Nadine Sutherland talks channelling her inner Tina Turner
During the late ’70s and ’80s, somewhere in Above Rocks, St Andrew, a little girl with eyes round like two saucers and shining bright like the sun would sit and watch, and be dazzled by the amazing Tina Turner, who in a sense became her muse.
With Tina Turner’s passing last Wednesday at age 83 in Küsnacht near Zurich, Switzerland, there has been a long list of celebrities rhapsodising over the singer. This is what Nadine Sutherland, the little-girl-turned-woman wrote:
“When I was 11 in 1979 and won the the Tastee Talent contest, in my head I was dancing like Tina Turner. Throughout the years as a stage performer, she was one of my greatest influences. Her electrifying presence and dance moves gave me a foundation to build on. Thank you Ms Tina for opening so many different paths for women not only musically, but in their consciousness. Your second coming in the entertainment industry as a woman in her forties emboldened many women in that age group, older and younger, to step out of their age limitations and do whatever they thought they couldn’t. Soar with the ancestors Ms Tina! You earned it.”
If there’s a list of Jamaican singers who channel Tina Turner, Nadine Sutherland has to be sitting pretty somewhere at the top. Throughout her 40-plus years in entertainment, Sutherland has been a dynamo on stage ... and she knows it. “We a hangle dem wid di moves! Brap Bap!” has been her walk-out, bad gyal response to those who are bedazzled by her performances.
“Everything that Nadine Sutherland is on stage is formulated by Tina Turner,” Sutherland shared during an interview. “I remember watching her as a little girl in the country in Above Rocks … seeing her on Solid Gold. Dionne Warwick was the proper lady and Tina was the wild child. She formulated so much of my sensibilities.”
For Sutherland, Tina Turner is the very definition of “a force of nature” and one who influenced her at a critical juncture in her life.
“Tina Turner influenced me as a woman when I entered my 40s. We all know that in this music business ageism is coming at you once you are approaching a certain age. But I remembered that Tina Turner made her comeback at 44 and I started performing again with that fire,” she said.
And like Tina Turner, Sutherland always exits the stage leaving her audience yearning for more.
Anna Mae Bullock, better known as Tina Turner, was the Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll, who was Grammy-nominated a whopping 25 times, securing eight wins, and was thrice inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. Her fantastic comeback as a solo artiste close to her mid-40s has been hailed as one of the greatest comebacks in entertainment history. On her comeback journey after splitting from her abusive husband, Ike Turner, Tina in 1983 recorded a cover of Let’s Stay Together (Al Green) and it did more than expected. The song rose to No. 26 on the Billboard Hot 100.
However, she still had to prove herself and jump out of the “nostalgia” box that the record company would have caged her in.
“Her record label was reluctant to push her music and considered her a nostalgia act. But Turner proved her mettle, recording Private Dancer in a two-week span and with it, a triumphant return with her only No. 1 single, What’s Love Got to Do With It. The song earned a record of the year Grammy Award and Turner the status of being the (then) oldest woman to appear on the Billboard Hot 100 chart,” USA Today wrote in a recent tribute.
Triumphant is a word that is often associated with Tina Turner, and while Nadine Sutherland has surprisingly never covered a Tina Turner song, her latest release is titled Triumphant.
“And I have never seen Tina Turner perform live either. But I watched the documentary and I’ve watched her on MTV Awards and seen her shows on YouTube. I can’t see her anymore, but I wish I had seen her live,” Sutherland said wistfully.
Back to Triumphant. It is all about her own life à la Tina Turner and watching other people’s lives.
“Don’t be afraid to show up being the best version of you ... big, bold, boasy and ‘moasy’. It’s about shaking off your own crippling enemy thoughts which keep telling you that you are too poor, too young, too old. Sometimes going through some things is a catalyst for positivity and developing a deeper confidence. I have done so much work on my own self ... just understanding life. This song is all about being thankful and triumphant,” the Queen singer shared.
Sutherland named her favourite Tina Turner songs as Let’s Stay Together, River Deep, Mountain High and You Better be Good to me.