Two French records, multiple tours in and around France and the birth of her son have been keeping Tina Arena occupied the last 12 years. The much-loved Australian artist has released her first English original work in over a decade to the delight of eagerly awaiting fans.
“I think that everybody needs to press that button at some stage in their live,” Arena tells me from the garden of her Melbourne family home. She is of course referring to the title of her latest album: Reset.
“Some people press it more regularly than others and some never press it at all. I think there comes a time where you move on, you change things and you find out some things are not as important as you first thought.
“I’m realising it’s important to be happy when you’re fortunate enough to choose your own path and have basic things like your family and a support network. For me, it’s not about having $20 million in the bank and stepping over anybody or anything to get what I want.”
Working with the dynamic Mattias Lindblom and Anders Wollbeck this time around, who she describes as “a couple of wonderful Swedish Vikings”, Arena has created a record that is eclectic, contemporary and above all, deeply personal.
“When we met, they were very interesting and unique days,” she retells. “We all gelled intellectually, we all gelled musically, creatively, and as people. They’re great guys – very passionate about what they do and respectful of who they collaborate with.”
Arena was also recently voted the greatest Australian female singer of all time by her Aussie music peers – an accolade she didn’t accept lightly.
“It’s pretty mind-blowing. Wow – I didn’t have many words for that. What an extraordinary compliment.”
Writing for Reset coincided with the commencement of writing her first autobiography. In Now I Can Dance, Arena opens up about her near 40-year long career, life in the international limelight, and her high profile divorce from her former manager Ralph Carr.
“Let’s face it, let’s keep it pretty simple; you either take the plunge and write the memoir yourself and collaborate with a wonderful author, or someone else who doesn’t really know you or understand you does it for you. It was important that I tell my story rather than somebody else.”
It was an early career start for Arena, who had her break as an eight-year-old performer on Young Talent Time. Almost four decades on and eight million album sales later, after riding the highs and lows of the music industry, she is now a cherished household name.
“I think it’s just survival,” she says. “Trying not to lose your identity and not forgetting why you do what you do. If you can survive nearly four decades, you’re obviously doing something right. I’m constantly pushing borders because I love what I do.”
With Reset and Now I Can Dance finally out for public consumption, her current work on hit series Dancing with the Stars and a jam-packed touring schedule on the horizon, things are beginning to heat up again for Arena. But the artist is taking it all in her stride and has the same advice for other performers.
“Make sure you let your mum looks after you, take your moments off if you can, spend time with your parents and enjoy being nurtured and supported.”
Reset is out now through EMI.