Tina Arena : biography
In 1987, four years after she left Young Talent Time, Arena was asked to support American artist, Lionel Richie on his Australian tour, following a number of charity performances. After the tour, came a singing and dancing part in the David Atkins show, ‘Dynamite’. Later she took on the part of the ‘Narrator’ in an Australian production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.MMM Tina Arena website. Retrieved on 26 June 2013.
1988–1993: Strong as Steel
Around the year of 1988, Arena would occasionally appear as a guest on various Australian television shows talking about her tenure on Young Talent Time and shopping around for a new record label.
In 1990 she struck a deal with EMI and at the age of 23, she was reinvented as a raunchy disco diva with the national #3 platinum selling single "I Need Your Body". It gave her a successful album, Strong as Steel, and more hits, but for Tina this was a momentary digression, as this was not a music style or image with which she was comfortable with.howlspace.com.au. Retrieved on 3 December 2012.
1994–1996:Don’t Ask and European success
After a couple of years, Arena broke the stigma of a TV childhood and carved out a successful solo career with Columbia Records. The David Tyson-produced Don’t Ask was Australia’s biggest selling album of 1995 and one of the biggest selling album by any Australian female singer to date. Don’t Ask sold over two million copies worldwide and was certified 10 times platinum in Australia.Arena, Tina – 1994 Don’t Ask. Retrieved on 13 December 2012.
Don’t Ask was recorded in the US which marked a personal and professional development for Arena as this was, according to her, a record that is very much of its time, a record that she is comfortable with in terms of singing the songs and most importantly a work she is proud of as she has co-written 10 out of 11 songs on the album. Arena said:
"I had gotten used to singing other people’s songs, but this time they are my songs and my experience so I can sing them like I mean it. The record is honest and sincere and simple."musicianguide.com. Retrieved on 14 June 2013.
Don’t Ask went gold in its first month of release, platinum in six months and over eight times platinum within a year. The success of the record made her one of the highest selling female artist in Australian history. She is now a "priority artist" for record company Sony which next year plans to launch her into the US market. Her European success has already also been realized. Don’t Ask went to #11 in Britain, charted in Sweden, Switzerland and Germany as well and her first single, "Chains" went to #6 in Britain, #20 in Canada, #9 in Ireland and #7 in New Zealand. She is also the first Australian artist in the last 30 years to have an album debut in the European top ten. In 1995, Arena toured Europe, appearing on Top Of The Pops TV program, which reached an audience of 60 million people. Arena was an unknown and a fresh commodity in this continent and it was a welcome relief now for Arena to walk down the streets unrecognized after years of being under the Young Talent Time "shadow". For many years wherever Arena went, she did endure the inevitable but good natured taunts of "Tiny Tina" and impromptu renditions of "All My Loving", a tune from The Beatles that became synonymous with Young Talent Time as this was the show’s regular closing tune. Arena said:
"I loved every minute of that – of people not knowing who I was. I guess it was tiring fighting the individual thing. It was good to not be apart of a past and being accepted as an artist. Not having to carry this Young Talent Time luggage which was constantly shoved in my face."MMM Tina Arena website. Retrieved on 26 June 2013.
One of the proudest moments of her career was at the Australian Recording Industry Association Music Awards or most commonly known as the ARIA Music Awards in October of 1995, when she was awarded the ‘Best Pop Release’ and ‘Song of the Year’ for "Chains." She also won the award for the ‘Highest Selling Australian album’ and the ‘Best Australian Album’ award for Don’t Ask. In addition, she was awarded Female Artist of the Year. Other accolades she earned were ‘Variety Club Entertainer of the Year’, an ‘Advance Australia Foundation’ award, and a ‘World Music Award’.musicianguide.com. Retrieved on 14 June 2013.