Interview by Tiziano Thomas Dossena
Here we are back with Romina Arena, the “Queen of Popera”. In our last interview, we covered many topics, but the news of newfound events and successes surrounding her persona has reached our magazine and I felt it would be appropriate to have an update, which she kindly agreed to.
L’Idea Magazine: You just launched with huge success a new major movie album ‘CINEMATICA VOLUME ONE’. I see that it contains a very interesting selection of songs…
Romina Arena: Yes, this is one of my most heartfelt records so far I have ever released because it contains some of my most adored movie soundtracks that have accompanied my life and career! The record holds the title of ‘CINEMATICA VOLUME ONE” a brand name that with my team at THE ROMINA ARENA COMPANY, in collaboration with my co-creators, my personal manager and executive producer Jay Hall, my Chief of physical productions Chris Fisher, and my Chief Creative strategy Content Officer and Disney executive ‘EXTRAORDINAIRE’ Forrest Fisher, have created to transport all of my fans to the world of cinema and exciting inspiration, via the recording of the most successful movie soundtracks, books, and TV specials!
This is one special music compilation released by my brand new label POPERASTAR RECORDS and is having a terrific success, beyond our expectations! If you have followed my career, you know I come from the world of music scores for cinema and theme songs, such as my work with the great late Maestro Oscar-winner Ennio Morricone, and if you loved that collaboration, you will love CINEMATICA VOLUME ONE!.
Some of the theme songs (which I am sure will be very familiar to your readers) are the revisited SOMEWHERE (from WEST SIDE STORY), ARTHUR’S THEME, BABY MINE from DISNEY’S DUMBO, and many others, including my very own (and first rock song) SATELLITE, which became the super successful soundtrack to the major Bafta award-winning MICROSOFT videogame GOTHAM RACING TWO, which I composed and recorded in several languages for the release of the videogame in several markets, and so much more for all of our listeners to discover! CINEMATICA is the gift that keeps on giving! You can find it on all the digital platforms, including of course SPOTIFY, PANDORA, AMAZON MUSIC, APPLE MUSIC, and of course you can purchase music from my own website at rominaarena.com! I hope you will all enjoy it!
Again, I never leave anything to the case; I always love to tell the stories behind these movies and also how emotional it is the connection that our hearts have with films and music and when you bring these two magical media together, game over! You will never forget that one scene or one song! It is all to discover, so let me know your thoughts! I executive produced the album, but I have to give a shout to everyone who’s been with me on this amazing journey, from my personal manager and A&R Jay Hall, my chief Creative Strategy Content Officer Forrest Fisher, my Chief of productions Chris Fisher, my adored attorney of over 20 years the great Brad Rubens, my Art Director and development Eric Carlson, and my Ohana family!
Of course, the album is dedicated to God, my adored mother Rita, and to all of you media and fans who are making me who I am; I’d be nothing without you!
L’Idea Magazine: You are currently involved with two major movie musicals for one of the largest Hollywood studios. What does that entail?
Romina Arena: At this point, I cannot reveal a lot, since I am under a very tight NDA (non-disclosure agreement), but all I can say is that dreams do come true. I am starring, composing the music, writing these major massive movie musicals, and executive producing them…and the team I have around me is a true dream team! For the rest you’re just going to have to wait and see…it won’t be too long! Stay tuned and follow me on my website rominaarena.com or on social media on Facebook, Instagram, and everything in between!
L’Idea Magazine: I heard you are working on a new Spanish, French and American album… Could you tell us more about that?
Romina Arena: Just as above I cannot reveal much at this time, but all I can say is that I sing, write and speak fluently in ten different languages and I have been writing a lot of music lately, and I always felt the need to communicate to all people of all walks of life my passion, my pain, my triumph, and music has always been my true connector!
Yes, there is a wonderful Spanish/Italian project in the works and since I have always been a huge Edith Piaf fan ever since I was 10 years old (raised by a French nanny along with my mom who used to bring me to France every year, spending the summer holidays in Monaco and in Nice), I have always wanted to work on a French album and I am doing something very, very exciting, working with some major music producers of the French world, so I’ll be able to share more once we are ready! I am writing as always all the songs, but I am also revisiting some classics, presented in a whole new way, so just wait and see what I am cooking up!
L’Idea Magazine: Is it true that you are at this moment composing the music for a variety of major up and coming motion pictures and TV shows? Which ones are they?
Romina Arena: I am doing a large variety of projects but once again, due to contractual signed deals, it is hard for me to reveal all the details. I have been writing music and recording for major networks lately such as ABC, ESPN, and more. What I am working on, though, are some very large new motion pictures and streaming series needing specific sounds such as the ones I produce, so they will be released soon!
L’Idea Magazine: Your fantastic cinematic travel book about Italian locations of famous movies, ‘WHERE DID THEY FILM THAT? ITALY” is a best seller. Do you have any intentions of transforming it in a travel show or a podcast?
Romina Arena: Thank you for your kind words! Yes, this is a spectacular book that anyone can find in all local bookstores, such as BARNES & NOBLE, and of course, I don’t have to tell you, also on all digital platforms ( amazon has both versions, hard copy and digital).
As I mentioned above, my love for cinema has always been so strong and so inspiring to me. WHERE DID THEY FILM THAT?ITALY (the first of a franchise of books that will transport the readers to many places around the world), is what I consider ‘A TRAVEL GUIDE FOR MOVIE LOVERS AND A MOVIE GUIDE FOR TRAVEL LOVERS”, and especially now it is a wonderful way to learn about Italy by discovering the major movies filmed there, from THE GODFATHER to CINEMA PARADISO, LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL and many more!
Recently, I was approached by a major TV producer asking me to turn the book into a TV/streaming series and I accepted, so now development has started and I just cannot wait to bring this special cinematic travel project to you all!
L’Idea Magazine: Heard through the grapevine that a major 8-times Oscar-winning film producer in Hollywood is currently developing a major motion picture, and now even a large Broadway musical, based on your life story. Could you reveal the name of the producer? How proud do you feel about such an honor? Are you expected to collaborate with the songs part of the musical?
Romina Arena: Yes it is true! Although I cannot reveal yet the name of the major producer attached, he is a very, very famous one in Hollywood! The story is going to be made into a movie and for me is truly a pleasure to produce and co-write the screenplay with an Oscar-winning writer, as well as to write the score and all the songs of the movie. Of course, this is my life story and you can only do it once as a movie, so we put a lot of incredible work and attention into it. I truly hope my story will inspire and motivate you all to never give up and always believe in the power of your dreams!
L’Idea Magazine: I am sure that Sicilians will be very proud to have you as their Sicilian Ambassador to the World. When did the region of Sicily choose you, and what does that entail?
Romina Arena: A couple of months ago, a major Sicilian journalist, Giovanni Vallone, a man of great brilliance, kindness, and desire of promoting Sicily through all of the wonderful work he does, has contacted me because he and the members of his Cultural division of Sicily, which he founded, all agreed for me to become one of their representatives in the US and in the world on behalf of Sicily as their Sicilian Ambassador of culture in the world! My role is to create opportunities, events, and a variety of projects promoting my adored Sicily, which I consider like the Hawaii of Italy! I am extremely honored to work with Giovanni and all of the wonderful members of his Cultural division in Sicily and what we have defined as ‘THE SICILIAN MASTERS” which are selected individual with great talent and brilliance, in promoting Sicily in high regard! I am the most successful Sicilian-born female bestselling music artist across the world, therefore I was chosen to contribute through my many activities!
I am so committed to present Sicily in the best way as possible because my gorgeous island deserves it, so I am so grateful to Giovanni for have given me this precious title!
L’Idea Magazine: All these are big news, but it seems there is even more big news. I heard the announcement that the President of M.I.R.E. (Movement of Italians Residents Abroad) has named you ‘OFFICIAL AMBASSADOR OF ITALIAN EXCELLENCE IN THE WORLD!” With this new title, you will be representing officially Italy around the world, with major Italian events, awards, consumer products… Tell us more about this new position of yours, please.
Romina Arena: This is so very exciting! And even more exciting to not only represent Sicily in the world but Italy! I owe all of this to the brilliant and great President of M.I.R.E. (Movement of Italians Residents Abroad) Commendatore Dr. Vincenzo Odoguardi (and wanted to thank publicly also Mr. Maurizio Bezzeccheri, Former Chief of Staff of the Mayor of Pompei, who introduced me to Dr. Odoguardi!)
I was so honored to receive this prestigious title, and I have begun working with the President on various major projects about promoting the authenticity of Italy in the world, create spectacular partnerships, and opportunities, events and consumer products with my name and IP, and talents while expanding Italian culture, heritage, and diversity!
We will reveal little by little all of the major and wonderful projects we are working on, but I would love to take a moment to thank you and the Media and all the Fans around the world who have supported me throughout the years with my music, my personal remarkable survival story. I am the proof that dreams do come true that if we have faith, we are thankful to God and we are grateful to all that comes to us, “appreciation becomes the currency of the soul” because appreciation appreciates!
I truly believe in the power of my dreams and if we all release anxiety and trust the universe, all things are possible! I am a kid from Sicily, but everything I wanted to do in my young career so far I was able to achieve it, so I pass on to you all positivity and encouragement; it is never too late to create greatness in your life, we just have to trust God’s timing. When God puts a dream in our hearts, it will come to pass, but we must trust and be patient and also translate our faith into action!
L’Idea Magazine: The number one Italian actress of the moment, the stunning and amazing Claudia Gerini (PASSION OF THE CHRIST, SUBURRA, JOHN WICK 2) recently started a major partnership with you. What is this partnership about?
Romina Arena: I am the most fortunate person in the world, because this amazing, brilliant, beautiful woman has come into my life, like my angel, like the sister that I always wanted to have, and our minds immediately connected, flying over the same wavelength! Claudia has been an Italian superstar since she was a little girl, a multi-talented woman in so many aspects when it comes to entertainment.
From being the number one Italian actress in the world, with huge successes, to be a breathtaking ballerina and singer, Claudia has shown the world what true talent really means.
She and I met during a major award ceremony in Hollywood and immediately connected. We have been developing recently several movies, TV series, and even consumer products which will see her be the lead actress and even producer with me. We have many wonderful projects currently in development, but all I can say is that she and I are creating magic together and soon enough will share more! Stay tuned! It is a true honor for me to work with her and have her as my ‘sister”. I simply adore her!
L’Idea Magazine: I understand from your answers that you keep yourself super-busy, but I would like to know how you are coping with this Covid19 situation. How much do you miss having a live audience?
Romina Arena: This has been the toughest time for me, as I am sure for everyone.
Of course, I believe that performing artists, actors, or anyone who performs in front of a camera is suffering terribly! I personally felt sadness for those people out there who are battling this terrible infection and for those who lost unfortunately their dear ones! In my case, though, the worst part of it has been not been able to go to Sicily to visit my adored mama Rita, who has been battling other kinds of health serious issues, and this is breaking my heart!
As far as my business, however, things are going so well and I am thriving with so many wonderful projects and dreams coming true! I cannot stay still for a second. I have to constantly move forward! And I have to say that I have been busier than ever. Although I am a performing artist as well, I would say that during this past year, I have been writing so much music for film, streaming, musicals, books, designed new products and so much more, so I will not let Covid stop me!
My deepest wish and prayer go out there to everyone, and I’d like to remind you all that eventually we will be getting out of this situation and we will be happy again; let’s not lose hope, because hope is greater than fear and we must stay strong! God is good!
L’Idea Magazine: Where do you find the inspiration for your songs in such a period of turmoil in the world?
Romina Arena: My inspiration, as you have probably figured out from my previous answers, comes from God first and foremost! I am a survivor and even in the darkest times of my life, God has always picked me up, no matter how many times I fell! My faith is so strong and that love, passion, and the care I have for the world and for all people and animals drive me. Love is the biggest instrument for me and connects so well to my music, so definitely, I lead with the heart when it comes to creating music. My goal is to touch you all because you are all my “ARENA OF AMORE”!
L’Idea Magazine: Where do you see yourself ten years from now?
Romina Arena: Oh, wow! That is a very tough answer to give since I love to live the moment and although we all have to plan somehow our future, I know that life is so precious and we musty enjoy every single moment, living in the moment. However, my focus is to grow even more with my music and my entrepreneurship activities, to create many jobs, support my most important charities, create a legacy that will support others and their dreams, and support medical research to cure cancer. Of course, I have one personal, massive, big dream, and I can almost touch it because I worked so hard for years to achieve it, but I won’t talk about it…you will just have to wait!
L’Idea Magazine: The Covid19 situation has forced people to stay home and their life has become a different kind of life, unfortunately, almost surreal; most of the people are suffering Cabin fever at this moment. You are a woman who has shown so much purpose, energy, and achievements in spite of the various lockdowns and isolations. Could you please send our readers a message of hope?
Romina Arena: As I mentioned before, HOPE IS GREATER THAN FEAR! We must believe that all of this will soon pass, not to lose faith and focus but instead take advantage of this moment to explore further your dreams to reinforce your loving relationships with your dear ones, your children, your pets too! God will not forget us, we will overcome this and be stronger and much more appreciative for all that we have!