Tina Arena warns of music industry ‘predators’
TINA Arena has warned the music industry it needs to do more to protect artists against "predators" as she was honoured for her contribution to music and the community at the annual Music In The House.
In a long, freewheeling speech about her career at the annual fundraiser for the music benevolent fund Support Act, the Evita star revealed she had been the "victim of a lot of s … in this industry" since being thrust into the public spotlight because of her prodigious talent at the age of eight in Young Talent Time.
While her opportunities has been a "wonderful privilege", Arena said her public career had also been a "double-edged sword."
"It's nothing I have ever hidden … this noisy little wog started talking about these things 20 odd years ago, when people were listening but were frightened of what I had to say, what I had observed (and) people had referred to me as unhinged," she told the music industry crowd in Sydney.
"I don't understand why people preyed on vulnerability, I didn't understand why people manipulated others, it's not what I grew up with.
"It was shocking and it was damaging but … I was able to express myself and talk to people in the industry and my close circle of friends, to say 'Am I losing my mind or is this really going on?
"You go through it and hopefully you survive. I am proud of my survival."
Arena applauded Support Act, which helps artists, roadies and associated industry workers through tough times, for their focus on promoting mental health in the music industry.
"To be vulnerable and be in a place where you need something and you are not at all comfortable asking for it, is a part of this culture," she said.
"I have always been an advocate for the talent in this country because I believe in it.
"But we have a responsibility to this community to be able to help them, to be able to help them mentally and keep them away from predators."
Since being honoured with her induction to the ARIA Hall of Fame in 2015, Arena has stepped up her efforts as a prolific campaigner for mental health initiatives and against sexual harassment in the workplace.
She has spoken often about the lack of radio airplay for Australia's female artists over 40.
Arena was reunited at the Music In The House event with her friend and Eurovision star Kate Miller-Heidke, who performed her 1994 hit Heaven Help My Heart, with Ainslie Wills, Electric Fields and Gary Pinto also paying tribute with renditions of the Chains superstar's hits.
The fundraising lunch in Sydney raised more than $200,000.