Born in Moonee Ponds, Victoria, on November 1st 1967 to Franca and Giuseppe Arena. Philipina was inspired to sing after hearing her sister's record ' You're My World' by Daryl Braithwaite. She quickly learned the words off by heart, and performed the song at her cousin's wedding in the Springvale Town Hall. It brought the house down. Her family soon realized that she had a gift. So after a lot of nagging, Tina took singing lessons. She had a well known teacher and often a lot of her students would go on to compete on an Australian show, 'Young Talent Time' hosted by Johnny Young. She changed her name from Philipina (nickname was Pina) to Tina. At the age of 7 she performed as a contestant 4 times, winning 3 heats. Tina was then asked to be a permanent member of the team. "Tiny Tina" became a household name. Tiny Tina was a favorite on YTT, she was given the best work experience possible, getting to record, release records and perform live every week. Sadly, like any kid on TV, she had a hard time from her classmates at school. At the age of 16, it was a YTT policy to retire their stars, for her final performance she sang The Way We Were and McArthur Park. Tina completed highschool and had a go at a normal job as an insurance clerk. This did not last long. Tina realized her destiny was with music. In 1987 Tina released the catchy pop tune Turn Up The Beat, but there was no follow up album. The end of the decade saw her tour with Lional Ritchie and sing TV commercial jingles.
During that time, Tina scored the role of Renata in �Nine -The Musical�, and had 1 solo song but was required on stage for the entire show. Tina struggled to be taken seriously and shake off the 'Tiny Tina' tag. She suffered rejection from every major record company in Australia and was sadly advised to change her name and lose weight. Thankfully, this was advise Tina did not take. A small record company called 'Avenue Records' teamed with EMI and realized her potential and gave her that long awaited record deal.
1989 was spent performing in a 10 month stint in the David Atkins production, 'Dynamite!' and recording her debut album. This album was titled 'Strong As Steel' and spawned one of 1990�s highest selling singles (I bet those major record companies were sorry now!), 'I Need Your Body'. Accompanying the single was a raunchy video clip which left the 'Tiny Tina' tag for dead. The song went to #3 and was then followed by the gold certified album 'Strong As Steel'. Strong As Steel peaked at #22 on the ARIA charts. A couple more singles were released from the album, but didn't achieve the same success as I Need Your Body. 1991 was filled with club dates around Australia and writing for the next album in Los Angeles. Tina realized she was going nowhere fast.
In 1992 Tina signed up with SONY Music and manager Ralph Carr. He pointed Tina into a new direction, and initially encouraged Tina to write her own music if she wanted to work with him. Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Joseph & The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat" show was set to hit Australian shores. Tina starred as the narrator, hoping it would be a good career move. With the money she earned, Tina flew to L.A. to cowrite songs and record with some well known producers for her first SONY album. The result was �DON'T ASK�. Before its release, Ralph decided to release a single before the album to bait the publics' interest. This single was 'Chains'. A song about being driven to complete frustration and the relationship Tina had with the music business. And it worked. It went to #4 in Australia!!! The album was released on November 11th, 1994 and sold out by the truck load and went gold, then platinum within a few weeks. In January of 1995, the second single 'Sorrento Moon' was released and experienced similar chart success. During this time, Tina and Ralph got engaged. Awwwww. Soon enough is was time to release the next single, 'Heaven Help My Heart'. You could not get away from Tina in 1995 and 1996. She was everywhere! One of Tina�s moments of glory was definitely the ARIA awards. Tina swept up 5 awards and made history by becoming the first female artist to win both song of the year and album or the year (check the awards page for more details). She was ecstatic. Almost a year later after the album was released, though it was riding high in the charts - it finally peaked at #1 due to her frequent appearances on Australian TV shows like Good Morning Australia, Hey! Hey! It�s Saturday, Midday, IMT, drawing thousands of viewers, not to mention the hype from her upcoming tour. Don't Ask even kept Madonna's much anticipated 'Something To Remember' album from a #1 debut. Another dream came true for Tina, was asked to perform the national anthem at the 1995 AFL Grand Final in front of gazillions of people world wide. But then the moment fans had been waiting for, national tour dates went on sale! It was to take Tina to many venues all around Oz, including many small and large towns and many major cities. They could not have thought of a more appropriate name - �You Asked For It Tour...�. All tickets sold out, and then encore performances, 'You Asked For More ... The Encore' were announced at 3 capital cities. All shows sold out once again. During the tour, Wasn�t It Good was released including 3 live tracks from the tour. Finally, Tina married her manager (name one singer who hasn�t?) Ralph Carr. The wedding was meant to be a secret, but Ch.10 news managed to catch Tina going into the chapel. To cap off 1995, Tina was announced as Australia's highest selling female artist in history baby! And Don't Ask was the highest selling album of 1995 & 1996. Her last performance in Australia was at the Australia Day Concert before packing her bags to head overseas.
After the HUGE success of Don't Ask in Australia, it was time to crack Tina into the overseas market. First stop was England. After her performance on the legendary British show Top Of The Pops, 'Chains' charted at #6 in Britain, and made the top 10 in Ireland and Holland. Her performance was one to remember, most artists on the show mime to their tunes, however Tina showed she could cut it live and done just that.
Next stop was the United States. After an exclusive showcase, SONY America announced they would make Tina their priority artist. Chains became the most added song to radio in US history making some 200 stations in its first week. However, due to lack of promotion it and consequently low single sales, it only just managed the top 40. SONY urged Tina to record a cover of 'Show Me Heaven,' specifically for the US market, but sadly it didn't make a dent in the charts.
But back in Australia many radio stations were playing imported versions of 'Show Me Heaven', yet Sony refused to release it there because it was only for the US market. It was a fantastic opportunity missed. To cap this era off, Tina released a home video called �Don�t Ask - The Shortfilms,� annotated by Tina, takes you on her journey, through the success and the video clips. The video achieved Gold status. Tina flew back to Europe to attend the World Music Awards where Tina was awarded the 'Highest Selling Australian Artist' (in history!)
After a long wait, talks of the next album were amounting. The only release in sight was a song on the 'One Fine Day' soundtrack which featured the song 'Love's Funny That Way'. Much talk and hype was circulating about Tina's next album.
. . . Those rumors finally amounted to something, and a new song called 'Burn' was released to the air waves. It was picked up by every major radio station in the country, making history ... again! (due to its Pop/Adult Contempary cross-over). The single debuted and peaked at #2, Tina's highest position on the singles charts, thus far. And it would have reached #1 any other week if Hanson's MMMBop wasn't happening. Soon, the single generated enough hype and the release date for the album, 'In Deep', was announced. After a postponement in August �97, the long awaited follow up to Don't Ask was released. It had been 4 years since the last album. �In Deep' was definitely a Tina album, with a mixture of big ballads, light rock songs and folksy pop tunes. 12 tracks listed, plus a hidden one; Stay. The album entered the charts at #1 and went Gold on pre-orders alone, another record set by Our Tina. In Deep was the first album by an Australian female artist to debut at the top of the charts, and signified a change in the music industry. No more would albums and singles have to slowly rise to the top spot, which was something we had come to expect, that big names, a lot of publicity can gain debut at #1 now. In Deep was produced by the legendary talent of Mick Jones, who also had the early 80�s hit, �I Want To Know What Love Is� which consequently Tina did a slightly more up tempo remake of. After a ridiculously long wait, the 2nd single �If I Didn�t Love You� was released. This proved to be a bad mistake, it barely dented our charts and wasn't a favorite amongst fans. Another tour was announced, �In Deep Live�. Not to the scale of 'You Asked For It', however it proved yet another sell out! The concert was televised on Channel 9, and was overly edited. Then the Official Tina Fan Club got the fans hyped up about an In Deep Live video, which never happened. Now I Can Dance was the third single from In Deep and surprisingly performed much better then the second single, peaking at #13. In Deep was now 4x platinum, thus solidifying her place as Australia's highest selling female artist. Leaflets appeared throughout all SONY Music home videos, and included a picture of In Deep Live. Now you explain that one??? Mistake #3!
Soon it was off to Europe and America to promote In Deep. In England, Tina did an interview with a UK Men's magazine and was quoted on some comments she made about the other female Aussie singer Natalie Imbruglia. The Australian press soon picked up on it and conveniently quoted Tina out of context, to create a scandal between the stars, generating a lot of negative press for Tina. The next single released was the Mick Jones's cover which did even worse in the charts. This song would have had a better chance if Sony promoted it and bothered to put more effort into the video clip. 'If I Was A River', a new song penned by Diane Warren was recorded, and Sony had to (ironically) foot the bill of $1million for its video clip. The clip was shot along the Nile River in Egypt (for you quick ones, that�s why it was so expensive) and was directed by long-time RCM (Ralph Carr Management) art-director, Pierre Baronie.
While in Europe, Tina was asked by James Hornor and Will Jennings (of Titanic fame) to sing the theme song with Ricky Martin for the movie 'The Mask Of Zorro'. Ricky Martin was said to be really looking forward to working with Tina, but unfortunately had to back out due to his commitments with the success of his World Cup soundtrack. Marc Anthony replaced him. Tina has remained coy about the situation, suggesting something more occurred. The single REALLY took off in Europe, and particularly became a colossal hit France. The single went to #3 there, #5 in Holland, while the soundtrack went to #7 in France, and soon everyone became interested in Tina. Sony decided to concentrate their efforts of Tina's new found success in France, and Tina choose to commit with the release 'I Want To Know What Love Is' which experienced even more success. Tina made quite a name for herself over there, and became in demand on every French TV show and radio station. France was now a priority market for Tina, and followed her instincts to give this country what they want! She treated them to 2 French tracks (included on In Deep), 'Aller Plus Haut' (I Want To Go Higher) and 'Les Trois Cloches' (Three Bells Ringing - Edith Piaf cover). Aller Plus Haut was the first French single and just missed the top spot, but still reached platinum status, while Les Trois Cloches experienced similar success. Surprisingly, both tracks made it to #1 in Belgium. In Deep went on to sell 1 million units in France alone, making her one of only five Anglophone artists to achieve this level of sales. With her continually growing fan base in France, Tina played 2 shows in Paris. This ultimately caught the eye of the Notre Dame de Paris organizers, and they offered her the part of Esmeralda in the English version of the musical - without an audition! Opening night seemed to be a show stopper, Tina receiving rave reviews and standing ovations throughout. Tina said they received a standing ovation every night, except once, this fickle audience were critics - need I say more!
During this successful time, Tina and Ralph filed for divorce. The news was broken through Australian trash mags 'Woman's Day' and 'Who Weekly'. Tina avoided talking about this matter, because it was obviously very painful for both of them. She briefly referred to this time (in a Channel [v] interview) as being very unhappy, stressful and dark. While Tina completed her stint in Notre Dame de Paris, she began writing for the next album.
Once again, Tina was invited to attend the 2000 World Music Awards. She performed 'Live For The One I Love' from Notre Dame de Paris and won 'Highest Selling Australian Artist' (again) due to the 1 million in sales in France. Her performance remains one of the best yet! While the prospect looked very dim for her to sing at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, it finally became a very real reality on August 9th! She flew in from London to attend the press conference, with fellow Aussie stars, Olivia Newton-John, John Farnham, John Williamson, Julie Andrews & Vanessa Amorossi. Tina's song, "The Flame", which was penned by John Foreman (the musical director of Good Morning Australia) had been secretly recorded to be released on a special Olympic CD compilation, along with the other singers, and would be released on September 15th. Tina flew back to England to finish her run in Notre Dame de Paris (before Dannii Minogue took over her role). Tina's performance was amazing, and her dress received just as much attention. It was designed by Australian designer Fiona Scanlan. Unfortunately, NBC in America edited out Tina's performance to fit the Olympic Ceremony into their 2 hour telecast, which is really sad as that may have been her big break there (mistake #4). While in America, Tina was approached by an American country singer called 'Jo Dee Messina' who had already recorded a demo of 'Burn'. She asked Tina for permission if she could do a cover of it. Lucky Tina said yes, because it gave her an American #2!
After a wave of success overseas, the Australian market had been greatly lacking. Tina thought it was time to show Australia what she had been doing for the past 3 years. Souvenirs, a collection songs that were released to overseas markets only. It included fantastic cover art, multimedia and track listing. The tracks were divided into 3 sections, Film/TV, Live/Stage and Overseas. Souvenirs debuted at dismal #37 and only lasted in the charts for 3 weeks. This album was for the fans though. We also got a string of in-store sign-ins! Tina was announced to be the Australian ambassador at Melbourne Fashion Week. Her duties included wearing nice clothes, attending fashion parades and doing interviews on radio, TV and in magazines.
Tina took time out for a well deserved break. She flew to LA to write more songs and start recording for the next album. This album was set to take Tina in a different direction. She wrote some songs with Desmond Child (Ricky Martin fame) and it was produced by Nile Rodgers (Madonna: Like A Virgin fame). Come September 2001, and the new song 'Soul Mate #9' was released to radio. SM9 was a dancey, catchy pop tune, perfect for radio today, but radio thought otherwise. It debuted at #54 on the national airplay chart and gained momentum very slowly in the lead up to the release. Tina performed SM9 on the 15th Annual Aria Awards and Rove [live], and appeared on The Panel, Today and the Ray Martin Show. The single debuted at #22, which is very out of fashion for a Tina Arena lead-off single, but was still very good considering the slow momentum of airplay. However, the album, Just Me, debuted at #7 on the ARIA charts in a tough week for releases, and #47 in the French charts, with no single, airplay or advertisements. This was Tina's first album of new material in more then 4 years, and took an intentional shift in style. While it was critically acclaimed by reviews, Tina was snubbed by the ARIA Awards committee. Nominations for best female artist included Holly Valance and Nicole Kidmen - hello?!? Did someone mention credibility?
Tina scored the role of saucy Sally Bowles in the Australian revival of Cabaret. She starred alongside Human Nature's Toby Allen as The Master of Ceremonies, both achieving rave reviews. Tina's role was only for the Sydney leg, from August 15th until November 22nd. Upon the hype of this show, Sony released a third, and final single from Just Me, "Symphony Of Life". Tina originally wanted this song to be the first single, as it was a good and logical bridge between the old music and the new music. A Melbourne newspaper devoted a large double-spread story to radio "banning" Tina, upon the lack of support for the last few singles. Nova claimed they "had not received one single request for Tina since they went on air". (This is complete bullshit, because I request on the very first day, for the first week to no avail.) Despite this, Tina scored her biggest hit since Now I Can Dance, Symphony Of Life debuted and peaked at #8, and FM radio grudgingly started playing the remix.
During early 2003, Tina met DJ Ray Roc at a New York nightclub. Introduced by a mutual friend, he wasted no time asking her if she would lend her vocals to a song he penned called "Never (Past Tense)". Soon, cult US gay show, 'Queer As Folk' picked up the track for their 3rd season, and Never was to start an amazing journey. Released in May in the UK, by June it was gaining an underground following in the USA and reached it's 'peak' of #4 on the Dance Charts, by import only. Come November, and Never suddenly rebounds onto the Dance/Club play charts hitting #1, and finally debuted in the Billboard Hot 100 at #97!
Mid-November, Tina quickly returned home to perform some theatre Australian shows. 'An Evening With Tina Arena' was Tina's first tour in five years, in Sydney and Melbourne. She gave a dynamic performance, belting her way through hits from Don't Ask to Just Me, with a couple of new songs along the way. One of these is called 'Talk To Me'. A classic Arena-style rock ballad, reminiscent of Chains and No Shame, with more dramatic rock production. An expected early 2004 release, this song will be THE comeback to look out for! Says I! << Less Bio