With the Opening Night of the new TINA Musical only a few days away, the musical team asked fans to share what TINA represented to them using the hashtag #MyTINA. I’d like to take this opportunity and the chance of having this blog to share a few elements of my story and define, the best I can, My TINA. 

I’ve been a mediocre person most of my life. A disappointing son, a forgettable friend and an untrustworthy lover, it looks like sabotaging myself has always been a part of me. My future often seems dark and uncertain but there’s always been a bright light in this tortuous path… You guessed it, that light is TINA.

Which makes things even more pathetic when you realize that the only glimpse of hope for me is an inaccessible entity, adored by millions and who didn’t ask for all this. But that still is Hope.

Growing up lonely, I would find consolation and solace in TINA’s work and the energy needed to get on with my life. I can’t explain the phenomenon that happened to me when I first heard, at the age of 11, her voice singing the 1966 studio version of River Deep Mountain High but I can fairly say that it changed my life forever. Without knowing anything about her, I felt immediately connected to that unique, deep-earthy voice and there hasn’t been a day since then without TINA.

I’ve been trying to understand for years the true meaning of this adoration but I still haven’t found an answer hence this blog. There’s something more about TINA that touches me, deep inside. I could say that I am a fan because she is an incredible performer with a gobsmacking figure and a powerful voice who triumphantly survived a titanic life, that would not be enough.

But I do believe that one of the unconscious reason I became a fan of TINA was to lead me to some sort of spiritual knowledge thanks to the Beyond albums. I am not sure if I’ll ever be able to make peace with myself but this music is healing and it does work. Listening and practicing Mantras helps me a great deal during dark moments. The tone, the resonance, the depth of TINA’s voice is such that it does create an unexplainable sensation of well-being and hope. Now it is up to me to find out how to cultivate this feeling. Easier said than done but I’ll be forever grateful to TINA for showing me the way and for making me want to be a better person. TINA didn’t give up on Love and Life and so I won’t.



14 Replies to “My TINA”

  1. We all love you and miss you Ben! I am sorry that you have to go through this. You are a wonderful, funny, good looking, clever person. Did I say sexy yet? 😉 I am so looking forward to our next adventure in London!
    Muah 💋

  2. I don’t know you are Ben but with the joy you brought Tina Turner fans With this blog for so many years, u are def not a mediocre person. Thank you for your work.

  3. Ben I am not at home. I literally turned my car into a parking lot to read your post – it was like a magnet was pulling me to stop and read it. I sat here in tears and understanding even more why I have told you before what a special person you are. We all love and appreciate our Tina in so many ways and for so many reasons but I now have a new reason to be incredibly THANKFUL for her. She has truly been a “lifeline” for YOU who in turn have brought so much Tina LOVE thru your infinite love and knowledge of her to all of US. Without our TINA your life would not be what it is today and none of us would have the AMAZING BLESSING of KNOWING YOU and each other … I hope that somewhere deep within her Tina knows the lives she has saved, the differences she has made, the joy she has brought, the many lasting friendships she is at the root of – and the list goes on and on. She is so much more than a singer to go see in concert and for her and for you, Ben I am forever grateful ❤️

  4. Mediocre should be removed from your vocabulary when describing yourself. Loved the read, and thanks for sharing an intimate part of yourself.

    Much Love,


  5. Salut Ben…Tu es une personne merveilleuse. Ton blog nous donne des informations, des énergies. Tu fais un travail formidable “on t’aime comme ça”. Moi j’ai connu Tina avec “What’s Love Got To Do With It” cela a été une célébration pour ma vie. Chacun de nous a une histoire avec Tina. Notre Tina est un diamant……

  6. Hi Ben!
    So fantastic to read what you written today!
    It’s almost exactly like it was for me, reading your text felt like it could have been me except you should never feel that you are a Mediocre person as the others here said to?
    You are doing the most amazing job for this fan club site and if that’s compliment your life and giving you so much joy, it’s more than enough.
    And now that you also receving lots of love from other fans for what you do. That’s great!
    I do not know you but would love to meet you some day, because we have a lot in common in the indescribable feeling of Tina and her meaning as for so many others. And maybe have lots of stories to tell? Who knows. Life is now and as I said many times before I am happy to lived and live at the same time as Tina! And experienced her work and her persona. She always gives me strenght and Power!
    I hope you reply back? If you feel for it?

    Best Warmly wishes


  7. You have opened yourself up here in such a beautiful and tender way and I can’t be more proud and happy to have you as a friend, even though we’ve only really visited that one time in Nutbush and we’re miles apart. You’re a very creative and beautiful person and I hope the feelings you expressed are fewer and farther apart these days. As Deb said, I hope Tina realizes what a positive force she has been for so many lives and in so many different ways. Thank you for sharing, my amazing friend, can’t wait to see you again!

  8. Peace, Love and Light to you BEN. You have been a blessing for most every TINA fan with access to the internet and I feel certain of this. The BEYOND project has made a difference in my outlook on life and my own being. You are loved by many, that don’t even know you, beyond this TINA obsession that many of us have.

  9. This is probably as candid as I’ll get, so please no negative comments….
    Bear in mind, this is a long post….

    (I originally posted this in a Tina Facebook group)

    I was 2 years old. Tina’s Rio concert re aired on TV one night on an American station called The U. My mother taped the show for my dad who was at work that night. My mother had already put me to sleep. The next day, I woke up and walked downstairs by myself (Yes at 2 years old I was walking, by 1 years old I could break out of my crib) and saw a VHS in the tape recorder (#oldschool). Thinking it was a Rugrats tape, I pushed the tape in. What happened next, changed my life. First, I heard a woman’s voice say “Welcome, to Superstars on Tour starring, Tina Turner.” Next I saw a big stadium, although it looked like a bowl of cocoa puffs to me, with two blocks, one was orange that had the name “TINA” in red, the other was silver with ridges that said “in RIO”. Next I saw a black woman wearing sandals, a leafy skirt, a tank top and hair like a lion; hanging out with the people on the beach. Next, the sun went down, and fireworks started popping, scaring the daylights out of me. I was afraid of fireworks at the time. I turned off the tape and ran up the stairs as fast as I could. But as always, little kids, even though something scares them, it peaks their interest, telling them to see more. And the same thing happened to me. I carefully went back down the stairs and pushed the tape back in. The fireworks went off again, I covered my ears, still scared, but then, that same woman, looked at me, holding a glass of champagne and a rose, took a sip, held it up, and smiled at me, like she was telling me, it’s ok, it’s over. Next I heard pounding drums and people shouting in Portuguese, as this woman in now a white and brown fringe dress in black cowgirl boots, dancing to the beat with samba dancers on a platform that had streamers on it. Then she stepped off and then, the rock music started. The driving sound of Robert Palmer’s Addicted To Love filled the speakers, her hips swaying back and forth to the music. The crowd is going nuts. She approaches the microphone and began to sing in a raspy and powerful voice, “The lights are on, but you’re not home…”. By the end of the first song, the crowd is going nuts, screaming her name, “Tina, Tina, Tina!” She wipes her soaked forehead and yells back “Hello Rio!…” She continues, “Are you ready for me?!” The crowd yells in anticipation, yes. She starts again with another song, another rock one, but this one, with a sound similar to windchimes. The wind is blowing her hair into her face as she whips it back. My 2 year old mind thinks it’s all the people’s fans that’s produced the air and not the work of a stage fan. Then I saw her name in fireworks, a name I have never forgotten, TINA TURNER. Needless to say I was amazed by this woman. Each one she sang, I became more and more statstruck. How is she doing this, I was wondering. She danced in those black high heeled boots, the sweat dripping from her head. Like my maternal grandfather used to say, “Women don’t sweat, they glow.” I understood what he meant, when I saw Tina perform in that show. I already grew restless when she left to make the first costume change. The music changed again to a soft, melancholy tune, she came out a darkened room, smoke rising, a close up at her big hair. She slowly climbed the stairs to reveal a red hot leather dress with a ruffled bottom and a zipper, straight down the middle. Her golden hair had a blue outline around it, amazing me. Then it became a dark purple as she raised her hand swaying to the music, that almost resembled violins, singing in a soft tone this time, “I’m your private dancer, a dancer for money….” Then she started to shout again, putting more feeling into the lyrics, caressing the mic stand as if it was a real person. She went down the stairs and started to dance with a blue veil or handkerchief to the sound of a saxophone. She twirled and swayed to the sound of violins again, ever so elegant, glowing in the blue light, her hair flowing, before ending the song with a curty. She leaves again, then the music changes again, to a more powerful anthem mixed with the sound of thunderclaps. She comes back to the stage in a black bathrobe. Her hair is blowing wildly in the breeze, then something that shocks my 2 year old self, the stage opens up in a yellow smoke, carrying her up as she sings, “We Don’t Need Another Hero… we don’t need to know the way home…” She is emerged in the smoke, and is so high up, I’m afraid she’ll fall. But she doesn’t and slowly goes down to the sound of thunder in two beats at a time. She leaves once again, another song plays, a sweet sounding, yet attitude filled. She comes, a pink light outlines her shadow, she grabs the mic, and begins being playful and a bit silly almost flirty, shouting “What’s Love Got To Do, Got To Do With It?” She then gets down to the audience’s level and asks them to say back the lyrics to the song. The lyrics are so simple, that I start to say them to, hoping she hears me, forgetting that I’m watching concert from 12 years ago, that it’s not happening now. She jumps back on stage and finishes the song, the wind blowing her hair back, she skips around before ending the song in a playful, fake questionable expression, almost confused. She smiles again and blows a kiss. The music changes again to a sadder tone. Her hair has lost some of its height, as it’s sticking to her sweaty back and forehead. She takes on a more serious expression, and begins, ” When I was younger, so much longer then today. I never needed anybody’s help in anyway…” She’s telling a story, one that I would not realize until years later, was her own. Asking for help, now in a dark place in her life. The saxophone starts to wail in sorrow, and exclaims again, and begins to sing the opening lyrics again, this time in desperation, and although she’s sweating profusely, I could swear she was crying. Her voice is so powerful and heartfelt, and I honestly thought I heard the sound of an invisible choir singing along with her. She ends the song on a high note. She curtsys again to the sound of cheers and wolf whistles. She begins the next song and gets the audience to sing again. She then stops singing to talk to the crowd, ” I had a wish, I wished I could fill a football stadium… and I filled the biggest football stadium there is! Obrigado Rio, Thank You!” She is received with thunderous applause, she throws her hands in the air and begins to run to the orange block, clapping to the beat of the next song, another rock anthem. The stadium starts to clap along, this next song is one, it seems, the crowd has been waiting to hear, she skips back to microphone and sings the first lines, “Left a good job in the city….” She starts out slows, her hips swaying to the beat. Before the song ends, the key changes before her and the crowd repeats the last line,
    “The river
    What You say
    The river
    One more time
    The river (river, oww!)”
    The music changes to a frenzied rock shaker, the light and the singer go mad, spinning and twirling around to the fast paced music. She repeats the same lyrics again, but at a faster pace. Her hips shake back and forth, the camera man can barely keep up with her. I start to act like I’m on a sugar rush, trying to mimic the dances moves she’s doing. She starts to bow and shuffle her heels, going down 3 times, kicking her kick up and waving her hands into her hair. She runs, and claps to the beat again, her hair turns blue, smiling the entire time. The fireworks start again, but I dont even pay attention them, she cured me of my fear! She approaches the Mic again, and what happens next, amazes me.
    “If you come down to the river, I bet you gonna find some people who live”
    “You don’t have to worry”, the music stops on a drum beat
    Her hair changes to a bright red. She whips back to the left.
    “If you got no money”, the music stops again
    Her hair changes again to purple!
    “People on the river are happy to give” The drums beat 6 times more, each time, her hair changes to another color!
    Light Blue
    The music starts again, getting bigger and bigger and her voice and dancing matching the hype. She slams down the Mic, twirls around, throws her arms into a pyramid, her hips shaking. She starts to a vigorous amount of dancing and kicking that mimic that of an Olympic swimmer. She’s not tired?! I watch in awe at this woman as she keeps going before leaving the stage again for one more costume change. The music ends on at a clapable beat and before the sax blows the last note out. The camera pans out at the stadium again, the crowd going mad! Another rock anthem blasts through the speakers. She struts out again, her lion’s mane now resembling a wet mop, mated to her forehead, now in a light green cheerleaders outfit that is already sticking to her body. These last three songs aren’t as lively as the last song she did, but I’m still amazed and she’s dancing, prancing like a horse on a bed of hot coals. She gets down to sing with the audience again, someone in the crowd gives her one of the guitar pick shaped fans and it gives her a small bit of relief in the hot air. If she is the least bit tired, she doesn’t show it. The crowd sings along again as she sways her arm to the music. She ends the song by blowing the crowd a kiss. She then dedicates the last song to the crowd, the song is called, Paradise is Here. She sways to the beat, her voice and the saxophone make a nice pair, she sing the lyrics with such conviction and power it feels like in her soaked, and tired exterior, she’s performing and operaic aria. The crowd sways back and forth along with her. This moment is the moment I remember the most. Because is it this performance, seeing the crowd, who might not have understood what she was saying (I didn’t understand most of the lyrics either until going to school, learning to read and looking up the lyrics to her songs) they accepted her and sang along with her.

    At that moment, I realized, I wanted to do that, whatever it was that she was doing on that stage. I wanted to sing, I wanted to dance like her. She was the first to show me what an entertainer should be like. A storyteller, a charmer, an actor, a singer, a person who can attract a group of people through different walks of life together for one night hearing the music they love. That’s what I, at the age of two, wanted to do with my life. This began my love for the performing arts, and my love for (my mom calls it, an obession) for Tina Turner.

    She has become like a lifelong family member to me, who was always there in every important moment in my life. I know I sound crazy, but I think in a group of fans of this woman, know exactly what I’m talking about. I didn’t know how to explain it until I saw the movie Julie and Julia with Meryl Streep. Tina was my Julia Child, she was like a guardian angel at time, telling me to never give up, keep going.

    When I was bullied on a daily basis for being old school liking black and white movies, watching I Love Lucy and The Golden Girls, and of course watching Tina, I cried home almost every day for six years up until 7th grade. Kids my age had no clue who Tina Turner is, they always tried to correct me, thinking I meant to say Timmy Turner a character from The Fairly Oddparents. Being bullied constantly, ruined my self esteem, which affected my grades. I have ADD and learning issues, but I loved to read, by starting school in the 1st grade I was already reading at a 3rd grade level. Around 2nd grade, one of my friends Betty, who lived with her grandmother, let me borrow a DVD copy of “What’s Love Got To Do With It?”, but my mother didn’t let me watch it, because it was rated R. The next day, a Saturday, I sneaked downstairs, pulled a chair out, grabbed the DVD from the top of the refrigerator and put it in the in the player. Not wanting to disobey my mom, I only watched the parts with the songs, because my mom had told me a little bit about Tina’s life, about how her ex husband Ike use to hurt her, and that was bad. I was a bit dissapointed that Tina wasn’t in the movie, that another woman was playing her. For long, I couldn’t stay silent, and told my mom that I glanced the movie. She took the movie and hid it, and told me that first thing I do at school is give my friend the DVD back. In fifth grade, the movie was coming on tv, I begged my mom to let me watch it, she still thought I was too young. So I made a deal with her, if she let me read Tina’s book, could I watch the movie, she relented. My dad bought me a copy of I, Tina, and I read it in 2 weeks. I didn’t grasp the severity of Tina’s abuse until a few years later, but what I did understand that she too was being bullied, and she was able to leave and achieve great things. I admired her so much for that strength, as someone with Major Depressive Disorder, it at times feels like it will never get better. I would cry home everyday from another kid making fun of me or chasing me around the playground (I would try and hide from them under the playground equipment. But all I had to do was play Tina, mainly this Rio concert, and she always managed to make me feel better.

    Before graduating elementary school, my case worker told my mom that I wouldn’t make it through junior high. By Junior High, the bullying stopped, I made new friends, I had more teachers who took the time to help me. I gained more confidence, became an honor roll student and starting doing extracurricular activities, like drama classes. By sophomore year in high school I was in acting and choir classes. I participated in the one act plays and started singing. One friend in junior high, Jacob, who also shared a mutual liking to Tina one day, while waiting for the bus to take us home, asked me if I could sing, I didn’t really know if I could, if you could count the years of imitating Tina’s voice in an inside voice, singing, then yes. He asked me to sing a little bit, and I reluctantly did for the first time in my regular voice, though I still sounded a bit like Tina, he told me I sounded good, and I should join a singing club. I was shocked, who knew that pretending to sound like Tina or Patti Labelle or Bette Midler was a type of vocal training and preparing? Go figure.

    Back to sophomore year, I was in choir class, and another one of my friends, Caitlin, who was in the class, she was the only one with perfect pitch, I would always sit next to her, asking for her help. First thing the teacher ask each student, what is your vocal range, I had no clue. He asked me how low can my voice go, I sang the lowest note I could. Then he asked how high can my voice go, I then tried to hit a note like Patti, surprisingly I hit it. The teacher placed me in the tenor section. My friend was a soprano, but he still let me sit next to her. Then came the pasta dinner, which is an event where some of the kids would sing solos in front of family and friends in a dinner setting, probably like when Tina performed the hotel circuit. This was my chance to see if I could sing in front of an audience. I did have trouble hitting my notes, as I wasn’t used to singing not using inside voice and fully using it. My choir teacher was getting frustrated, so I asked Caitlin to help with the notes. I was going to tackle Tina’s We Don’t Need Another Hero. My teacher brought me and Caitlin into his office. He asked me, if I was tone deaf, since I was having such difficulty with the notes ( to be honest I wasn’t bad, I just had trouble with the transitions from chest to head voice.) Caitlin went ballistic, and cussed him out, for her, being the child of two deaf parents, she was angrier than I was, although it did insult me. She then said if he wasn’t going to help me, then she would. And she did. Then the show came, I was petrified, I didn’t eat anything, afraid I would puke it back up. My dad came with, my mom was unable to go, being handicapped and having a difficult time walking. It was time for me to go on. By this point no one was really paying attention, and I’m not saying this to boost my ego (I don’t have much of one), until I came on. I was wearing one of my Tina shirts and the music started. Then, as every time I perform, something inside changes, and I lose the fear. Everyone was looking at me, mostly the adults, probably because they were shocked that someone my age knew that song and who the artist was. By the time the song ended, I was rewarded with thunderous applause. I was shocked. Later that night I performed again for my mom because she wasn’t able to go. Senior year, I entered my school’s talent show, I was going to do Proud Mary, by then I knew the choreography by heart. My training for the actual show, even though I did a 5 minute edit, I would practice the entire 10 minute dance moves, mimicking her facial expressions, the placements of her feet, the way she held the Mic, etc. Being an actor, I wanted my school to think they were going to witness a performance by the Queen of Rock. The judges like me so much, they placed me as the grade finale. I had the ecmee do a special introduction to get the audience ready. Unfortunately I had to lip sync, because my voice was trained at the point to withstand it’s power with the vigorous choreography. But what kept me from passing out, was the audiences reaction, they were screaming and singing along. I had the lighting guy do the lighting similar to the Rio concert and played him the clip and I told him, “I want the audience to think that Tina Turner is in the building, give me all you’ve got.” Until that night, naive me, didn’t think that the show was a competition and that the audience would be voting. Although I didn’t let in stress me out, I still gave it my all, and apparently they liked it. I and a dance group were the winners to the represent our school in the district regionals! My picture was taken, wearing a Tina wig and a jean jacket and jeans similar to her outfit in the What You Get Is What You See. One of my mom’s friends bought a fringe dress for me. I wore it with legging, although I did not wear heels (I have flat feet, I would have broken my neck). My school lost, unfortunately.

    My point is, through my never-ending post, is that Tina has always been an influence and a role model to me. Her music changed my life. This past year was one of the worst years of my life, I won’t open that can of worms. But it was Tina’s music and therapy that helped me make it. Even though I have different influences like Lucille Ball, Joan Crawford, Tyler Perry, Eartha Kitt, Michael Jackson, Tony Curtis, Johnny Mathis, Patti Labelle, Gladys Knight, the list goes on, it was Tina that started it all. She changed my life. I hope that her legacy will live on through this musical, I hope it will come to the states and her life and music will continue to be discovered and appreciated by each generation to come. I will make sure of that. And finally the Recording Academy agrees with me. This concert holds a special place in my heart. And although I probably will never get a chance to see my hero perform. I have the tourbooks, the t-shirts, the CDs and the DVDs, to get the experience.

    Thank you Tina, and I hope that you will continue to be rewarded for your 60 years of hard, hard, HARD work in the music industry.


  10. #MyTina

    Why I love Tina Turner’s Foreign Affair….

    Every Tina Turner fan out there will tell you honestly what song or album is their favorite. They will even “argue” between themselves about which song, arrangement, or how well it sold in America or Europe; even world-wide. If, you’re proud to be a Tina fan like me, you have your own personal reasons why you like a certain song or the whole album. How it still resonates with you–when you hear it in the car, at home, in the gym or grocery shopping. It takes you back to the moment when you basically fell in “love” with it.

    Tina Turner’s Foreign Affair solidified my love for her music in 1989. Sure, I had Private Dancer and Break Every Rule on CD and would listen to them non-stop in my parent’s small house in Granton, Wisconsin (I must have drove them crazy with it). But, it was that Christmas when I would “un-wrap” Foreign Affair; already Steamy Windows and The Best were being played on the radio and the videos were circulating MTV in the states.

    When I listened to Foreign Affair the 1st time, I was basically fascinated with it and “loved it” from start to finish. The arrangement of Pop/Rock/Blues/Soul songs and ballads were a perfect blend. Demonstrated by solid Pop/Rock songs such as “The Best”, “Ask Me How I Feel” and “Foreign Affair” itself. A variety of Blues/Soul songs with “Look me in the Heart”, “Be Tender with Me Baby” and “Under Cover Agent for the Blues”.

    I felt whatever Tina Turner was conveying about Europe and life in general; I wanted to be part of it. Since being from a small rural town out in the “middle of nowhere”; Europe seemed like a romantic dream that was instilled by Tina’s Foreign Affair. I would be lucky and grateful to serve my country by enlisting in the United States Air Force for 24 years and 22 days as I approach retirement this July 1st, 2018.

    I have blessed by the opportunity to live in England, Italy and Germany. I would get to travel the world and experience many cultures all from the notion of Tina’s music opening up my mind to the possibilities that are out there. This also expands to meeting Tina Turner fans from around the world which made feel so welcomed when I was so far away from my small town of Granton, Wisconsin off of Highway 10 😉

    So, thank you Tina… thank you Tina family & friends…. and especially, thank you Foreign Affair.

    Scotty Stillman

  11. Thanks for your post, and thanks for your work on our Tina blog. I already gave up a long time ago – but you kept it running and made it better for more than 8 years already. R-E-S-P-E-C-T.
    You are a very special friend and person to me. I can’t wait to see you in London in two weeks, for another Tina adventure. Bisous.

  12. My revered @ & wondrous Guardian Angel, Miss Tina Turner. We’ve not actually met, but I’ve been ‘with you All’ constantly thro’ the ether’, with my dearest friend & Spiritual Guide, Regula (Curti), in your brilliant circle of Earth Angels in the Beyond group. I wish you a wonderful success in you spectacular production, & hope to be privileged to attend a performance . Your ikonic lead Internationally is responsible for magical inspiration for All, beyond beyond beyond. I’ve not been able to contant our darling Regular recently , due to disruption of the i’net in the London area. I live in a quaint old English town, Berkhamsted, 35 mins by train from Central London, & and am often ‘breathing’ with artistes @ The Royal Opera ! I’ve been associated there since 1965 – (85 years young in April 2018) – ALLELUIA ! Please give my fondest greetings to lovely Regula & adorable Beat. Hugs & love to you All ! My i’phone no. Is UK internal 0772 569 1386, I guess my favourite cuddly doggy foot warmer Kailash won’t be with them, TIO TOI TOI & ‘blessings “Simsannabim “!!

    Sent from my iPad

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