself Appeared as guest in 2005 and 2007
2007 Dancing with the Stars Herself Performed "To Sir With Love" to promote her then album, Songs of Love & Loss
2008 Mornings with Kerri-Anne Herself Over a week, the program aired Arena doing several live performances of singles from Songs of Love & Loss 2
2008 Les secrets des Enfoirés Herself
2008 The Morning Show Herself Arena talked about her Knighthood honour and to promote her then-new album, Songs of Love & Loss 2
2008 Star Academy Herself
2008 Australian Idol Herself Arena appeared as a guest judge together with ex-Savage Garden member, Darren Hayes. She later on appeared as a mentor for the Idols' Choice week to the remaining top 3 contestants
2008 RocKwiz Herself Arena performed a duet with Jeff Martin. The two performed a rendition of a Kate Bush and Peter Gabriel track called "Don't Give Up"
2009 An Audience with Tina Arena Herself Arena performed songs from her Songs of Love & Loss albums as Australian media and other celebrities watched and asked her questions in between performances
2009 Talking Heads Herself Arena talked about her life and career and how proud she is being an Australian
2009 Vive les comédies musicales! Herself
2009 Plus de vie Herself Arena performed "Aimer jusqu'à l'impossible"
2009 Les Enfoirés font leur cinéma Herself
2009 Spicks and Specks Herself
2010 Sunrise Herself Arena performed "Wasn't It Good" in support of her album Live: The Onstage Collection
2010 Postcards Herself Arena discussed her 2010 concert tours, visited her favourite cafes in Melbourne, and promoted her album, Live: The Onstage Collection
2010 Today Show Herself Arena discussed her trips to France, Young Talent Time and promoted her album, Live: The Onstage Collection
2010 ARIA Music Awards Herself Arena inducted former host of Young Talent Time, Johnny Young into the ARIA Hall of Fame. At the ARIA Awards, Arena gave a live performance of the song "Here Comes the Star".
2010 Good News Week Herself Arena performed "The Look of Love" and promoted her then-new live album, Live: The Onstage Collection
2010 Who Do You Think You Are? Herself Season 3, Episode 3 - The episode featured Arena travelling to Sicily to discover her ancestral roots and family secrets[263]
2010 Hey Hey It's Saturday Herself Arena performed "Only Women Bleed" to promote her album, Live: The Onstage Collection
2011 Sidaction Herself Arena performed her version of "Call Me" from her album, Songs of Love & Loss 2
2011 A Current Affair Herself Arena talked about her Young Talent Time 2012 stint as mentor and judge
2011 Flood Relief Appeal Herself Arena performed "I Only Want to Be with You" to raise funds and support for the flood victims of Northern Queensland
2011 Le Grand Studio RTL Herself Arena performed a duet with Gérard Lenorman for their French single, "Voici les clés"
2011 Le plus grand cabaret du monde Herself
2011 Dans l'oeil des Enfoirés Herself
2011 2011 Tour de France Herself Arena performed the Australian national anthem, "Advance Australia Fair" as Cadel Evans won the competition
2012 So You Think You Can Dance Herself Arena's songs were used during performances of the contestants. In 2011, "Everybody Hurts" was played and in 2012 "Nights in White Satin" took the turn
2012 The Project Herself
2012 Talkin' 'Bout Your Generation Herself Arena talked about her then-current role as a judge and mentor on the revival of Young Talent Time
2012 Young Talent Time Herself Arena appeared as a mentor to the new YTT team and a judge for the talent quest portion of the show
2012 APRA Music Awards Herself Arena and Tex Perkins performed the Gotye hit, "Somebody That I Used to Know"
2013 Today Show Herself Arena talked about her upcoming Australian tour and showed snippets of her in the studio recording her album, Reset.
2013 Dancing with the Stars Herself Arena won third place during the 13th season of the Australian franchise.
2013 Sunday Night Herself The episode features Arena traveling the streets of Paris France, and the Australian Outback while talking about her album, Reset.
2013 Sunrise Herself Arena discussed her album, Reset.
2013 The Morning Show Herself Arena discussed her album, Reset.
2013 The Daily Edition Herself Arena discussed her album, Reset.
2013 The X Factor Herself Arena performed live the first single, "You Set Fire to My Life" from her album, Reset and was also a mentor for this episode.
2013 Studio 10 Herself December 10, Arena discussed her album, Reset.
2013 Carols in the Domain Herself Arena opened the concert, performing "O Come All Ye Faithful"
2014 Sunrise Herself Arena performed the first single, "You Set Fire to My Life" from her album, "Reset"
2014 So You Think You Can Dance Herself Arena performed her single, "Reset All", from her album, "Reset"
2014 Logie Awards Herself Arena performed "Only Lonely" during the 'In Memoriam' tribute[264]
2015 ARIA Music Awards

ARIA Hall of Fame

Herself Arena was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame by Kylie Minogue, after Australian cyclist Cadel Evans had presented Arena with her 'ARIA Hall of Fame Award'. At the ARIA Awards, Arena performed "Chains" live with The Veronicas & Jessica Mauboy.
2016 The Project Herself December 8, Promoting 'Versailles: Treasures From The Palace' exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia
2017 Have You Been Paying Attention? Herself Season 6, Episode 1 - Guest Quiz Master
2017 The Project Herself April 10, Promoting Innocence to Understanding Tour & Greatest Hits & Interpretations Album
2017 The Project Herself August 21, Promoting Evita Australian Stage Production Tour 2018

Awards

Main article: List of awards and nominations received by Tina Arena

Arena has won several awards, including seven ARIA Awards and the World Music Award for best-selling Australian artist, which she received in both 1996 and 2000. In 2009 she was awarded the Knighthood of the Order of National Merit by the President of the French Republic, Nicolas Sarkozy, for her contributions to French culture. She is the first Australian to have received that order of state.[265][266][267] In November 2015 she was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame at the annual awards ceremony.[11]

[ Source: Wikipedia ]