Elesha Paul Moses has been striving for success in the music business for 20 years, via traditional grafting and TV talent shows.

Now, she’s taken her singing career to a new level, starring in the critically-acclaimed stage sensation Whitney: Queen Of The Night, which comes to Alexandra Palace on Thursday, February 20.

Elesha, 39, appeared on The X Factor in 2010, alongside One Direction, winner Matt Cardle and in the same category as the big-haired, bongo-playing wildcard contestant Wagner. 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’s also touring the UK as Tina Turner in smash hit new mammoth theatre show What’s Love Got To Do With It? which is entering its second year.

We spoke to Elesha about her love of performing and recreating the stunning Whitney vocals.

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 2018, initially understudying Whitney and as a backing singer, then moving into the lead role, which continued throughout 2019 – including the amazing West End shows and some gigs in Brazil. I just love that feeling of being on a big stage.

You perform as both Whitney Houston and Tina Turner. What’s it like recreating these iconic female performers live on stage?

Doing Whitney as well as Tina, you need a huge amount of stamina – vocally, physically and mentally, but in such different ways for each performance. Tina is much more the physical challenge, Whitney is the vocal challenge. But working hard to be at my best in both areas pays off on both shows.

And it’s funny really. They are such different sounding performers! Each role strengthens my voice in such different ways.

You’re so exposed performing as Whitney, there’s nowhere to hide as it’s a much slower, more mellow pace of show. I actually had to focus more on Whitney when we started doing the two shows together, even though I’d been in Queen Of The Night for longer, to keep that laidback vibe.

Compare that to Tina. Once you’re on stage, there’s no letting up. I love that contrast between the two.

What’s your favourite song to perform?

From Whitney, Love Will Save The Day, I just love the music and singing that song.

How did you get into singing and performing as a tribute artist?

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 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’, and it went from there.

I’ve never done a typical tribute show; I didn’t go out there and speak with an American accent, I never performed ‘Whitney as Whitney’. I performed Whitney’s music as Elesha; it was always me singing how she sang. And Queen Of The Night is the same. I work really hard with her actions and bring those elements of Whitney to the show.

You started writing with a record company aged just 17. Can you tell us about the switch to the world of tributes?

I never used to do tributes, I was striving to put out my own music. Things happened in my life, and I was in between things not really knowing what to do.

I’d tried the traditional methods to get signed. It was just never meant to be. So, I decided it was time to take it away from being me and into being someone else.

How was your time on The X Factor and The Voice?

When I did X Factor – 10 years ago, wow – I was in the year of One Direction and Cher Lloyd, but I went home after judges’ houses.

I was asked to audition for The Voice, and I first went when I was pregnant – but I realised the live shows would be on when I was due so had to back out. But I auditioned again in 2013 as part of a duo, and in 2014.

Doing both of these did give me a boost at the time. I don’t know what people think of me as an artist having done those shows, but I’m so grateful and glad to have moved on to what I’m doing now.

Alexandra Palace, Alexandra Palace Way, N22 7AY, Thursday, February 20, 6.30pm. Details: cuffeandtaylor.com