“My parents called me Anna Mae, the only name I was known by until adulthood.” He did not know then how much it would cost him to survive. Nor that would become Tina Turner years later —as a product of her turbulent first marriage to Ike Turner—, a legend in the music industry who has managed to sell more than 200 million records thanks to hits like The Best, River Deep-Mountain High or What’s Love Got to Do with It. The story of his life is so rich in experiences that releasing a single autobiographical volume was not enough. Turner is now publishing his second memoir after the success in 2017 of my love story (Indications), which was an international bestseller. In happiness is born from you recounts the hard journey she went through to become the woman she is today, a title that will arrive in Spain on February 2 thanks to the Luciérnaga publishing house.
As a spiritual guide, the singer reels off memories and reveals, at 82 years of age, details of a life full of great obstacles. “The list is long: an unhappy childhood, abandonment, a violent marriage, a stagnant career, financial ruin, the premature death of members of my family and multiple illnesses,” she lists in her introduction. To transform his reality, he took all those experiences and turned them into something positive, based on spirituality: she assures that Buddhism has made her a thoughtful and positive person, that it has pulled her out of the well in which she has been stagnant for years, and it is precisely this idea that she wants to convey with this second book that “no It is not a book of music or memories, but a very personal book”, as indicated by the publisher itself.
The artist begins her memoir by thanking the reader. She explains that she uses gratitude as a weapon against those situations that led her to depression at the time, and even to consider suicide. His story has taken several turns since his birth in Tennessee (USA). “I was brought into the world in a windowless basement relegated to the ‘colored’ women’s maternity ward at the county hospital,” she says. A stage in which he knew abandonment and tragedy. “My mother, Zelma, was affectionate with my sister, but with me she was different. I knew that he had never loved me. That is a heavy burden for a little girl”, she confesses, and narrates how her mother abandoned her to live in the city, so the artist ended up living with her grandmother. This heavy blow was added to the pain of loss, when her cousin Margaret, her greatest confidante within the family, was killed in a car accident.
When her grandmother also passed away, she began “a new life” in St. Louis, a large city located along the Mississippi River. “When I was 17, I went to Club Manhattan, a loud, smoky music venue, where I met two men who would play a very important role in my life.” One of them was a saxophonist with whom he had a fleeting romance. The other, Ike Turner, musician and bandleader, then famous for his theme Rocket 88, and future husband of Tina. In the pages she tells how she was immersed in that chaotic story of toxic love, which ended in sexist violence.
“It was an endless succession of ordeals. She changed my name from Anna Mae Bullock to Tina Turner early in our relationship, despite my protests.” her husband made her suffer both physically and emotionally. “Broken lips, black eyes, dislocated joints and psychological torture became part of my day to day,” he reveals. All this, added to the pressure of professional success that he was beginning to have. “That pressure intensified Ike’s insecurities and increased his drug use, which made his violent outbursts more frequent,” he recalls. That’s when he started to lose hope. “In 1968, I was so depressed and despondent that I couldn’t think straight. One night before getting ready to go on stage, I tried to kill myself by taking 50 sleeping pills.” He says that, at first, he felt “disappointed when he woke up” and realized that he had not managed to end that suffering that had become a suffocating routine.
It was then, at her worst, that she found herself in Buddhism, and decided not to give up. “If there was justice in the universe, the long-awaited positivity would come to me one day,” she says hopefully. Throughout much of the book, Turner shares his learning with the reader, interspersing numerous life experiences. There were many challenges, but he assumes that he faced them with great inner strength. “I roared, roared and continued roaring until I overcame all the challenges”, he sums up in his own words in a book that, in addition to having anecdotes and spiritual concepts, includes images and reflections that have helped him overcome the darkest times of his life. Facts that he shares in order for the reader to also overcome his own.
“I know from experience that sometimes you have negative voices in your head that can be dangerous. These voices might say that you are too old, too gay, too skinny, too fat, too much this, too much that. They could tell you that no one will ever love you. Perhaps you have allowed your negative voices to undermine your self-esteem. If so, it’s time to tell those voices that you’re not going to accept them anymore”, he encourages, hoping that life seen through his eyes will become a balm for others.
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Tina Turner’s great revelation in her memoirs: “I knew my mother never loved me”