Tina Turner recently gave an interview to Bernd Skupin from German Vogue to talk about ‘That’s My Life’ – The Tina Turner 80th Birthday Collectible. The interview is featured in the May edition of the magazine and was originally published in German on Vogue’s website.
The photo book is large and weighty: four and a half kilos. And at the same time “That’s My Life – The Tina Turner Birthday Collectible” is light and optimistic. Tina Turner is already dancing on the cover of the box to the book, which was published for her 80th birthday in November. And inside, there are 220 of the most beautiful pictures of her life, many of them taken by star photographers such as Peter Lindbergh, Herb Ritts, Anton Corbijn or Richard Avedon. In conversation, the singer told us more about her favourite pictures and best memories.
With which feelings did you look at the pictures from the earlier phases of your life and choose them for the book?
Some memories were buried in me, I didn’t even know I had them. Just take the picture of me on the Eiffel Tower that my dear friend Peter Lindbergh took: Some will say it was crazy to climb out of there in high heels and no protection. And, who knows, maybe it was! But you know what: When I look at the photo today, I feel that tingle from back then. A wonderful feeling!
According to which criteria did you select the pictures?
One of the most important criteria was: no Ike [Tina Turner’s former duet partner and husband, editor’s note]! I didn’t want him to play a role in this book. I said everything about him that needed to be said. The second criterion: I wanted to make a book for my fans first and foremost. A book that is bursting with joie de vivre! Third criterion: The book is not a retrospective, not a biography in pictures. It should look as if everything is happening right now, in this moment.
Is there that one favourite photo of yours in the book that you like more than any other?
A favorite picture? No. But if you see me in the pictures of Peter, Herb, Anton and all the others, you will find that we had a connection. This is not a book with pictures of world famous photographers. This is a book with pictures that friends of mine made. And I am very happy that I was able to get to know these extraordinary artists.
Which encounters in your career do you remember particularly fondly and why this one in particular?
There are so many! Of course I immediately think of David Bowie and Mick Jagger. Or Keith Richards. But I would never pick a person out. Each has its own place.
Music and dance have always been your element, your profession. Even on the cover of the box of the book you are moving and dancing. How is that reflected in the book? Does it also have something musical, something dancing?
Oh, of course! When I look at the book today, it feels as if I am dancing from page to page – like a whirlwind. Every time I open the ribbon, my feet start to bounce.
When you see yourself in photos from the 60s, 70s – what would you say to the woman in these pictures today?
The 60s and 70s were marked by my first marriage. Not an easy time. And yet: when I look at the photos from this time, I surprisingly see a strong young woman who doesn’t let on anything. I would like to tell her: You held out! You have managed to free yourself!
The book comes with a very beautiful, simply elegant gold ring, designed after a model that you yourself have owned for a long time?
I have worn this ring every day on my right thumb for decades. I bought it sometime in the 1970s at a flea market, I can’t remember where exactly. Funny, huh? But it’s become my good luck charm. And that’s why I wanted it to be part of this book.
“Love Tina” is engraved on the inside. Do you enter into a connection with your fans with the ring, does it stand for something like a symbolic wedding?
This is a very beautiful picture. Yes, exactly. The ring is a symbol of my deep attachment to my fans. I wanted them to get one too. I never saw myself as a star, I just wanted to connect with people. Basically, I was always the Nutbush girl with legs like a pony ( laughs out loud ).
The musical “Tina” is currently playing in many theaters – including Broadway, where you recently attended a performance. What is it like to see another person on stage who represents you? How does that feel?
Before I had seen the musical for the first time, I was sceptical. I asked my husband Erwin, “Do you think it’ll work out?” Erwin was always convinced that it would work. “Sure,” he said. “Look at it!” And when I sat there in the front row and saw and heard my story and these wonderful acting and singing talents – wow, I was immediately moved! I really love the musical!
What do you like most about your life today since you stopped touring?
I enjoy the peace and quiet at home in Switzerland and dedicate myself to my garden . At 80! I never would have dreamed of that before. I am satisfied and very happy.
“That’s My Life – The Tina Turner Birthday Collectible”
Published by the Looping Group in November 2019, the illustrated book comprises 320 pages and shows 220 photographs (including by Peter Lindbergh, Annie Leibovitz, Anton Corbijn, Herb Ritts or Andy Warhol), as well as exclusive illustrations (e.g. by designers Christian Louboutin or Bob Mackie) and personal letters from Turner’s friends like Beyoncé , Giorgio Armani, Mick Jagger or her husband Erwin Bach. The box also includes a few extras, such as a golden screen print by Charlie Gates, a napkin with a lipstick print by Tina Turner or a piece of fabric made from an original Armani dress that Turner wore at one of her concerts. There is also a 14-carat ring made of rose gold, handmade by Tina Turner’s Swiss jeweler as a replica of a gold ring that Turner has worn on her right thumb for years. The hardcover has a size of 31.5 cm x 40 cm, the gift box measures 48.2 cm x 39.8 cm x 7 cm, the limited edition is limited to 800 issues and costs € 2,450. Here you can find more information about the book, here you can currently win a copy .
Article cover by Vera Tammen.