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Interview: Tina Arena


Interview: Tina Arena

Kate Sansome

We recently chatted with Aussie superstar, Tina Arena ahead of her 'Innocence To Understanding’ Greatest Hits show at Thebarton Theatre on October 5th.  Arena first found her fame as a youngster on Young Talent Time before becoming one of Australia's most successful artists. The national treasure made waves back in July when she stunned punters with a surprise performance on stage with Client Liasion at Splendour In The Grass. Among her many accomplishments, Arena is set to release her first ever signature scent, called Renaissance, with Bertrand Duchaufour who has created fragrances for Dior & Givenchy. We spoke to the Australian sweetheart to see what the rest of the year will bring for Tina Arena. 

Thanks for talking to This is Radelaide! To kick things off, what has been a highlight of your career so far?

You’re welcome - thanks for having me. That’s a tough question, there have been loads of highlights, the ones that come to mind first are having success with music sung in other languages, opening the Sydney Olympics with my parents in the audience, winning ARIA “album of the year” and receiving an order of Merit in Australia and France.

How do you feel the Australian music industry has changed over the course of your career?

How long do you have? Haha, in so many ways. I started releasing my music on vinyl, then it went to cassette, to CD to MP3 and now streaming. There are very few major labels now, not many record stores, social media is a real driver, there are fewer radio formats, media is fragmented, it’s changed completely.

If you could change anything in the Australian music industry, what would it be and why?

I’d change the radio content quotas so more Australian music could be heard. The Australian music being played here is very low compared to other countries who play much more local content.

Earlier this year, you released your fifth compilation album, ‘Greatest Hits & Interpretations.’ What kind of process do you go through when compiling a compilation album in comparison to a conventional album?

It’s physically much easier to do a Greatest Hits. When I record an originals album, it involves a lot of time in the studio and a lot of time songwriting which involves a lot of travel too.A "greatest hits" is mentally challenging, choosing which songs to include, which songs to leave off, what I like vs what the audience want. It’s a bit of a jigsaw. 

Do you experience any particular emotions when you listen to your previous albums?

I don’t listen to my old albums very much. Different songs evoke different memories and feelings though.

How do you feel your sound has grown and changed over the years?

That's a hard one for me to answer. I think as a musician I’m constantly evolving and pushing myself. I try to collaborate with interesting people. I’d say my style is pretty diverse, I do pop and ballads and dance, I’ve toured with orchestras, I’d say my sound evolves project by project rather than over the years.


You recently surprised audiences when you performed with Client Liaison at Splendour In The Grass, how did that come about?

I did vocals on a song called A Foreign Affair which was on their last album. They asked me to join them on stage for their Sydney concert but I was in Europe working. They asked me to join them at Splendour it worked in my schedule, I’d never been there before so I thought “why not” ? It was such a great evening, great open-minded crowd, and Client Liaison are so good live, I love everything about them.

It appears you have collaborated a lot on recent music projects, what do you love most about collaborating with other artists? Is there anyone you haven’t worked with yet that you would love to work with?

I love learning from them, hopefully them learning from me - when different sensibilities come together some real magic can happen. I’ve worked with so many different kinds of artists and I love it. I love the exchange of creativity and knowledge.

You’re kicking off your national tour next month, what can fans expect from the live shows?

It’s a Greatest Hits show, a real celebration. These are my last live shows for a while so I’m going to make the most of it. The band are great, the production and fashion are really good, I’m excited and I just want everyone to escape for a while and have a good time.

You’ve already had such an incredible career, what’s one thing (music related or not) that you’d love to tick off the list?

I want to do more acting, perhaps some more charity work and I’m releasing my first fragrance soon which I’m really excited about. It’s not really a commercial venture, it’s a real passion project. I chose the ingredients from my 3 cultures (Italy, France and Australia) and developed it with Bertrand Duchaufour who has created fragrances for Dior & Givenchy so I can’t wait for it to come out. Oh, I’d also like to have a holiday - that’s definitely on the list. Maybe Argentina or Vietnam, I haven’t visited those places yet.

You can catch Tina Arena on her 'Innocence To Understanding’ Greatest Hits show at Thebarton Theatre on October 5th. You can also sign up for updates for Tina Arena's soon to be released fragrance, Renaissance, here. 

All images via Tina Arena