Tina Arena, an icon on the stage

Tina Arena is back this year with new music and heartfelt performances. Darcy Watt speaks to the legendary singer-songwriter about family, home and music.



How did it feel to perform at Adelaide Cabaret alongside other artists to share stories of family/linked generations?

It was a privilege to be able to take on the role of Artistic Director of Adelaide Cabaret Festival for 2022. It was an incredible team and this country is full of incredible talent, many of whom I was thrilled to be performing with as part of the show, Songs My Mother Taught Me. I couldn’t wait to return to Adelaide and share my most loved childhood songs, while listening to the incredible stories of family heritage from my fellow artists, including Jess Hitchcock, Lior, Thando, Wendy Matthews and Sophie Koh.


Tina Arena
Photo by Jai Vasicek.


Your performance Songs My Mother Taught Me begins with the line: “No matter where you go or turn, you will always end up at home.” Where in the world do you feel most at home?

Australia is where I feel most at home. While I have travelled an enormous amount and still enjoy travelling, Australia is my home. It’s where my family is.


Do you think people appreciate the arts more now in a ‘post pandemic’ world?

I think the arts have always been loved but, perhaps there is a newfound appreciation. Cabaret is a fantastic genre to encourage conversation, and the festival really is a place where people can come together and share their artistic ideas.


What’s one of your favourite songs and what memories does it conjure up for you?

I’m fond of the song ‘Caruso’ by Lucio Dalla, which has a beautiful story. Every time I sing this song, it’s a story I can completely relate to.


Photo Callum Sims

From an early age you had a lot of multicultural influence in your life. Has did your upbringing inspired the Adelaide show and the diverse group of performers?

The idea for this show was to celebrate the multiculturism of this country, which is spectacularly rich in diversity. Telling stories of family heritage is a beautiful thing. I have no doubt the audience related to it.


Who has been the biggest influence over your musical artistry?

There hasn’t been one specific person. I’m influenced by many greats including Barbra Streisand, Diana Ross and Mina, to name a few.


Can fans expect any new music to be released from you?

Yes, new music will be coming soon and I’m excited about sharing it.


Photo Bernard Gueit


Do you prefer to sing ‘Chains’ or ‘Sorrento Moon’?

I enjoy singing them both! They are very different songs and conjure different emotions.


Where is your favourite place to perform?

I’ve been fortunate to perform in so many beautiful venues and theatres across Australia and the world, including Sydney Opera House and the Royal Albert Hall in London. One of the most magical and memorable places I’ve performed was at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, which is overlooked by the Parthenon in Athens, Greece. It was one of the most stunning venues I’ve played in, and there was something so magical about being in an almost 2000-year-old outdoor Greek theatre playing to an audience of 5000 people. The acoustics were magnificent. I really do feel very much at home when I perform in Europe, as I do in Australia.

To read our interview with Vanessa Amorosi, click here.

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