Anika Moa is known as one of the most honest and self-assured women in New Zealand music. But, as this new documentary shows, it took her a while to understand herself.

Producer and director Justin Pemberton met Moa when he filmed the 2004 documentary Three Chords and the Truth: The Anika Moa Story, about why she ditched the American dream after she walked away from her contract with major label Atlantic Records in New York.

She dropped it all, citing homesickness and an unwillingness to be turned into a pop princess.

Pemberton says he knew there was more to the story.

"We never got to explore the link between her personal life and professional life, which was a bit frustrating because they are entwined," he says.

It begins in 2006, with Moa recording her album Stolen Hill in her flat. She had no manager and no record company backing her, having walked away from the potentially lucrative record deal in the United States after her debut.

Along the way, he filmed as Moa accepted her sexuality, found a record deal in New Zealand - and a wife.

In recent years, she has released two more albums In Swings The Tide (2007) and Love In Motion (2010), both to acclaim and local-award recognition. And Moa has made her sexuality public and this year married burlesque artist Azaria Universe.

Pemberton helped direct several of Moa's music videos, took her wedding photos and shot the cover for her latest album, Love in Motion.

Over the course of filming he bunked with Moa in motel rooms, leapt into taxis with her and hangs out at her Melbourne flat during some of her low points. The documentary gets its Madonna-referenced name because some of the interviews were literally filmed in bed.

The sincerest of their conversations reveal how Moa couldn't focus on her career until she accepted her sexuality.

"I can't believe I was so against the fact I was attracted to women for so long it made me so ashamed of who I was. I didn't know who I was as a person and I didn't know what I was getting myself into. I never had the chance to grow as a woman, which is what I'm starting to do now," she says.

Moa has said that her latest album and tour may be her last as she is now focused on having a family. "I'm stronger now. I've got strength and character and I love the world," she says.

In Bed With Anika Moa opens a new season of local arts docos on Artsville.

In future shows, a group of artists head to Fiordland to reinterpret William Hodges's famous painting, Waterfall in Dusky Bay, which was inspired by his time as ship's artist on Captain James Cook's second voyage in 1773, and is one of the first depictions of Maori through European eyes.

And the artistically challenged join art critics on a visit to Connell's Bay sculpture park on Waiheke to ponder the way such a dramatic setting can affect their reactions to the featured work.

LOWDOWN
When: Sunday, 10.50pm
Where: TV One

-TimeOut