The lead of a Tina Turner tribute act has spoken of her life, career, and upcoming performance at a popular Teesside venue.

Justine Riddoch, 51, from Liverpool, who fronts Totally Tina, began singing professionally at 19, and appeared as an Anastacia tribute act on talent show Stars in Their Eyes in 2002.

A few years later, Justine transitioned her act to pay tribute to the iconic Tina Turner, and has since forged an act which has won multiple awards and serves as the longest-running Tina tribute.

She said after gathering musicians and dancers, and importantly costumes, the show developed each year before it started garnering acclaim.

The Northern Echo:

Justine added she could not help but be influenced by new facets she would discover in Turner’s performances – adding she still combs over old footage of the star to draw inspiration for her latest performances.

She said: “I try and imagine what she would have done with all this technology at her disposal if she had carried on performing after she retired, or if hadn’t have passed away.

“What would a Tina concert look like compared to P!nk?

"We’ve got loads of freedom in our own right, rather than just doing a carbon copy of any one concert, or taking lots of different snippets from different ones and putting them together.

“We don’t completely replicate one of her concerts.

“There’s only one Tina Turner, you’ll never replace her, I am Justine bringing you a show about Tina Turner.

“That allows me to be a little bit humorous and I can go a little bit further than what Tina would have.”

The Northern Echo:

The show will be coming to Middlesbrough Theatre this Saturday (January 13) and she said she cannot wait to perform in the North East - adding she is a big fan of Teesside’s favourite dish, the Parmo.

She said she has created a performance which possesses many of her own influences, and this has even led to similar acts from home and abroad taking from her stylistic flourishes.

She added while she would rather be known by her own name, she feels very privileged and blessed for Turner’s lasting impact making the last 15 years of her life something to get her teeth into.

“Don’t get me wrong. As an artist, you always wish for recognition in your own right and it’s not a case of once trying," Justine added.

“Believe me, I really tried. It’s just right place, right time.

“As we know now, with Simon Cowell, X Factor, Pop Idol, and all these different competitions going, there are millions of talented people out there that just don’t make it."

The Northern Echo:

She added she sometimes feels sorry for herself for not hitting the dizzying heights of superstardom, but adds that she feels a great deal of pride in her band, performances, and the experience they provide to the audience.

She said she sometimes laments the less glamorous side of her life, from driving the van home at 4am, with her body hurting from a performance, to cleaning 50 pounds (lbs) worth of costumes, and other tasks leaving her exhausted.

However, she did note that she has a career and life that she loves, and one that offers unique opportunities.

“Then I look at an audience and what we’ve created, I get to be a producer, I get to be an employer, I get to create jobs, I get to travel the world, and I get to shout her name from some amazing stages out to some stunning audiences,” Justine added.

“I am very, very blessed for that. I thank Tina every single day for that.

“It’s bittersweet. It’s a fabulous time.”

Songs set to feature as part of Totally Tina’s performance include Jumping Jack Flash, Honky Tonky Woman, Get Back, It’s Only Rock and Roll, The B***h is Back, Simply The Best, Proud Mary, Nutbush City Limits and Private Dancer.

Totally Tina, from 2013 to 2019, has won Best Female Artist, Best Choreography, Best Sound & Lighting and the Lifetime Achievement Award at the NTMA, and in 2020 and 2021, scooped the Best Tribute award at the NREA and NEA respectively.