Elesha Paul Moses has had many memorable experiences during her music career, but perhaps her biggest – and arguably her most fun – adventure comes with the Tina Turner tribute show What’s Love Got To Do With It. It’s a feel-good production full of singing and dancing, and with Elesha at the forefront as she turns back the musical clock for us to hear some of the most memorable hits of all-time. We spoke to Elesha about the show, when she became a fan of Tina herself, and how her past experiences helped to shape the performer that she is today.
First of all, tell us about the upcoming show What’s Love Got To Do With It, based on the music of Tina Turner.
It’s a new show, with a ten-piece band that includes backing singers and guitarists, sax, drums and base. It’s a really fun show that we’re gonna have, as there are plenty of costume changes, plenty of interaction with the band, and also plenty of interaction with the crowd which I love doing, so that’s a bonus. It’s jam-packed with all of her hits, too. Even if you’re not a Tina fan, you will still enjoy this show; it’s a night that will appeal to everyone.
Have you always been a fan of Tina Turner?
I’m 37 now, so when I was younger, it was the likes of Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson who I looked up to. At that time, it wasn’t as much about Tina, but it was when I started getting older and I started to do the tribute shows, originally for Beyonce and then for Tina. At the time, I was thinking “I can’t do that show, I’m too young!” (Laughs) And now I’m delighted that I did it. I only started listening to her music later on, and to appreciate what she did and how she got to where she did. I like that because I’ve realised there is so much to learn about her; I like to learn more about someone, rather than to learn everything in one go. It’s nice to research stuff that I didn’t know. I like that she continues to grow on me, and to make the show what it is; day-by-day, I’m taking more on and I like this nice progression. So now I’m a solid fan! (Laughs)
You have had many musical highlights during your career, which included singing backing vocals for such stars as Lionel Richie, and also for Andy Abraham’s Eurovision song Even If. What did you learn from these early experiences?
Well, I learned to enjoy every second because it goes quick! (Laughs) I think it was just to be professional while enjoying it. You’re performing with these amazing artists, and you can take so much from different people in terms of how they are, because everyone is totally different. We didn’t spend loads of time with Lionel Richie, but it was just slick, and he was very polite and very lovely. It was nice to be around him, and he was very professional. I spent much more time with Andy and I got to know him a lot more as we were on tour in Serbia for 15 days. We got to do dress rehearsals, and we went out for meals and stuff. I can tell you now that he’s the nicest man ever. From when you watch him on the show, that is exactly how he is because he’s just so lovely! (Laughs) He’s the loveliest man, and he’s great to work with. He made me feel really comfortable, and his wife Denise is amazing as well. That was probably the best night ever for me when we got up in stage for Eurovision, as there were thousands in that arena, and obviously everyone was watching at home too. So, that was pretty epic. That was one of the best times that I’ve had.
In addition, you appeared on The X Factor back in 2010, as well as appearing on The Voice on more than one occasion. What were the main differences between being on each show, and how did these experiences help to progress your vocal skills?
X Factor had less media coverage then than you would get now. So back then, I wasn’t so confident in myself, and I always doubted myself, plus I’d done another show just before that, and I just didn’t have as much confidence in myself. It helped to thicken my skin, but in terms of learning anything from doing the show, it didn’t really help. Maybe it’s because of when it was or how it was or because I didn’t know anyone there. With The Voice, I started to become more confident, even though I still doubted myself. It’s only now that I think “Yeah I’ve got it”. A lot of singers are always self-critical about themselves and always want to make themselves better, and I’m constantly thinking about that myself as well. So, I think the shows make you think “Yes, I can do it” rather than them being a negative thing because you didn’t get through to the later stages. It’s so hard, just going to an audition and standing in front of people. For a lot of people, that is really difficult. Even though you’ve been doing it for some time, it’s a different situation, and not a normal situation where you’re opening your heart, which it is because you’re singing from your soul. It is difficult, but they have made me stronger because it lets me know that I can do it, and because I know I’ve done it and got through it, I feel there is nothing I can’t do. Whatever is thrown at me, I will definitely overcome it! (Laughs)
How did you adapt to performing on the theatre stage, as opposed to a live audience at a music venue?
The thing is, for me going back to when I used to do my pub gigs, if you’re in there dancing and talkative and interacting with the audience, although it is a theatre show, it’s still a live concert just in a theatre. When we did a few snippets in the Whitney show, we did a five-minute Tina section, and everybody stood up and was singing and clapping along. So, it doesn’t matter that it isn’t in a music venue where it has a concert vibe. There will be enough for people to say “We want to sit down and listen to a few songs”, but I think they’ll also want to get up and dance, cause it’s gonna be a vibrant, in-your-face show. I don’t think it’ll be a problem to transition between the venues. People will be pleasantly surprised; they’ll want to get up and dance. I don’t think they’ll want to sit down for very long! (Laughs)
Finally, why should the Liverpool audience come to see What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Because we are going to get you up off your feet, we’ll have you dancing, singing, crying, laughing – all of that will be in the two-hour show. It’s all there for you, and you will leave thinking “Wow, I want to come back again!” It’s gonna be so much fun. The crowd is going to be involved, and it’ll be a great show with fab music and an amazing band with fantastic backing singers and dancers, plus there are big visuals everywhere and not just on me. The show has got it all!
What’s Love Got To Do With It comes to the Empire Theatre on Tuesday February 19. To book your tickets, click here.