'Rising Stars' cover tributes to Tina Turner
Inga Stewart

Rock and roll diva Tina Turner is a fan favourite locally. The recording artiste, who died on May 24 at age 83, is best known locally for a string of hits including (Simply) The Best; Proud Mary; What's Love Got To Do With It, a number one hit locally; Typical Male; Let's Stay Together; Private Dancer; We Don't Need Another Hero; and I Don't Wanna Fight.

Through the years, a number of contestants on the popular television singing competition Digicel Rising Stars, have covered songs from Tina Turner's catalogue.

Montego Bay-based Inga Stewart competed in Digicel Rising Stars in 2012. She has been dubbed Jamaica's Tina Turner on the cabaret circuit.

During her time on Digicel Rising Stars, she wowed viewers with her interpretation of What's Love Got To Do With It.

JAYE KEEDAH...Tina was a goddess onstage.

"I started my career performing Tina Turner songs. I entered the World Championship of Performing Arts in Los Angeles in 2003 and Ike Turner was one of the judges. I won Best Overall Performance in the pop category," Stewart recalled.

Ike Turner, who died in 2007, is the ex-husband of Tina Turner.

Said Stewart: "Growing up I was always watching JBC-TV and seeing those videos of this spiked hair lady in mini skirts showing off those gorgeous legs. So I pretty much grew up watching Tina Turner and I wanted to be like her. She knew how to command the stage."

"I just loved her music and the confidence that she displayed. She was a strong, brave woman and she sounded very good," Stewart, who began performing Tina Turner songs in 1998, disclosed.

Tina Turner died on Wednesday, May 24.

Stewart finished in third place in the Digicel Rising Stars competition behind Jodian Pantry (second place) and Romain Virgo (first place).

After residing in New York for six years, she returned to Jamaica in 2020. Today, she operates Beauty Loft, a skincare and make-up artistry outlet in Fairview, Montego Bay, St James.

Jaye Keedah competed in Digicel Rising Stars in 2015, where she made a statement with her cover of (Simply) The Best.

"I chose (Simply) The Best because the song spoke to me deeply, and I used to use the song as a mood balancer when I'm feeling out of it. I would sing that song and my perspective would be redirected to one of strength and positivity," said Jaye Keedah.

She continued: "Tina was a goddess on stage. She gives a whole experience with her songs and performances. She's simply, the best."

"Tina reminded me of myself. She's a Sagittarian just like me. Her birthday is two days before mine, so I've always felt a different connection to her music and her story. She is filled with power from head to toe! I mean the way she dances and moves in every performance is amazing, the kind of energy that I like to embrace on stage in each of my performances, and the way she engages with her audience making you feel like you are acquainted. Her experiences, in general, as I have learnt, have been inspirational for me, and I just love me some Tina," shared Jaye Keedah.

She went to speak to a veritable honour project that is already in the works.

"As a matter of fact, I am currently in the process of launching a Tina Turner tribute on the Oasis of the Seas, where I work as a vocalist. I will miss the person Tina Turner, but the memory of her remains with me as her music has groomed me into the performer I am today. Sleep in peace, Queen."

BY KEVIN JACKSON Observer writer entertainment@jamaicaobserver.com

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