Next week on January 21 Tina Arena plays a Qantas-sponsored gig for Australia Day as the country prepares to celebrate on January 26. The 48-year-old singer tells Time Out Dubai about her favourite musicians Down Under, how impressive Dubai is, plus her favourite Aussies of all time.
What are you favourite things to do, places to eat and stay in Dubai?
I’ve been many times, there’s a plethora of places to eat so from a food perspective it’s pretty extraordinary, you can get whatever you want. My son was impressed with the Burj Khalifa. It’s quite and extraordinary structure. I think it’s seeing the difference in architecture and the multiculturalism and the fact that you can construct something in the desert that’s pretty functional is extraordinary.
You’ve live in the US, UK, France and Spain. How important do you feel it is to celebrate Australia Day in front of the world?
Australia is the largest island on the planet and while it has always been geographically far away from the rest of the world, when you are European, which is what I am, I’m the daughter of an Italian who left Europe in the 1950s…so for me it’s particularly important. I think what the UAE has done because of its geographical position is enable people a greater access to travel and I think we’re all benefitting from that.
Perhaps your best known hit is Chains, but what tunes can we expect to hear you play for Qantas’ celebration on January 21? Newer stuff or classics?
Spontaneity is a very important thing for me and I don’t feel comfortable giving away what I’m going to do because then it takes away from my life as an artist. It’s my very first entire show in Dubai – I’ve done a couple of performances there but they’ve only been fairly brief. I’m particularly excited to be encountering an eclectic audience of people and for alone I’m looking forward to seeing what transpires.
Who are your top 5 Australian musicians?
There are so many, from the past and present. I always struggle to namedrop people. Peter Allen was always and incredible export and a man that put the Australian sensibility on the world map. Olivia Newton John was another one, INXS, to the latest young bands, Temper Trap, there are all sorts of young musicians that are coming out of the Australia that are really doing some beautiful work. I love the diversification of what our country is producing.
You have Lebanon and London shows coming up after Dubai before you head back to Australia. Do you think the audiences differ majorly across the various places? If so, how?
They are all different audiences but that’s what makes my job interesting as I don’t have a clue what to expect. The element of surprise in discovering that is truly exciting for me. Lebanon is an incredible place, London I lived in for seven years, loved it and spent a lot of time there, I think the thing that really excites me in this phase of my career is being able to go and play in the world. I’ve really got my heart set on just going out there and meeting those international audiences that have been listening for a long time.
I need to meet those people and do this to say thank you for letting me do what I do.
Tina Arena plays at the Grand Hyatt Dubai for The Grand Night 2016, the event costs Dhs650 for dinner (7pm) and a show (9.30pm). Call 04 317 2222 or email email@example.com for more information.
More Australia Day events:
What you get: On Saturday January 23, there will be an Aussie-style BBQ, live entertainment with a band and DJ, as well as a bunch of activities to keep the kids busy (bouncy castle, face painting, egg and spoon race and arts & crafts).
From January 21-27, an Aussie hops brand will be offering the chance to win some amazing prizes including a trip for two to Melbourne including flights and accommodation. Simply purchase selected drinks for a chance to test your skills on the Howz ya game skills tester – and if you’re really good, you could go through to play the UAE’s largest skills tester on the finale weekend, January 28-30.
Second prize is a Dhs10,000 voucher at Adventure HQ and third a voucher for 2 to SkyDive Dubai.
Free from 11am til late.
Celebrate with the best of Aussie meats, pies and beverages, taking your pick from live cooking stations, games and live entertainers.
Revel in the celebrations from 12.30pm to 3.30pm, followed by Happy Hours from 3.30pm to 8.30pm on Friday January 22.
Yalumba's Austalia Day brunch is priced at Dhs499 per person including regular bubbles, Aussie and regular hops as well as selected grape and house beverages. Dhs649 per person gets you premium bubbles.