“Ladies over 40 are still in the game. We will decide when it is time for us to stop.”
And with that music queen Tina Arena had her audience at the ARIAs in the palm of her jazz hands.
After absolutely killing it in a live performance of her smash hit ‘Chains’, Arena then went on to be inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame by her friend and fellow music legend, Kylie Minogue.
You can watch the amazing performance featuring The Veronicas and Jess Mauboy here:
“What a woman, what a voice,” Minogue said after the performance which had the whole audience dancing on their feet.
“Wow, oh my goodness, surely I’m not the only person who had goosebumps,” she said.
But it was Arena’s speech afterwards that really had the audience jumping up and down.
“I want to acknowledge the women in their 40s still in the game in a big way…We will decide when it’s time for us to stop.”
She called on commercial radio to “continue to support Australian music on the quality of the song and not the age of artist” and “don’t meet your Australian quotas because you have to. Exceed them because you want to.”
She also hit out at the ageism which greets female pop artists, calling out Madonna, Jennifer Lopez, Annie Lennox and Kylie for their continued excellence in the face of discrimination.
She pleaded with her audience to ‘respect the arts’. “Because without the music we are really all screwed,” she said to rapturous applause.
Tina said ‘Young Talent Time’ was instrumental in getting her to where she was today.
“We had big ideas and even bigger hair.”
“That outfit, those boobs and those lips. They all had a life of their own… And they still do.”
No one sat down for the entirety of her speech which, over several minutes, thanked her family, her record labels and management teams both in Australia and France and then addressed every one of the music industry hurdles she has had to surmount in her four decade career.
“Then came the greatest performance of my life,” she said. “My son Gabriel.”
And finally she thanked the most loyal people of her career, the fans.
“When I take a leap Australia, you manage to catch me,” she said.
Minogue said she was inspired by seeing Arena sing MacArthur Park on Young Talent Time and had a “special contact” on the TV set to watch Arena up close — her sister Dannii.
“Thanks to Tina for being an at work big sister in the show and what an amazing mentor.
“You’ve shown the world how it’s done for the last four decades. You are the consummate professional.”
The ARIAs version of Chains is released on iTunes tonight.
Check out all the best looks from the ARIAs red carpet here.