Tina Arena Biography

> Fact File :

  Full Name: Tina Arena
  Original Name: Filippina Arena
Profession: Singer
Birthday: 1st November 1967
Place Of Birth: Melbourne
Nationality: Australian
Marital Status: Single
  Descendance: Italian



March, 2001
By Glen Hosking 
Melbourne, Australia

* Click on the pics to view larger versions

"I come from very humble beginnings. My parents were immigrants, they came to the country with no money, and without a concept of the language. My mother always told me that you must always believe in your dream, and you must follow that dream. However, great things don’t come easily, and if they do come easily, someone will take it away from you. You must work hard child, because that’s the only time you ever respect it" Tina Arena, August 1997.


Fillipina Lydia Arena was born on the 1st of November, 1967 in Melbourne Australia. Known as Pina to her family, she adopted the stage name of Tina in the early part of her career. Tina, the daughter of Sicilian immigrants, who migrated to Australia from the small town of Valguarnera is said not to have spoken English until she was five. Tina is the middle of two sisters, Nancy the older, and Silvana the younger, and the close family grew up in the Melbourne suburb of Moonee Ponds.  01.jpg (65507 bytes)
02.jpg (28200 bytes) Tina’s entrance into the performing arts began in the early 1970’s, when she reportedly heard her older sister’s record of Daryl Braithwaite’s ‘You’re My World’. Tina played the song continuously, and learnt the words by heart. Weeks later, as a flowergirl at a relative’s wedding, she sings the song before an appreciative audience. After enjoying the applause, Tina pesters her mother to let her enter a television talent quest. She wins three of her four performances, and the show’s produces subsequently ask her to join the cast of the show as a full-time member. At only seven years of age, Tina joins the iconic ‘Young Talent Time’ (YTT), a weekly Saturday Night television program. For the next seven years, Tina appears weekly in lounge rooms across Australia. 
At this early age, Tina exhibits the characteristics that later become the hallmarks of her performing persona – a souring voice, meticulous lyrical phasing and amazing confidence. Each week, Tina performs to audiences of up to 4 million people Australia wide, and becomes known as ‘Tiny Tina Arena’. Throughout her time on the show, Tina records a large amount of material, the most notable of which is the album ‘Tina Tina and Little John’ which she recorded with fellow cast member John Bowles. As the show’s protocol enforces, at the age of sixteen, Tina leaves YTT. Her YTT finale performance of Donna Summer’s ‘MacArthar Park’ is incredibly well received, and sparks a great deal of media attention. Indeed this is a sign of things to come. cowboy.jpg (72542 bytes)

Tina often talks about her time on YTT as a double-edged sword;

"……it’s given me perspective on every part of the business – we got to sing, we got to dance, we got to record – you couldn’t get a better grounding". "I don’t think that I would have come this far if it wasn’t for those early beginnings"………."like anyone you speak to who’s had childhood beginnings, the audience has seen you go through puberty, they’ve seen you go into adolescents, they’ve seen me enter womanhood. They’ve watched my growth".

06.jpg (6221 bytes) After leaving YTT, Tina embarks on a solo singing career as an adult performer. Tina’s first release as an adult solo artist is the single ‘Turn Up The Beat’ in 1985. The single is produced by Australian rock legend Brian Cadd, and its release sees Tina appearing on many Australian variety programs as an adult singer. However, the single does not achieve chart success, and no follow up album is released. 

Tina then concentrates on completing the final years of secondary college. This includes appearing in the school productions of ‘Sweet Charity’ and ‘The Boyfriend’. Whilst she is studying, Tina is invited to support pop legend Lionel Richie on his Australian national tour. Tina said of the experience;

"Supporting Lionel was just unbelievably, he was great. I enjoyed it immensely".

After finishing school, Tina seeks out further recording work, but is ostracised by the industry that has been so supportive of her in the past. She approaches every Australian record company, but the child-star albatross hangs around her neck, and she is rejected by every one of them. She is told to loose weight and change her name. 

Tina defies the advice, and seeks work on anything she can find, such as working for a short time as a clerk for a Melbourne Insurance Company. She also records a number of advertisement jingles, such as Haymes Paints, Ollies Trollies and Movieland, a jingle that is still heard on radio throughout Australia today. Tina talks openly about how she coped with the rejection from the music industry;

"I went into a shell. I crawled under a rock. I lost an enormous amount of confidence. My spirit had really been thrown around. But I never lost sight of the dream and the vision that I had as a very young girl, and all I ever tried to do was follow that dream."

Tina’s pursuit of her dream pays off when she scores the exhausting role of Renata in the critically acclaimed stage production of ‘Nine’ alongside John Diedrich. The role involves Tina appearing on stage throughout the entire performance, and also sees Tina join the cast in recording the soundtrack, where she performs the song ‘The Grand Canal’. 07.jpg (174193 bytes)

Tina is now starting to be taken seriously as an adult performer, and this is aided by her many performances throughout Australia with a number of the nation’s top bands. The most notable of these include the highly respected nine piece band ‘Network’, where she performs to packed houses at Melbourne’s Grainstore Tavern, as well as David Hirschfelder’s (John Farnham’s musical director) 22 piece Jazz orchestra at the Melbourne Metro nightclub.

Tina then scores a role in the World Premier of David Atkin’s musical production ‘Dynamite’. The production tours Australia for 10 months throughout 1990, and features both original and cover versions of songs linked together by a simple storyline. Writer Tony Sheldon is full of praise for Tina when he talks about how his involvement in the production evolved; 

"When they asked if I would be interested in a project using the talents of the mysteriously under-rated Tina Arena, I said no without any hesitation."

08.jpg (16851 bytes) The production involves a lot of dancing, and sees Tina performing tunes such as ‘River Deep, Mountain High’, and ‘Man in the Mirror’. Atkins said of Tina’s performance; 

"Tina has a Judy Garland-like quality. She radiates energy – it’s there in her voice and in her ability to interpret that music in a way that can move a crowd…."

Shortly after the conclusion of ‘Dynamite’, Tina releases the first track of her debut solo album ‘Strong As Steel’. Entitled ‘I Need Your Body’, it accompanies a revealing film clip that shows Tina in a raunchy rock-starlet persona with pouting lips and a bouncing cleavage. The film clip sparks a frenzy of media attention, with newspaper headlines proclaiming ‘Tiny Tina Grows Up’ (a headline that has been seen many times since!!!). The single sees Tina’s first chart success as an adult solo singer, with the single shooting to number 2 on the charts, and becoming the second highest selling single for the year. Tina’s first album ‘Strong as Steel’ is produced by another Australian music legend, Mike Brady. The album features songs written by Diane Warren and Stevie Wonder, and enjoys moderate success selling over 35,000 copies, and being certified Gold record status in Australia. Further singles from the album include ‘The Machine’s Breaking Down’, ‘Woman’s Work’, and the title track ‘Strong As Steel’.
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Tina then spends the next six months of her life touring the country, promoting the album. She appears at a number of Australia’s clubs and pubs, on television and radio working with the record. Whilst the album allows the nation now sees Tina Arena as a woman and not a child, Tina has said in hindsight that; 

"………it was simple, I was so young and I think this album reflects my youth and not yet developed persona. Nevertheless, I am still very proud of what I achieved with this record".

Unhappy with the way her career is progressing, and the image that she has been forced to adopt, Tina temporarily relocates to the United States. She decides that she wants to write her own material, and thus writes in collaboration with some of the world’s most renowned songwriters.

Tina takes a break from writing in September 1991 following the invitation to be Australia’s representative at the Pan Pacific Festival’s ‘Women with Great Voices’ showcase. The festival tours Japan and sees Tina singing alongside many world renowned female artists such as Chaka Khan. Tina returns home to work with her friend Rick Price on his debut album ‘Heaven Knows’, where she performs backing vocals, and sings the duet with Rick ‘House Divided’. Tina spends a further month in Los Angeles writing material, and whilst she is there, teams up with Rick again at the ‘Wizards of Oz’ showcase, a concert that shows America the breath of talent in Australia. Tina is also said to have declined an offer to play the leading female role in the smash hit Australian movie ‘Strictly Ballroom’ around this time. 13.jpg (22014 bytes)
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Tina arrives back in Australia in 1992, and spends the rest of the year writing with some of the nation’s top songwriters for her forthcoming, and much anticipated second album. In late 1992, Tina takes another break from songwriting following the news that she has won prestigious role of the Narrator in the Australian production of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat’. The musical tells the biblical story of Joseph, and Tina’s role involves telling much of the story through song.

 The musical opens in Melbourne on New Year’s Eve in 1992, and travels to Brisbane and Sydney for a 10 month season. Tina receives rave reviews for her role in the musical; 

"Tina Arena’s Narrator is faultlessly sung and strongly characterised"…….."The Narrator’s voice rings through the state theatre with the purity of a church bell".

Following the conclusion of Tina’s involvement in the musical, she returns to LA and begins recording her second album. She works with American producer Dave Tyson, who has previously worked with Alannah Myles on her worldwide smash hit ‘Black Velvet. Tyson says of Tina;

"The first thing that struck me immediately, as probably has most people who have heard Tina sing, that even at the demo stage, the first thing you notice, within the first eight bars, is her glorious voice, and her consonant skill as a singer. It was evident to me, as well as the great songs she presented, that first and foremost, it’s probably one of the greatest voices that I’ve ever heard or worked with.

On August the 26th, 1994, Tina releases the first single from her second album ‘Chains’. The powerful song about the ecstasy of freedom is an immediate success, reaching number 4 on the Australian charts, and going Gold after just eight weeks. The song proves to be the breakthrough song that Tina needs, and marks her return to the Australian music scene, but this time as an independent and powerful performer. Tina mirrors this when discussing her breakthrough anthem; 

"I’d always had a great feeling about this song, from the minute Steve (Werfel), Pam (Reswick) and I began writing it. It very neatly marks a distinct personal and musical turn around in my life, a real watershed. It’s about letting go of the past and looking forward to a positive future."

And indeed a positive future it was. On November the 11th, 1994, Tina’s eagerly awaited second album ‘Don’t Ask’ is released. Within four weeks, the album is certified Gold, and it wins adulation and praise from both fans and critics alike; 

"Tina’s voice is a revelation these days – it’s clean, true and expressive. It’s her voice that gives this album its identity."

Tina then travels Australia promoting the album. She appears on numerous television programs, and at many live venues, including Melbourne’s Festival Hall, where she performs songs from the album. Other performances include closing the 1994 Australian Music Awards with an amazing performance of ‘Chains’, and singing at Carols by Candlelight before an audience of over 2 million people on Christmas Eve.

At the beginning of 1995, Tina releases the second single from the album, her "personal favourite" ‘Sorrento Moon’. The single is quickly certified Gold status, and helps the album to reach Platinum status (70,000 units). This coincides with Tina’s performance at the Men’s Final of the Australian Open, where she performs ‘Waltzing Matilda’ to a worldwide audience of 70 million people. Tina then travels to Europe in April to promote the international release of ‘Chains’ and ‘Don’t Ask’. ‘Chains’ is released in England amid a fury of media hype and attention, and results in Tina performing the hit on the immortal ‘Top of the Pops’ program. The single reaches number 6 on the UK charts, and also reaches the top 10 in Ireland and Holland.

Meanwhile, the third single ‘Heaven Help My Heart’ is released in Australia in May, and reaches number 22 on the charts. The single’s release helps the album reach 4 times platinum sales (280,000 units)!! This initiates a busy 6 months for Tina which includes the release of the popular ballad ‘Wasn’t it Good’ as the album’s 4th single.

16.jpg (19577 bytes) Tina also finds time to work with Rick Price on his second album ‘Tambourine Mountain’, where she sings the duet ‘Trust Me This Is Love’. In September 1995, Tina continues her busy performance calender, and is invited to perform at the opening of the Australian Football League’s (AFL) Grand Final;

"Walking out onto the arena was torture, but as soon as I got the chance to sing…….. I was fine".

Tina sings acoustic versions of both the Australian National Anthem, and the traditional patriotic song ‘Waltzing Matilda’ to an adoring crowd, and a worldwide audience of 60 million people. She is also happy to see the team she supports in the AFL, Carlton win on the big day.

The following Monday, Tina travels to Sydney for the Australian Record Industry Association Awards (The ARIA’s). Always displaying her down to earth and modest persona, Tina said of the occasion;

"While I knew I had a few nominations, I really didn’t think I had a chance of winning so many". 

Voted by her peers, Tina wins ‘Best Pop Release (Chains)’, ‘Song of the Year (Chains), ‘Female Artist of the Year’, and the prestigious ‘Album of the Year’, becoming the first female to do so. When Tina wins her ‘Album of the Year’ award, she jumps from her seat, and yells "Yes……..that’s the one I was waiting for". Her euphoric win finally puts to doubts and fears that Tina may have had since leaving her childhood stardom behind. The Australian media joined in the applause of Tina’s ARIA success, with headlines reading ‘Tina’s Rock Triumph’, and ‘Our New Pop Diva’. 17.jpg (22517 bytes)
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Tina then travels back to Melbourne for the start of her very first national tour. She performs to sell-out venues across Australia for almost three months;

"When I began this project three years ago, I never dreamed that in such a short space of time, I would be preparing for my own national tour."

Like most Tina Arena performances, she receives extreme critical acclaim;

"…….a gifted rock music-artist with a big belting voice; a wide eyed eargarness to please; and a direct communicative style…a world class rocker’.

Supported by the tour, and the publicity it receives from the ARIA awards, ‘Don’t Ask reaches the #1 position on the Australian charts – exactly one year after it is released. In December, the album reaches seven times platinum (490,000 units) and becomes the highest selling album for 1995. Due to overwhelming demand, Tina performs three more concerts in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane on her ‘encore’ tour. Furthermore, Tina is voted the Variety Club Entertainer of the Year, and goes into the record books as the highest selling female artist in Australian history. 

Tina ends an exhausting year with a bang, when she marries her long time partner, friend and manager Ralph Carr. Whilst Tina and Ralph remain unanimous in their desire to have the event kept private, the wedding attracts a swam of media attention outside the church. 

Tina continues her busy performance calender into the New Year, when she performs at an Australia Day concert at Sydney’s Domain gardens before an audience of over 60,000 people, and a television audience of 2.5 million people. This coincides with the certification that ‘Don’t Ask’ has reached 8 times platinum sales. A fifth single is also released from the smash hit album ‘That’s the Way a Woman Feels’.

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Tina then embarks on a promotional tour to the United States. The first single, ‘Chains’ is released at the beginning of 1996 in America, and enjoys respectable airplay in the US, being one of the most added songs to radio in American music history. ‘Chains’ reaches number 38 on the Billboard charts and enjoys moderate success in an extremely competitive market. ‘Don’t Ask’ fails to do well on the American charts, reaching 142 on the billboard 200 charts. Tina also releases a cover of ‘Show Me Heaven’ in the US as the album’s second single, which is produced by Peter Asher.

In May, 1996 Tina continues her worldwide assault on the music industry when is presented with the ‘World Best Selling Australian Artist’ at the ‘World Music Awards’ in Monaco. At the ceremony, she performs her smash hit ‘Chains’ before a star-studded audience of some of the world’s most influential in the music business, including Celine Dion and Diana Ross. Tina often talks about the thrill that it was to meet Ross, one of her lifelong idols; 

"That woman was probably one of the most instrumental artists in giving me a great sense of music. When I met her in Monte Carlo, I said 'Miss Ross' - I was a little bit frightened to call her Diana - and she was really cool, she said 'I know who you are, you're that girl that sings Chains. What a fine, fine voice.' What can I say? When you're respected by your peers, you can't ask for anything greater."

Throughout the rest of 1996, and early 1997, Tina travels back to Los Angeles, and works on her much anticipated third album, ‘In Deep’. She writes material with a broad range of collaborators, many of whom she has written with before. Four of the album’s tracks are produced by ‘Don’t Ask’ producer Dave Tyson, whilst Tina works closely on the remaining eight tracks with Mick Jones, of Foreigner fame, who has previously produced albums for Billy Joel and Van Halen.

Following the huge success of ‘Don’t Ask’ in Australia, several of Tina’s previous recordings are re-released in Australia. The first of this is ‘Strong As Steel’, which is re-released in 1996. The re-released version contains a number of new tracks not originally on the CD, together with all of the singles from the original release. The second re-release is the ‘Tiny Tina & Little John’ album from Tina’s YTT days, which is re-released in 1998 containing many of the original tracks. 

Tina returns to Australia in July, 1997, and prepares to launch the first single from her third album. Whilst she is preparing, she receives further peer support when she meets Stevie Wonder when he is appearing at Melbourne’s Crown Casino. Stevie invites Tina to sing on stage with him the following weekend. Tina performs his hit song ‘Heaven Help us All’, and then joins Stevie in singing a further four songs. Tina talks about the moment as one of the highlights of her career;

"To me, it was like meeting God" 

Tina then receives further worldwide attention when she is named in Time magazine as one of ‘World’s Top Ten Diva’s’. She appears on the list alongside the likes of superstars Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, and Enya.

‘Burn’, the first single from ‘In Deep’ is released in Australia in July, 1997. Tina describes the single as "a natural extension from ‘Don’t Ask". The single enjoys relentless airplay on Australian radio stations, and subsequently debuts at #4 on the national ARIA charts, and is certified Gold record status.

22.jpg (31896 bytes) ‘In Deep’ is released Australia wide on the 11th of August, 1997. The album debuts at #1 on the national ARIA charts, and is certified Platinum simply by the number of advanced orders that people have made for the record. Tina becomes the first Australian female solo artist to have an album debut at #1. Tina talks about the album as a culmination of lifelong dream;

"There’s a major difference between ‘In Deep’ and ‘Don’t Ask’, in that ‘In Deep’ is the kind of album that I’ve always wanted to make."

Two further singles are released in Australia, the first being ‘If I Didn’t Love You’, a song that Tina wrote whilst promoting ‘Don’t Ask’ in London, and tells of Tina’s love/hate relationship with the music business and the flamenco-tainted Euro-pop style ‘Now I Can Dance’.

Both singles are accompanied by live television performances, and achieve substantial chart success, and radio airplay, with the latter becoming a top 20 hit around Australia. A forth single, the Foreigner cover ‘I Want To Know What Love Is’ is also released.

In November, 1997, Tina embarks on her second national tour ‘In Deep Live’. The tour begins in Perth, and travels to Adelaide, Hobart, Sydney, Brisbane, and concludes in Melbourne in December. She plays to pack houses at some of the nations largest venues, and again receives rave reviews;

 "Arena’s entourage, astronomically large for a local artist, lend masterful support to this masterful performer. She shines with sheer vocal ability, outstanding rapport with her audience, but most of all, talent that is unmatched by any of her Australian counterparts. She is an undoubted superstar."

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‘In Deep’ goes on to become 4 X Platinum, and becomes the second highest selling Australian album of the year.


24.jpg (24965 bytes) Following the success of ‘In Deep’ in Australia, Tina embarks on a world wide tour promoting ‘In Deep’. Whilst she is abroad, she is approached by James Horner, writer of Celine Dion’s smash hit ‘My Heart Will Go On’ from the Titanic soundtrack to record a song for the soundtrack for Steven Spielberg’s film ‘The Mask of Zorro’. The song ‘I Want to Spend My Lifetime Loving You’ is originally to be a duet with Latin superstar Ricky Martin, but he pulls out of the commitment, and the song is recorded with Martin’s Latino counterpart Marc Anthony. The song is released as a single in many countries around the world, reaches #3 on the French charts, and becomes a multi-platinum hit.

Tina has another opportunity to record for a movie soundtrack, with the release of ‘One Fine Day’, a block buster film showcasing the talents of George Clooney and Michelle Phieffer. Tina talks about how her self penned ‘Love’s Funny That Way’ came to be included on the movie’s soundtrack;

"The whole thing came together with remarkable speed. I’d been invited to an advanced screening to see if I could do something for the soundtrack. Three quarters of the way through the film, I turned to a friend and said ‘I’ve got a song that would be perfect for this film’. By the following morning I’d sent the produces a copy of a demo version of the song, and within an hour of receiving it, they rang and told me they loved it and asked me to go straight into a studio and record it."

Tina receives further international attention, when she reunites with world renowned composer, Andrew Lloyd Webber, following his invitation to record the title track for the album that accompanies the opening of the west end musical ‘Whistle Down the Wind’;  25.jpg (43703 bytes)

"That came out of nowhere………Andrew rang me at home in L.A. one day and said ‘Jim Steinman and I have written a new show, we’ve written a title track and we can really hear you singing it.’……. When I heard the song, I cried. I’m a bit of an emotional sop anyway, but I was moved by the purity, the innocence and the vulnerability of it, you just don't hear that anymore in a lot of songs."

The song is released as a single in the UK, and reaches number 22 on the charts. Tina performs the song on the ‘Top of the Pop’s’ program, and also at Lloyd Webber’s 50th birthday celebration. Tina opens the celebration with her breathtaking performance, which is televised live throughout England. Whilst she is in the UK, Tina is asked to perform at a concert for Prince Charles’ personal foundation where she performs a number of songs including ‘Whistle Down the Wind’ and ‘Chains’. Tina has further opportunity to perform live when she is invited by the Bee Gees to perform at their concert at Wembley Stadium.

‘In Deep’ is soon released internationally, and whilst the basic structure of the album remains the same worldwide, a number of additional songs are recorded for different overseas markets. The official international version features many additional tracks such as the previously unheard ‘No Shame’, and ‘If I Was a River’, a song written by Diane Warren especially for Tina, together with ‘I Want to Spend My Lifetime Loving You’, and ‘Whistle Down the Wind’. Tina said prior to the release of ‘In Deep’ in the US;

"It has always been a desire for me to break into the American market because it's something that has enticed me ever since I was a child…….I come from 22 years of honing and perfecting my craft, to be in this very fortunate and privileged position that I am in today. America is just a part of the big picture. But, if it works, terrific. And if doesn't, it wasn't meant to be."

‘If I Was a River’ is released as a single in the US, and sees Tina appearing on many American television shows, such as ‘Donny & Marie’ promoting the song, whilst the album receives critical acclaim from critics throughout the US;

"Anyone who has every embraced pop music at its best should latch onto this radiant collection. Arena has glorious pipes, a charismatic presence, and the song writing savvy of a lifelong hitmaker."

27.jpg (12266 bytes) Following the release of ‘In Deep’ in the US, Tina receives further US exposure, and admiration from her peers, when she is invited to perform with Donna Summer in her showcase tour in New York. Tina sings the legendary ballad ‘No More Tears – Enough is Enough’ with Summer, a song that was originally recorded with Barbra Striesand. Tina discusses the moment with fond memories; 

"I’d met her (Summer) the night before at a party, and during the course of our conversation, she’d asked if I’d like to sing with her the following night. I couldn’t really believe it – but there I was – not 24 hours later, on stage with one of my childhood heroes. It was so much fun – that night will stay with me forever."

Tina’s duet with Summer is later featured on the ‘Donna Summer Live’ album and video. Summer’s album featuring the duet then goes platinum in the US, whilst Tina receives unanimous praise for her performance; 

"The duet with Tina Arena ‘No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)’ helps to really kick things into overdrive. Arena more than adequately fills Barbra Streisand's shoes for this song"……."Streisand is not missed". 

Following the success of ‘I Want to Spend My Lifetime Loving You’ in France, Tina records two French songs for the French version of ‘In Deep’. The first is ‘Aller Plus Haut’ (Go Higher), which becomes a huge hit for Tina, reaching #2 on the French charts, and selling over 600,000 copies. The song also hits the upper region of the charts in Switzerland and Belgium. Tina follows this up with a version of the Edith Piaf classic ‘Les Trios Cloches’ (The Three Bells), which reaches #6 on the French chart, and #1 on the Belgian chart. ‘In Deep’ becomes a smash hit throughout France and reaches #3 on the charts.

In May 1999, Tina ends months of speculation, and announces that she has split from her husband and manager Ralph Carr. Meanwhile, in November 1999, Tina makes a brief trip back to Australia to appear at the opening of Fox Studios in Sydney. She performs Celine Dion’s hit ‘My Heart Will Go On’ at the conclusion of the concert.
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30.jpg (23436 bytes) Tina is later asked to record a duet with Italian singer-songwriter Luca Barbarossa. The duet ‘Segnali Di Fumo’ (Smoke Signals) becomes a top ten hit in Italy, whilst ‘Aller Plus Haut’ makes it to the top 10 of France’s top 100 singles of 1999. Furthermore, Tina wins ‘Best International Revelation of the Year’ at the NRJ awards, against the competition of Ricky Martin, and Lauren Hill. Whilst in France, Tina performs a sell-out concert at the prestigious ‘The Olympia’ theatre in Paris. She then gives a follow up concert at the ‘Palais Des Sports’. Tina joins the likes of Michael Jackson and Sting in becoming one of only five non-French artists to sell over a million albums in France. 

Whilst in France, Tina is asked to sing on the soundtrack of the English language version of ‘Notre Dame de Paris’ (The Hunchback of Notre Dame). Tina says of her meeting where the soundtrack was discussed;

"They asked me to be a part of the soundtrack, then at the end of that meeting, they said there is another question to ask, and would you be interested in playing the role on the West End. And I was a bit gobbsmacked, I kinda had to pick my teeth up off the floor"

Tina accepts the offer, but before the show opens in the UK, Tina wins another ‘World Music Award’ for the highest selling Australian Artist, and gives an amazing performance of ‘Live (For the One I Love)’ from ‘Notre Dame De Paris’. Tina opens on the West End at London’s Dominion Theatre in April, 2000 playing the leading female part of Esmerelda. Whilst the musical receives mixed reviews, critics were unanimous in their praise of Tina’s performance;  31.jpg (30178 bytes)

"Australian diva Tina Arena makes a sexy, sultry, strong voiced Esmerelda."

Tina’s show stopping song from the show, ‘Live (For The One I Love)’ is released as a single in the UK, although it fails to succeed in the charts. Tina performs each night in the musical for four months in the show’s UK premier season. 

Tina temporarily puts her ‘Notre Dame de Paris’ performances on hold, and flies back to Australia for a special announcement. Ending years of speculation, Tina’s fans rejoice at the news that Tina is to feature in the opening ceremony of the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. It is announced that Tina will perform a new song ‘The Flame’ written by young Australian musician John Foreman immediately before the pivotal moment of the ceremony when the Olympic cauldron is lit.

 Whilst she is in Australia, Tina records the song ‘The Day the World Stood Still’ for the Australian movie ‘The Dish’ a movie about Australia’s involvement in the first moon walking. The film’s musical director Jane Kennedy said of compiling the soundtrack;

"Finally, we needed one special voice, almost as an instrument to feature in the finale of the film. Tina Arena, in a quick visit home agreed to lend her wonderful voice before heading back to her soaring career in London on the West End and in Europe."

32.jpg (7048 bytes) Tina then returns to the UK and concludes her ‘Notre Dame De Paris’ commitments, and then starts rehearsals for the Olympic Opening Ceremony. Then, on the evening of September the 15th, just before Australian athlete Cathy Freeman lights the Olympic Cauldron, Tina performs her inspirational anthem ‘The Flame’, before a immediate audience of 120,000 people, and a world wide audience of 4 billion people – or a third of the world’s population!! Tina’s homecoming performance is met with a standing ovation from the audience. Tina says of the experience;

" I knew it was going to be a moment that would be the highlight of my career. I was so proud to be representing my country – it humbled me tremendously. I was grateful and proud to be celebrating the greatest country in the world."

The album of music from the opening ceremony, where Tina is featured as the first track is subsequently released, and debuts at #1 on the Australian charts and holds the position for three weeks.

Following the opening ceremony, Tina takes a short break, but returns to be a guest presenter at the 2000 ARIA awards. At the awards, Tina receives the surprise ‘Outstanding Achievement’ award in recognition for sale in excess of 1 Million units in France. Tina describes the award as; 34.jpg (33097 bytes)

" An incredible honour, and what a great way to come home".

36.jpg (15101 bytes) Tina then releases the album ‘Souvenirs’ in Australia, a collection of previously un-released songs from the previous two years that Tina has spent abroad. The album includes tracks such as ‘I Want to Spend My Lifetime Loving You’, ‘Show Me Heaven’ and ‘If I Was a River’, together with a number of tracks live a ‘The Olympia’, as well as ‘Aller Plus Haut’ and ‘Les Trios Cloches’. Tina enthuses when she discusses the eclectic collection;

"Souvenirs is mainly for my Australian fans – it’s like a musical journey of where I’ve been – postcards from my journey that I want to share with them."

The album debuts inside the top 40 on the Australian charts, and is certified Gold in the week it is released. However, unlike Tina’s previous releases, there is little promotion, and no accompanying single releases or live performances. Subsequently, the album fails to achieve the success that her previous releases have.

Whilst Tina’s efforts as a world-class performer have never been underestimated, her competent song writing talents have not gone unnoticed either with a number of artists have recording covers of Tina’s songs. Country and Western artist Wynonna Judd has recorded the Tina hits ‘Heaven Help My Heart’ and ‘Love’s Funny that Way’, whilst her fellow country artist, Terri Clark recorded ‘Unsung Hero’ from Tina’s ‘In Deep’ album. Jo-Dee Messina has had huge success covering ‘Burn’ where the song reached #2 on the American Country music charts, whilst Pam Tillis recorded her version of ‘If I Didn’t Love You’. Little known Czech singer Lucie Bila covered the smash hit ‘Chains’ for her Úplne Nahá-Pouta album, whilst Italian singer Laura Pausini recorded ‘The Extra Mile’, a song that was written by Tina, but never recorded. Pausini’s song was included on the soundtrack for the Pokemon 2 movie. 

Today, Tina remains the highest selling female artist in Australia’s history, and is the second highest selling Australian solo artist in history, trailing John Farnham by only 50,000 units. It is often said that more than 1 in 10 Australians own a Tina Arena album. Currently, Tina is busy writing and recording material for her forth studio album to be released later this year. Tina is said to be writing with Desmond Child who has collaborated with Aerosimth, and is responsible for the Bon Jovi hits ‘Living On A Prayer’ and ‘You Give Love a Bad Name’, and Gary Kemp, of Spandau Ballet fame. She has indicated that her next album will showcase the evolution of her personality, and that;

"People who have never brought a Tina Arena album may go and buy the new Tina Arena album".

37.jpg (8029 bytes) Given that much of Tina’s past writing is autobiographical, many have suggested that this will be her ‘divorce album’. Tina has suggested that it may have a more upbeat dance feel than her previous work, and has also hinted that it may have an ambient electronica style. Tina has also made apparent her desire to record a duet with U2’s Bono, and has also been rumoured to be working on several projects with the Bee Gees. Nevertheless, whatever style her next album adopts, and whomever Tina collaborates with for future projects, history indicates that whatever Tina Arena produces will be a quality product, and revered by her large base of fans worldwide.


Glen Hosking's Acknowledgments.

I would sincerely like to thank and acknowledge Mark Dare, Maribel Escobosa and Mohamed Marwen Meddah for providing various photographs that are included throughout this biography. I would also like to thank and acknowledge the various members of the Tina Arena Egroup, who have supplied a lot of the information contained within this biography. You are too numerous to mention individually. Thank you!.

Glen Hosking's biography won the Tina Arena Biography competition and got to be published on the site as the main biography, anyway I would like to thank Rhiannon Morley for her efforts on her biography, and to show my acknowledgement and appreciation I chose to have a link to her biography, so if you're interested in reading Tina's biography from another point of view, click here ...