Critically acclaimed international stage sensation Whitney – Queen of the Night is heading to Southend. The stunning celebration of the music and life of one of the greatest singers of our time will be at the Cliffs Pavilion on Wednesday, July 3.
Whitney – Queen Of The Night will star Elesha Paul Moses (Whitney – Queen Of The Night tour, What’s Love Got To Do With It?, The Voice, The X Factor) in the title role, supported by a stunning live band.
Elesha, 38, who comes from Hampshire, appeared on The X Factor in 2010, alongside One Direction, winner Matt Cardle. She then reached the battle rounds – twice – on The Voice, working with will.i.am in a duo in 2013 and Tom Jones as a solo act a year later. She had previously been mentored by Mathew Knowles – Beyonce’s dad – on a Channel 4 talent show.
In recent months she’s been touring the UK and Europe as the understudy and lead Whitney Houston in Whitney: Queen Of The Night – as she now prepares to step into the limelight full time. This year she is also touring the UK as Tina Turner in the brand-new mammoth theatre show What’s Love Got To Do With It?.
We spoke to Elesha about her love of performing and recreating the stunning Whitney vocals.
How did you get into singing and performing as a tribute artist?
When I first started singing – well, when I first realised I could properly sing I was about 13 – I was always mimicking others and that’s how I taught myself. But that real big belting voice wouldn’t necessarily come out. Then, listening to people like Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey, those kind of artists, was when it really came to me.
I was singing in a club and a friend said ‘We should do something different’, I said ‘Shall we try Whitney or something?’. I went home, put down a couple of lines of Whitney and thought ‘Oh, I can sound like her’. It went from there and I’ve progressed the sound over the years. The older I got, the more I appreciated the music and her voice and character.
Whitney: Queen Of The Night has been touring for a few years now. When did you join the show?
I’ve been touring with the show since the Autumn, understudying Whitney and as a backing singer. Thanks to that opportunity, I can feel I’m growing, and my vocals are getting stronger and stronger. I love that feeling of being on a big stage.
You perform as both Whitney Houston and Tina Turner – they’re very different artists.
What’s it like recreating these iconic female performers live on stage?
It’s funny really. They are such different sounding performers!
Tina’s not got a growl as such, it’s just something which is there in her tone. It’s really difficult. People think it’s shouting but it’s not, it’s a very particular tone that she has, and she’s so free with her performance. Then when I’m on stage as Whitney it’s almost the opposite.
Do you prefer one or other of them to perform as?
That’s like asking me to choose my favourite child! I love them both in totally different ways. With both, I’m always learning, but especially with Whitney there are songs I have to always go back to and re-listen to how she sounds, I’m constantly learning how to improve with her voice. Then with Tina it’s all the fun of her performance.
What’s your favourite Whitney song to perform?
From Whitney, Love Will Save The Day, I just love the music and singing that song.
How was your time on The X Factor and The Voice – and what did you learn from the experience?
When I did X Factor – in 2010 – it was nothing like the level it is now with all the media interest and social media. I was in the year of One Direction and Cher Lloyd, and Wagner – he was in Louis Walsh’s Overs category with me, but I went home after judges’ houses. It’s not a platform in the same way it is now for the early stages, and you’re left on your own to find a path and help yourself.
I was asked to audition for The Voice, and I first went when I was pregnant with my daughter Kookie, who’s now six – but I realised the live shows would be on when I was due with her so had to back out. But I auditioned again in 2013 as part of a duo [getting to the battle rounds in Team will.i.am], and again in 2014 [again, getting to the battle rounds with Team Tom].
Doing both of these did give me a boost at the time, even though I got so close but ultimately wasn’t successful. I don’t know what people think of me as an artist having done those shows, but I’m glad to be moving on into this new camp now. I’m 99.9per cent – no, make that 100per cent sure I wouldn’t be tempted to do it again.
Tell us about working with Mathew Knowles, Beyoncé’s dad!
So, yes, I did a TV show a long time ago, where I was mentored by Mathew Knowles – Beyoncé’s dad – that was pretty mad. It was Chancers on Channel 4’s T4, and I won the chance from UK auditions to spend a month in Houston, America, where the group of us chosen had various challenges. Mine was to sing at the same studio where Whitney Houston had recorded, little did I know what was to come all these years on.
But, that experience gave me a really tough skin, to know that whatever you do don’t worry about what’s happened in the past; it’s all brought me to where I am now.
Whitney – Queen Of The Night comes to the Cliffs Pavilion on Wednesday 3 July. For tickets and more information visit: southendtheatres.org.uk
Whitney – Queen Of The Night is brought to you by Cuffe & Taylor in association with Paul Roberts Productions. Fans will be blown away by three decades of nostalgic hits, including I Wanna Dance With Somebody, One Moment In Time, I’m Every Woman, I Will Always Love You, My Love Is Your Love, So Emotional Baby, Run to You, Saving All My Love, How Will I Know, Million Dollar Bill, The Greatest Love Of All, and many more. An unmissable evening paying homage to one of the best-selling music artists of all time.
WIN! WIN! WIN!
For your chance to win a pair of tickets to see the show at The Cliffs Pavilion simply send your name and contact details, along with subject header ‘Queen of the Night Competition’ to: [email protected] or to the usual Enquirer address. Closing date 11 April 2019.