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Turner, Tina

Category: Musician or composer

 

Tina Turner (born Anna Mae Bullock; November 26, 1939), is a singer, dancer, actress and author, whose career has spanned more than half a century, earning her widespread recognition and numerous awards.

Life in brief

Tina Turner was born in Nutbush, Tennessee in 1939.

Andrea Miller deputy editor of Lion's Roar magazine (formerly Shambhala Sun)

When you don’t come from your mother with love, you might have the gift to be surrounded by other people or situations that are loving and you learn to love in that way. My mother didn’t want a child, so I experienced being unwanted. …..I was singing almost from the moment I was born. Ever since I was big enough, I’ve been singing. When I was a little girl my mother would put me on a chair and I would sing for the shop ladies. So I was born with a voice to sing and I have been singing all my life. It might be that being a singer helped me. Maybe singing on stage helped. Maybe it was a release.

 

In 1958 she married guitarist and bandleader, Ike Turner, and in the 1960s they recorded a string of hits. Their big breakthrough came with "River Deep, Mountain High".   More hits followed but the marriage was disintegrating. Turner split from the violent Ike in the 1970s, after starring in the 1976 film of Tommy.

Andrea Miller deputy editor of Lion's Roar magazine (formerly Shambhala Sun)

Tina Turner—I’ll never forget my first glimpse of her. It was when I was ten years old and watched Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. She had killer legs, impressively large shoulder pads (even by eighties standards), and the most incredible raspy, sexy voice I’d ever heard. What happened to me is what, at that point, had been happening to audiences for more than two decades, and now has been happening for more than half a century: I was awed.

The Queen of Rock ’n’ Roll is not just a powerhouse on stage. She is also a longtime Buddhist, having begun her practice in the 1970s while struggling to end an abusive relationship with musician Ike Turner.

 

Ike died in 2007. Turner had not spoken to him in 35 years.  She managed to cover big debts and a lack of interest from the music industry, to land a solo deal.

In 1984 the album Private Dancer, which includes the songs Let's Stay Together and What's Love Got To Do With It, was launched, achieving world sales of 11 million and 4 Grammys. 
Turner has since toured and had many more hits, and has starred in Max Beyond Thunderdome. Her autobiography, I, Tina was made into the critically acclaimed film What's Love Got to Do with It.

She has lived in Switzerland since 1994 with her German music producer partner.  Tina obtained Swiss citizenship in 2013 and relinquished her American citizenship.

Tina Turner Renounces U.S. Citizenship for Swiss By ABS Staff  -  January 26, 2013

Tina Turner has been living in Switzerland since the mid-1990s and has finally made the decision to officially make the country her new home.  She has settled into the Zurich suburb of Kuesnacht where she learned to speak fluent German and now insists that being in Switzerland is what makes her truly happy.
I’m very happy in Switzerland and I feel at home here,” she explained …. “I cannot imagine a better place to live.”
Seeking citizenship in Switzerland means that the music icon is ready to no longer be a citizen of the U.S. and is ready to pay some higher taxes in order to be a citizen in the country she considers home.

Spirituality

Tina has sometimes referred to herself as a Buddhist-Baptist, alluding to her upbringing in the Baptist church and her later adoption of Buddhism.  In a 2016 interview, she stated that "I consider myself a Buddhist."

Tina was introduced to Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism in 1973 by a friend of Ike Turner's. In an August 2011 interview with Shambhala Sun Buddhist magazine, Turner stated she also adheres to the teachings and values of the Buddhist association Soka Gakkai International.

Andrea Miller deputy editor of Lion's Roar magazine (formerly Shambhala Sun)

Soka Gakkai, the tradition to which Tina Turner adheres, is like other schools and subschools of Nichiren Buddhism; it focuses on the Lotus Sutra and teaches that chanting its title in Japanese—Nam-myoho-renge-kyo—ultimately enables chanters to embrace the entirety of the text and uncover their buddhanature.

Turner has collaborated with Tibetan Buddhists and met with the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso in Einsiedeln, Switzerland in 2005, citing this as an inspiration for a spiritual music project she later joined called Beyond.

Regula Curti is founder and managing director of Seeschau Centre of Therapy & Education, The House of Resounding Emptiness in Erlenbach, near Zurich.
  She is a music therapist, singer and Kundalini Yoga teacher.  Dechen Shak-Dagsay's family settled in Switzerland in 1963.  Shak-Dagsay, came to Switzerland as a toddler after her parents fled Tibet. She strongly feels the rich culture of her Tibetan roots, and has been singing mantras for almost ten years.

Curti and Shak-Dagsay had been friends for six years and had often collaborated together before this project.  The two women were inspired to create the album after they attended a ceremony on interreligious dialogue hosted in 2005 by The Dalai Lama and Abbot Martin Werlen, head of the Benedictine Monastery in Einsiedeln in central Switzerland. Both religious leaders have since given their blessing to the project, whose proceeds go to charity.

Swissinfo.ch Jul 10, 2009 - 15:39

The indefatigable Turner, known for her strong voice and energetic stage performances and who was still touring earlier this year, shows an entirely different side to her personality in the song Beyond.
She invites listeners to go beyond fear and revenge, to listen to their feelings and to love. "Start every day singing like the birds," she says. "Singing takes you beyond..."
At one point she says, "what does love have to do with it?", echoing the title of one of her most famous songs What's Love Got To Do With It.

"Beyond means that if you go underneath hatred and anger and the negative emotions, you find yourself in a field where love and peace prevails," explained Curti.

The idea, said Shak-Dagsay, was to reach people no matter what their beliefs are. "Our main message is to tell people that there's something really deep inside you which everyone has, and we are all the same.
"It's not explicitly a Buddhist project or a Christian project, it's a universal one".

The two friends sing the other eight songs on the album. That Buddhist chants and Christian songs, seemingly in very different styles, can mesh together is very much in evidence on the CD.
In Connecting Hearts, Shak-Dagsay sings a Tibetan mantra. "It's a universal compassion mantra so millions of Buddhists in the world recite it with the genuine wish to cultivate compassion for all beings," she explained.

Curti sings the Swiss alpine blessing Ave Maria. "It's really very similar to the Buddhist prayer, it's generally asking for the connection to God, and you also talk to God from that prayer, from mountain to mountain," she said.

"When we started the project, people were not quite sure if it would work when we were talking about interweaving Christian and Buddhist prayers and Tina's voice," Curti admitted.

"But what we realised was that when three strong women from different upbringings and different cultures are all in that same vibration, in that inner space where humanity lies... the voices blend  beautifully."

 But, what may not be realised is that Tina has been a deeply spiritual person since she was a little girl.

Andrea Miller deputy editor of Lion's Roar magazine (formerly Shambhala Sun)

Question: All religions speak about love, and it sounds easy to be loving. But people so frequently fail to love. Why is loving so difficult?

Some people are born into a loving family. For example, everyone in the family greets everyone else in the morning, they sit at breakfast together, they give each other a kiss when they leave. There is harmony and love in the house. When you are born with that, you take it with you.
But some people are born into situations where they’re exposed to everything but love. The world is full of people that are born into such situations, and they are traveling through life in the dark. No one has ever explained to them that they need to find love, and they have no education for love except for falling in love with another person, for sexual love. I believe that the problem with the world today is that we have too many people who are not in touch with true love.

But I found love when I was with myself. I would go into nature, into gardens and eat fruit. I would climb trees. I looked to nature and found love because love is in nature. If you go there, hurt and angry, it can transform you. I went with nature, with animals, and I found love and harmony. I would come home at the end of the day—braids pulled out, my dress torn—and of course I got asked, “Where have you been all day!?” But I had been in a world of love and happiness. I am very happy that I discovered love in nature because later I was in a relationship without love and I still found a way to find love. You can find love when you are of love.

 Husband and wife: Tina Turner and Erwin Bach 

 

References

Turner, Tina (1986). I, Tina: My Life Story

Observations

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