What Tina wants to tell Bey­oncé, J- Lo and Ri­hanna

New Zealand Woman’s Weekly - - THIS WEEK IN... - Baz Bamigboye

Tina Turner in­sists she never used sex to sell her mu­sic when she per­formed on stage. “All I ever wanted to do was give peo­ple a good time,” the rock ’n’ roll leg­end tells.

“When I stood there, sweat drip­ping from me, all the make-up on, and the hair, and ev­ery­body look­ing up at me, smil­ing, that was what I al­ways left the stage with,” says Tina. The se­cret was know­ing when enough was enough. Give them too much and you’ll get them on stage with you.”

Tina (77) draws a sharp con­trast be­tween her act, at the height of her solo fame in the ’80s, and the fe­male su­per­stars of to­day, women such as Bey­oncé, Ri­hanna and Jen­nifer Lopez.

“I’ve got to be care­ful,” she says, liken­ing crit­i­cism to “a pil­low that you cut in the wind”.

She blames com­pet­i­tive­ness – and weak man­age­ment – for the sex­ual provoca­tive­ness that per­vades the world of fe­male mu­sic stars now.

“It just went fur­ther. For me, it’s too much. I just want to say that it can be a turn off. I think the new gen­er­a­tion is on that road.”

We were talk­ing as the singer pre­pared to launch

Tina, a new mu­si­cal based on her life, di­rected by

Phyl­l­ida Lloyd. It’s the first mu­si­cal Phyl­l­ida has worked on since Mamma Mia!, which is still run­ning af­ter nearly two decades.

Tina will look at the singer’s hard­scrab­ble child­hood in Nut­bush, Tennessee, her years of servi­tude with the con­trol­ling Ike Turner, and the free­dom years af­ter she walked out on Ike and be­came an in­ter­na­tional solo star.

The show, writ­ten by Ka­tori Hall and pro­duced by Tali Pel­man, starts pre­views at the Ald­wych The­atre in March next year and opens of­fi­cially in April.

It’s not all bad news for Bey­oncé and co, by the way.

She loves Bey­oncé’s el­e­gance.

“I love how Ri­hanna sings. I love how Jen­nifer Lopez looks – ex­cept her be­hind is a lit­tle bit heavy. Those girls are the lead­ers.”

And what of the danc­ing? “I al­ways did the shimmy from side to side. The hips went from side to side – never from the front.”

Danc­ing, she in­sists, should be “feet and hips – not pelvic thrusts!”

Tina says she had rules when it came to work­ing with “the boys” too. And what boys!

Mick Jag­ger and David Bowie were like the broth­ers she never had. “We never slept to­gether and they never came on to me be­cause I think they saw me as a role model in some kind of way. Mick wanted to dance

– and I was a dancer – but he never gave me the credit!

“He said his mother taught him how to dance. But we worked with him in the dress­ing room, me and the girls, and we taught him how to Pony.” (For those with two left feet, that’s a ’60s dance move.) “I had a dif­fer­ent kind of col­lab­o­ra­tion with David,” she con­tin­ues. “It was more to do with the singing. All those English guys felt I could sing. My vo­cals are nat­u­ral. I hit the note nat­u­rally and they’d go, ‘What?! How’d you do that?’”

Tina started singing in church as a girl. Even then, she knew the im­por­tance of tak­ing care of her voice.

“Be­ing a church girl, you were taught that al­co­hol was not a good thing. South­ern church peo­ple didn’t drink any­way back then, though some im­bibed the corn whisky.

“But I wasn’t at­tracted to smok­ing or the drugs, or the drink­ing – though later on I did en­joy a glass of wine, and Cham­pagne, but even then, al­ways in mod­er­a­tion.”

She at­tributes her en­vi­able fig­ure to mod­er­a­tion too. “I’ve been lucky with my weight,” she says. “I grew up skinny, like a lit­tle pony. The style of the women in those days was big hips, big legs.”

But 50 years of danc­ing – not to men­tion hus­tling through air­ports while on tour – helped keep her trim. As did eat­ing care­fully. “I still have what I want to eat, but mod­er­ately. I don’t overdo the choco­lates.”

Now she’s turn­ing her at­ten­tion to the hunt to find an ac­tress who can play her in Tina.

“She will def­i­nitely have to be able to sing,” she says. “We’re not push­ing that she has to be pretty; but she has to be in shape. She can’t be fat.”

Out of the lime­light, the singer con­tends that she’s not ac­tu­ally Tina Turner at all.

“When the lights go out, I go back to be­ing Anna Mae Bul­lock [her birth name].”

There’s still a spir­i­tual side to her, although she is no longer a Bap­tist, but a Bud­dhist.

‘ I don’t want to be a cruddy old woman on stage with a walk­ing stick’

“When life got tough, I needed all the help – from all the gods,” she jokes.

De­spite those tough times, she doesn’t see her past as dark. “You know, they say there’s a light side and a dark side. I think I’ve al­ways been on the light side.”

Part of the light these days comes from a good mar­riage to long­time love Er­win Bach. The pair wed in 2013 and now live in Zurich. “I’ve touched upon a hap­pi­ness I thought was im­pos­si­ble to have,” she says. She’s happy with re­tire­ment too, though doesn’t rule out a one-off come­back, par­tic­u­larly if the old gang – “who­ever is still alive, from my time” – were in­volved.

“I think some­thing like that

I’d be a part of,” she con­cedes. “But to ac­tu­ally go back to work on a tour or some­thing? No. Re­tire­ment is re­tire­ment. Three years from now I’ll be 80, and I don’t want to be seen as a cruddy old woman, walk­ing around on stage with a walk­ing stick.”

Shimmy on, Tina, but only from side to side! Long­time love and now hus­band Er­win is sim­ply the best for Tina.

The Pri­vate Dancer singer had duets with Mick (left) and David, but noth­ing sex­ual – they were the broth­ers she never had.

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