“I have had an amazing journey so far, finding out who I am as an artiste, as a writer, as a performer. It has been an interesting evolution.” – Tessanne Chin in an interview.
Some may know her from her debut with chart-topper hit “Hideaway” and her worldwide tours years before her international stardom, while others may know her as the Season Five The Voice winner. No matter when, where or how you know the Jamaican born songbird, it cannot be denied that she has a raw and extraordinary talent which will open many opportunities for the islander.
“It’s all about being inspired. I don’t want to get thrust into that box of ‘OK, so I have a big voice and I always need to sing these big epic songs.’ It’s good to be versatile and try to explore different parts of your voice and emotion.” – Tessanne in an interview.
She was born on September 23, 1985 in the central urban area of Kingston, Jamaica. She comes from a line of musical talent, as both of her parents were involved with music. She was bitten by the performing bug when she sang at their rehearsals at the tender age of five. At age six she performed in Cathy Levy’s Little People and Teen Players Club, one of the top performing arts schools in Jamaica at the time.
Tessanne moved to England at the age of twelve where she devoted time to writing songs which expressed her feelings about the new culture and how different it was from her home country. She recalls that she was sure then, that her career should be in the music industry. At the age of eighteen she started singing professionally, drawing inspiration from legends such as Beyoncé, Celine Dion, Whitney Houston and Adele.
Her father later ventured into studio recording as a profession, also building a home studio to hone his daughters’ talents – her older sister Tami released her debut album in 2006.
She once led Mile High, a rock-reggae group which was made up additionally of drummer Andrew Thompson, guitarist Paul Chang and bass player Jason Morris. They performed at local venues including Rock Fest, Jazz Fest and RETV Unplugged. She then joined the legendary Jimmy Cliff’s band as a backup singer for a world tour for the next three years where she opened for the likes of Mary J Blige, Patti Labelle, Roberta Flack, Gladys Knight, Peabo Bryson, Neyo and others.
Hideaway, released in 2007, launched her solo career and her musical talent became more notable and she was recognized for her talent through her collaborations and singles throughout the subsequent years with world renowned artistes like Shaggy and Kes The Band. She found success as a soloist as she developed her signature sound of Reggae, R&B and Rock Fusion, her impressive vocal range, her emotive lyrics and her phenomenal performances. Tessanne has made numerous appearances at major concerts like Reggae Sumfest, Jamaica 50 Grand Gala, Jamaica’s Jazz and Blues Festival.
“It’s difficult as a singer to get airtime in Jamaica,” she says. “You rarely hear local singers on the radio. In fact, you hardly hear reggae on the radio. Dancehall is what is dominant.” – Tessanne Chin in an interview.
In 2010, she released the album “Between Words” and eventually Shaggy encouraged her to compete in the Voice, the prestigious United States vocal show in 2013.
“I was literally at the end of a road, you know, and coming to a place in my life where I was like, am I going to keep doing this and feeling like I’m not getting anywhere? Or am I going to give this another shot? And thank God, thank God, I was able to give it another shot.” – Tessanne Chin in an interview.
She auditioned with her rendition of P!nk’s Try and subsequently performed under Adam Levine’s tutelage.
“When you come off a reality show and vocal competition where you sing other people’s songs and then you have to figure out what kind of artiste you are in the space of three months and the type of album you want to make is tough.” – Tessanne in an interview.
Little did the world know — as many watched in admiration — the vocal prowess of the Jamaican beauty and that she would leave Season Five victorious from Team Adam’s camp to winning the trophy, the title, the US $100,000 cash prize and the recording contract with Universal Music Group.
“[Winning the Voice] did change my life . . . .I have made many sacrifices (biggest being away from family) but it is an amazing thing to do what you love and be successful and to be able to make a living from it…..I am happy to say that although there are things that it has changed in my life, my life is still pretty much the same – I am still the same person and the people that are around me I love. I am grateful for that and it is a blessing.” – Tessanne Chin in an interview.
The Republic label, to which Tessanne was signed, produced the album “Count On My Love” in 2014 and the hit single “Fire” launched in 2015 followed by Love Suicide in 2016.
“I’ve been an artist before that, but it was a game changer. With this new album, it’s about finding what is natural and what is real. People can spot fakeness from far away, so if you don’t believe it, don’t expect anybody else to.” – Tessanne in an interview.
All three songs have garnered much recognition for the superstar including the Billboard Adult R&B National Airplay Chart and have been at the top of Sirius XM Radio‘s Heart & Soul music chart. She has attributed her success to the support of her family, friends, and of course, her fans.
“I have the best set of fans in the world. I have never seen people that push for me like that and continue to support me no matter what and defend me” – Tessanne Chin in an interview.
To this day, she still speaks highly of the time she performed at numerous Galas like the Hummingbird Gala, but the greatest of which was the White House Gala for the President of the United States of America and his family, The Obamas. She also was graced by the presence of VIP guests and other artistes, not to mention Labelle and Franklin.
“I was so nervous. Out of my mind nervous. I remember thinking ‘I didn’t know they were going to be so close to the stage’. I said [to myself] ‘do Tessanne, no bada drop down in dem high heel boot dem’…and I didn’t want to fall in front of the women I had looked up to all my life.” – Tessanne Chin in an interview.
She has been touring across the world, never experiencing a dull moment in countries in the Caribbean region, Canada, Singapore, and the United States. In addition, she has become an entrepreneur in a business; she co-owns Jamaica’s first blow dry bar, Blow By Blow Jamaica, with her sister. Also, it is rumoured that she might try her hand at acting.
“We have stuff in the pipeline. Movies take a lot of work, dedication and time so when the right opportunities meet the right time we will see… I definitely have to get a dialect coach because I have a strong Jamaican accent – not all parts are written for Jamaican women so it may be a problem.” – Tessanne Chin in an interview.
“I am at the point where I have found the balance. It was very tough at first. I love what I do but to go at that pace was maddening and very stressful….You kinda feel stretched at a point but I have to say I am getting the hang of it and I have a good team that care about me and want me to be happy and help me take care of myself.” – Tessanne Chin in an interview.
Tessanne will be performing at the first annual YOWronto Music Festival, in Toronto, Canada on July 2, 2017.
YOWronto Music Festival is a music extravaganza, in its first annual season, launching this year to coincide with the celebration of Canada’s 150th year of Confederation.
This Festival will be held at Woodbine Mall on Saturday July 1, and Sunday July 2, 2017, and will boast a variety of activities as a tribute to Canada’s diversity.
The YOWronto Music Festival will have performances from various music genres including International performing artistes Baby Cham, Alison Hinds, Romain Virgo, Lieutenant Stitchie, Eric Donaldson, and Professor Nuts.
A host of Canadian performing artistes such as Kim Davis, Jay Harmony, Michie Mee, Jimmy Reid, Ammoye, Tasha T, Xola, Aquilla Roots, Blessed, Elle Trema, Carlos Morgan, Jason Lindo, Tony Anthony, Kenny C, Captain Love, and many more will be included to complete the event and its purpose. Wally British will make a Special appearance and the event will be hosted by some of the Greater Toronto Area’s (GTA’s) best radio and entertainment personalities.
There will be representation from the Sick Kids Hospital, The Sickle Cell Foundation, Angels of Love, a Speaker on Childhood Obesity, a Speaker on aspects of the Law, Hope Crossing Borders, and other speakers.
At the YOWronto Music Festival there will be Spoken Word, drumming, dancing, and fun activities for the kids. The festival is perfect for the entire family, music lovers, other artistes, or anyone who wants to have an awesome experience.
Topping the list of sponsors is FLOW.
FLOW was formerly a brand of Columbus Communications providing residential and business telephone, Internet and television services across the Caribbean. The brand was used by individual companies operating in each country, registered under the Columbus Communications name.
Cable & Wireless Communications however, purchased Columbus Communications in 2014, and began to replace its existing LIME-branded services under the FLOW brand beginning in July 2015 (in Barbados).
FLOW is now the consumer-facing brand for CWC’s operations in the Caribbean in Barbados, Jamaica, The Cayman Islands, St. Kitts and Nevis, Trinidad and Tobago, Montserrat, Dominica, Antigua & Barbuda, St. Vincent, St. Lucia, Anguilla, Curacao, the Turks and Caicos Islands and the British Virgin Islands.
Learn more about FLOW
By Alexandra Daley