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The mesmerising doco In Bed With Anika Moa kicks off the return of TV One's Artsville slot.

Surely there is a bit of a worldwide glut of earnest wimmin singer-songwriters who write raw songs about love? You'd have to be a particularly crazily fearless kind of a chick to decide the next sensational gal troubadour with a guitar is going to be you. But Anika Moa is that chick. That's possibly why what seems like a rather slight idea - a second film about her battle for international success as a musician - is still surprisingly mesmerising.

In Bed with Anika Moa - which kicks off the return of the Sunday Artsville slot on TV One - might seem a little familiar if you've seen Three Chords and the Truth, an earlier documentary about Moa's decision to walk away from potential pop stardom because she felt it was all artificial and she had become alienated and depressed.

This latest, from the same film-maker (Justin Pemberton) picks up in 2006 when Moa has long-since cut her ties with the US record company that tried to "preen her into a pop princess", as the promo material says. That might make her sound like a bit of a diva. She's not. "As you can see I might be a big superstar but I like living on the down low," she giggles from under her duvet as she records her next album in the living room of her flat.

Being a fly on the wall around most wannabe pop stars would probably be deeply tedious - all "me, me, me" - and Moa says things that sound a bit artsy-fartsy ("I just don't have enough magic inside me") but as it comes from her self-doubt and artistic angst it is strangely affecting, rather than annoying.

I think that's because Moa is loved as a quintessentially Kiwi artist, fiercely independent and, well, a bit of a hard case.

She is upfront about coming out as a lesbian and her battle to not be pigeonholed as a gay singer. "They tried to book me for Girlfest. I said stick it up your arse. It's like a love boat but on land with lots of lesbians. It's disgusting."

Moa is just as down to earth about every other aspect of her life. We see her using her asthma inhaler, ironing, putting on hairspray, and laughing in that way that ends with a snort.

She also shares the love story of her relationship with her wife, burlesque artiste Azaria Universe, and her pain over her decision, aged 20, to have an abortion.

"My managers really wanted me to have an abortion. I really regret it."

In Bed with Anika Moa contains some universal lessons about creativity. Sometimes you can't force it and it is only by letting go - or giving up - that the inspiration will flow.

That's what happened with Moa after she gave up her dream of breaking into Australia. One minute she was saying "I can't write any songs, I'm completely useless", the next, music was pouring out of her.

There could be a third doco - Anika Moa, Megastar - but if so, it will be only on her terms.

Artsville: In Bed With Anika Moa plays on TV One tonight at 10.50pm.