Tue | Jun 6, 2023

Jamaican singer performs at queen’s jubilee at Buckingham Palace

Published:Saturday | June 11, 2022 | 12:09 AMHoward Renrut/Gleaner Writer
Singers Ruby Turner (left) and Nicola Roberts with a friend backstage at the jubilee concert at Buckingham Palace.
Singers Ruby Turner (left) and Nicola Roberts with a friend backstage at the jubilee concert at Buckingham Palace.

There is a saying in Jamaica, “If a egg, we inna di red.” So it came as no surprise when news broke that Jamaica-born, UK-based R&B singer and actress Ruby Turner, was among the star-studded performers at last weekend’s Platinum Jubilee celebration for Britain’s Queen Elizabeth. The event was staged in front of one of the country’s most iconic landmarks, Buckingham Palace.

Other performers included Queen and Adam Lambert; Rod Stewart, who covered Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline, ‘the official song of the jubilee’; pop star Diana Ross, who took to the stage in a fabulous black and white tulle gown; and Craig David, who belted out party anthem, Ain’t Giving Up.

Twenty-two thousand people reportedly attended the event, among them Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, and his wife, Camilla; his sister, Princess Anne; as well as his son, William; and his wife, Kate Middleton, in their official capacity as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

“Still coming down from this extraordinary day. #HerMajesty we salute you. You are an inspiration to the world,” Turner posted on Facebook moments after her performance.

When The Gleaner caught up with the R&B singer, she was re-living the moment.

“It was a real honour to be asked to perform at this momentous occasion. I was awarded the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 2016, and it was a very proud moment having my music career being acknowledged in this way. So it’s without doubt [that] I would be involved in the celebrations. Jamaica being in the Commonwealth, I’m happy to play my part,” Turner said.

Turner said the song she performed with Nicola Roberts and Mica Paris was Climb Every Mountain, made famous from the film The Sound Of Music.

“It is a very empowering, inspiring piece [which is] most suitable I thought for the occasion,” she opined.

Turner, who was born in Montego Bay, moved with her family in 1967 to Birmingham, England, at age nine. In the mid-1980s, she garnered fame as a backup singer for Boy George’s Culture Club. She was later signed to Jive Records and released four albums, including the Best of Ruby Turner compilation album and The Motown Songbook. She has achieved the rare feat, for a British singer, of reaching #1 on the US R&B chart, with It’s Gonna Be Alright in February 1990. Between 1986 to 1995, eight of her singles appeared on the UK Singles Chart, with I’d Rather Go Blind being the most successful, reaching #24 in 1987. She has also written songs that have been covered by Maxi Priest and Lulu.

To date, she has released over 10 albums and has appeared on releases by UB40, Steve Winwood and Mick Jagger’s solo project. In recent years she has appeared in numerous stage and television productions, including BBC TV shows, Doctors, Judge John Deed, East Enders, and the film, L ove Actually. She was a guest judge on BBC’s The Choir: Sing While You Work, and in 2013 she was a guest judge on the BBC Songs of Praise gospel choirs competition.

A few weeks before the global pandemic hit in 2020, Turner dropped her latest album, Love Was Here, which was released on her RTR Productions label.

“The album is doing very well!” she told The Gleaner.

“Everything slowed during the pandemic [and it was] a real setback for all in the industry, so we’re playing catch up and working to get back on track,” she said.

Asked about plans to visit Jamaica, Turner said, “I’m looking forward to making a trip, real soon, 2020 was my last, and it was a very sad, emotional time saying farewell to my beloved father, Jocelyn Turner. It was a bittersweet time. Jamaica has that healing, loving feeling which calls to the senses, sea, sand, sunshine and an amazing embracing island. So, I hope it won’t be long before I get back.”