Australian child television star Tina Arena grew into a pair of very large shoes, becoming one of the country’s best-selling female artist in history, although she struggled in America. Before Arena was a successful recording artist, though, she was Tiny Tina Arena, an eight-year-old performer on the Australian television series Young Talent Time. After auditioning for a talent show and winning the prize several weeks in a row, she was invited to become a permanent member. Seven years later, Arena was still on the show, and though she found it difficult to split her adolescence in two — spending the first half in the camera’s glare while in its shadow after the age of 15 — she began performing in nightclubs and making a few recordings as well as recording commercial jingles.
Tina Arena was set to make her comeback by 1989, at the tender age of 21. She released her debut album, Strong as Steel, and watched as “I Need Your Body” became one of the biggest singles in the country that year. In 1991, Arena spent much time in Los Angeles working on her songwriting skills, and also toured Australia with a production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat (playing the narrator).
Arena’s second major album, Don’t Ask, made her a worldwide star. After the single “Chains” hit number one in Australia, it crossed the globe to reach the British Top Ten and American Top 40. The album was certified eight times platinum in Australia, and sold over two million copies worldwide. For her third album, In Deep, she worked with producer Mick Jones (of Foreigner), and even covered Foreigner’s “I Want to Know What Love Is.”