may 24, 2023

posted in: photography | 1

“Remember, most of your stress comes from the way you respond, not the way life is. Adjust your attitude, and all that extra stress is gone.” ~ Unknown


It was a brilliant day until the news came that Anna Mae Bullock, known to most of the world as Tina Turner, had died. So much of my youthful years had her music as the soundtrack. It was 1986, maybe 87, when I walked into the control room at the studio in Franklin, Tennessee, where we’d been recording. Something through the glass studio window caught my eye. It was Tina Turner. She’d arrived at some point and was being given a tour. There was an outdoor event planned that evening at the studio for another band, and loads of music business people had been arriving, so the place was a bit chaotic with so many people milling about. All I could do was stare at her. Eventually, she came into the control room where Kiya and I were standing. Kiya had the wherewithal to say, “I love your music.” She was, of course, very gracious. Or maybe Kiya had met her before I came into the room. I’m not sure. Kiya probably remembers better than I do. Whatever the order of events, the thing I remember best is that I just kept staring without uttering a word. At some point, she smiled at me and nodded an acknowledging nod. I nodded back. I’m sure I smiled. At least, I hope I did. I mean, I couldn’t speak, but surely to God I could smile. This was the only time I’ve ever been unashamedly star-struck. Ever. I had been listening to her music since I was a kid, and I’d just seen her show at Rupp Arena not long before this chance meeting. It is still one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. Nobody had her charisma and energy on stage, and she was at the peak of her career then. She stuck around for the first set that night, and of course, I just kept staring. I tried every way in the world to get up the courage to speak to her. I couldn’t. But I stood 15 feet away and watched her enjoy someone else’s music. I never once saw her without a smile. All the people braver than me who spoke to her were met with genuine kindness. I heard it a lot that night. Kindness. In the coming days, as the media do what they do best, talking about dead celebrities until you’re sick to death yourself, you will hear people talk about Tina’s spirit and what a light she was. It is true. The reason I’ve never beat myself up about not finding the courage to speak to her is that she saw me, and I saw her, and we nodded to one another, and that was all that was necessary. Yoga practitioners, particularly of Hindi and Buddhist beliefs, will often say at the end of the session or as a greeting, ‘Namaste.’ It means ‘the light in me sees the light in you.’ Namaste, Tina, and thank you for seeing me, too.

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