AUSTRALIAN icon Tina Arena has just marked 40 years in the entertainment industry with a new album. Matthew Wade caught up with the singer to chat about how her LGBTI fans have been part of that journey.

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Whether she’s belting her hit Chains at the World Music Awards or being awarded by the President of the French Republic, a supportive gay community has always been around Australian songstress Tina Arena.

With this year marking her 40th as a recording artist, Arena can’t recall a time when she didn’t have the love of Australia’s LGBTI community behind her, and she certainly hasn’t underestimated its significance.

“It’s the community I’ve been around since I was a little girl,” she said.

“It’s just the community that’s always been a part of my life – we’ve always done things together and I’ve always been supported by them.”

She attributes her large gay fan base to her song writing, which she believes many in the country’s marginalised LGBT community have related to over the years.

“I think [my music] has always come from an honest place, and that’s all I can really say,” she said.

“I can’t intellectualise it more than that, other than whatever it is I do I always make sure it’s from the heart.

“You’ll never get anything contrived from me.”

To mark her four-decade spanning career in Australia and abroad, Arena has released a new two-disc Greatest Hits and Interpretations album.

The latter disc finds notable Australian artists covering Arena classics in fresh ways: The Veronicas, Jimmy Barnes, and Jessica Mauboy form just part of the superstar line-up.

Arena found the idea of a greatest hits record slightly trite and thought bringing together artists to reimagine her songs would help give her fans something different.

Even Dannii Minogue reworks Arena’s Sorrento Moon into a contemporary dance number for the album.

“I thought it was a nice idea, hearing different generations and how they interpret my music,” she said.

“It was about trying to get a mix of artists I really like, and voices that moved me that I felt could tell the story.

“[The Veronicas] were great girls, they’re really great ladies.

“They’re honest, very humble, and total creators – they’re just women with big hearts.”

Tina Arena

Tina Arena. Image supplied.

When it comes to Arena’s LGBTI fans and the state of equality in Australia, she believes we’re heading in the right direction.

With the renewed push for marriage equality around the country over the past year, she firmly believes it’s only a matter of time before same-sex marriage is legislated.

“I think it’s one of those things that takes time, everything takes time,” she said.

“We’re talking about constructing a whole new constitution of some sort and those things don’t happen overnight.

“It’s time for people to understand, to debate, and to find solutions for all these things.”

She added that having positive intentions behind the legalisation of same-sex marriage will help it pass.

“I have a lot of faith that things will move in the right direction, because again it comes down to the most fundamental and important thing,” she said.

“That is that we’re doing it because that’s what we believe in.

“If you’re doing it for the right reasons it’ll happen.”

When asked what message she would like to send to the Star Observer readers, Arena gushed.

“Have a really bloody good time again – 40 years is something that’s worth celebrating,” she said.

“Many, many thanks for the support over the last four decades, and thank you for always protecting me.”

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