Island Girl - Tessanne Chin
Known for her powerful musical chops, ever-changing hairstyle and effervescent personality, Tessanne Chin's life may be a whirlwind since winning The Voice, but she's hitting all high notes.
Photography by Taj Stansberry
With her endearing Jamaican lilt and knockout talent, Tessanne Chin has taken the music world by storm since blowing away the competition to win season five of The Voice and securing a recording contract with Universal Music Group.
Performing since she was six years old, the Kingston born and raised powerhouse was urged to try out for the show by close friend and reggae star, Shaggy, with whom she had collaborated on “Never Let Go”. Despite touring for years as a backup singer with Jimmy Cliff and numerous regional hits under her belt, Tessanne was uncertain American audiences would accept her exoticness, a thought that was monumentally disproved by her overwhelming win in 2013. Now changing planes more often than her hairstyle, it’s clear that audiences have embraced her.
RL: How did growing up in the Caribbean shape you?
TC: I think living in the Caribbean helps to keep you in touch with the simple but important things that we sometimes take for granted. I grew up very family oriented and was taught to treat everyone with the same levels of courtesy and respect that I would like to be treated with. There was always time for family and friends, music, eating together and fellowship, but there was also great importance put on discipline and responsibility.
RL: What do you miss the most about Jamaica?
TC: Well, I still live in Jamaica but I travel quite a bit now, so apart from missing my family and friends, I miss the people and the food! I also miss things like waking up to the sound of birds, picking fruit off my dad’s tree and going to the beach.
RL: Growing up who were your biggest musical influences?
TC: I grew up with people like Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff, Beres Hammond and Marcia Griffiths, but my older brothers introduced me to Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Celine Dion and The Cranberries. I’m also very much an old soul so I love people like Tina Turner, Aretha Franklin, Patti LaBelle and the list goes on and on.
RL: What have you learned since winning The Voice?
TC: That the hard work and dedication is continuous! It’s not enough to just work hard for a few months to win a competition. The true hard work begins after that and it’s no joke!
RL: You were recently in Grand Cayman where you were the surprise guest at the 2014 Breast Cancer Gala Dinner. Were you able to enjoy the island while here?
TC: I wasn’t able to do a lot because when working I’m pretty focused on my mission, which is to give a great show. But I did have a lovely meal with my band members at The Ritz-Carlton, so that was cool. And I did notice y’all had some gigantasaurus lizards over there (laughing)!
RL: What is next for Tessanne Chin?
TC: Apart from travelling and performing, I’m back in the studio recording and working on new material. I’m pretty excited about it. We’ve had the opportunity to work with amazing producers and writers like Phatboiz, Justice League and Lil C of the Hustle Gang Crew. It’s a new direction for me, more soulful, but it feels so right and true to who I am at this moment.
EAT: Hellshire Beach at Aunt May’s – fried fish and escovitch with festival and bammy.
DRINK: My sister’s house! We always having a great time there.
STAY: Hmm, can’t choose just one but I absolutely loved Jamaica Inn. It was so peaceful, quiet and beautiful.
What song never fails to move you? Oh Lord, I can’t choose just one! Songs like “I’m Feeling Good” by Nina Simone; “Respect” by Aretha Franklin; "I Will Always Love You" by Whitney Houston; and “War” by Bob Marley.
What is your most valued possession? Hmm, I can’t say family because you can’t place a value on how much that means to me. I dunno ‘cause possessions can be replaced so that’s tricky.
If you could collaborate with one person, who would that be? Oh, there are so many! I love Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley, but also I love Bruno Mars and Sam Smith.
Who is your favourite singer? I adore Celine Dion. I think vocally she is just awesome but I am also part of the BeyHive. I love me some Beyoncé! Such a dynamic all-around entertainer. Talk about girl power!
What don’t people know about you? I love to read. When you’re on planes as much as I am it becomes a very relaxing experience to escape somewhere else in your imagination.
2 words friends use to describe you: Funny and loyal.
2 things always in your bag: iPhone and a lil’ make up.
2 people you’d invite to dinner: Bob Marley and Princess Diana or Oprah.
Tessanne is returning to perform in Cayman on April 17th, 2015.
Learn more about Tessanne at: www.officialtessannechin.com
comments powered by Disqus