We complete our week of celebrating Australia’s amazing rock and pop female singers with a recent inductee to the ARIA Hall of Fame – the sensational Tina Arena. In today’s clip, Deborah asks Tina Arena her thoughts on turning 50 (or as Deb refers to it 49A!) in a couple of years and wasn’t surprised with her response – “I think women are even more beautiful in their 50s. They radiate a sense of hope, are totally accepting of their imperfections, of curiosity, of experience, of wanting to just move forward. Think it’s about ‘just don’t put me in a box’, and also recognise the worth of a spirit that has lived a journey”.
Tina 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. Just look at women like Madonna who have a fabulous story to tell and should be heard. Break out of those boxes!
Australian child television star Tina Arena grew into a pair of very large shoes, becoming one of the country’s best-selling female artists in history. Before Arena was a successful recording artist, though, she was Tiny Tina Arena, an eight-year-old performer on the Australian television series Young Talent Time. After auditioning for the talent show and winning the prize several weeks in a row, she was invited to become a permanent member. Seven years later, Arena was still on the show, and though she found it difficult to split her adolescence in two — spending the first half in the camera’s glare while in its shadow after the age of 15 — she began performing in nightclubs and making a few recordings as well as recording commercial jingles.
Tina Arena was set to make her comeback by 1989, at the age of 21. She released her debut album, Strong as Steel, and watched as “I Need Your Body” became one of the biggest singles in the country that year. In 1991, Arena spent much time in Los Angeles working on her songwriting skills, and also toured Australia with a production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (playing the narrator).
In 2012 she returned as a judge on Young Talent Time, the Australian TV show where it all began, and by the end of that year she had completed an Australian tour which saw her backed by many different symphony orchestras. The resulting live album, Symphony of Life, was recorded in Melbourne and issued in November. Reset, her first studio album in a five-year period and her first album of all-original English-language material in over a decade, was finally released in October 2013. The record became another platinum-seller and Arena’s profile remained high in Australia during this time due to her appearances on TV’s Dancing with the Stars. Her autobiography, Now I Can Dance — named after a late-’90s hit single — was also issued to coincide with the album. Eleven, recorded not just in Australia but in France, Sweden, and England, arrived in October 2015. The following month, she entered the ARIA Hall of Fame, welcomed by Kylie Minogue.