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Tessanne-Chin

Her voice might certainly be taking her into uncharted territory, but Tessanne Chin is as down-to-earth as two slices of bread and butter. SO takes 10 with the Rock’s latest ‘singsation’ who still chokes up at the mention of her former Voice roommate and battle-round partner Donna Allen, who also has firm Caribbean roots — her mother being Jamaican and her father Guyanese.

On Donna…

She’s an amazing woman and it was such an honour to sing with her. A lot of people don’t know that she comes from Caribbean roots. Her mom’s Jamaican and her dad’s Guyanese. Hopefully, she’ll come down to the island to visit me, one day. Who knows, maybe, we’ll do a song together. I have nothing but love and respect for that woman.

Getting on The Voice…

Shaggy came to me with the idea as he had a contact at The Voice. At first, I was a bit hesitant but after accepting that at the end of the day I really had nothing to lose, I changed my tune. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a dream of mine to conquer the US market, and here is one way of doing that! This was alomost a year ago — in December 2012. They came to Jamaica.

That blind audition…

It was nerve-wracking because in The Voice universe I wasn’t Tessanne Chin, the brand; I wasn’t a recording artiste; I was just another person out there trying to get a chair to turn.

On selecting Try by Pink…

I chose that song because I want to be seen as a vocalist and I want my vocal ability to be the thing that stands out. I loved the lyrical content and, personally, it was representative of me getting up and trying again. Plus, Pink is a full, well-rounded artiste. It’s not about her songs, it’s also about her voice, writing, and about her ability to do acrobatics on stage and still be able to sing. It’s what I aspire to.

Whose chair did you want to turn and why?

Adam Levine! I’m entering a realm that I’ve never been in before; singing in musical genres I’ve never sang in before. Therefore, I needed a mentor who could understand the importance of crossing genres… someone who had actually done it, and does it well. I must say, though, Christina Aquilera made it very hard to choose because I rate her, to the max.

When Adam turned…

At that point, I had to really concentrate on finishing the song. Then all of them turned, which was really humbling. You dare to dream…

The morning after… and a nation in celebratory mode…

Wow, that was to me the most unbelievable part of it all. The outpouring of support from my fellow Jamaicans just blew me away! It’s one thing to be just making music, it’s another thing to be touching people’s lives, and making a difference. To make my country proud meant everything to me. Having to keep the entire experience up to that point a secret was a challenge in itself. Only my dad and my husband knew; and we made the decision that everyone else should experience this journey the way that they should. Plus, there’s the US$-million gag order!

So your mother and your sister Tami Chynn didn’t know?

They knew I had auditioned but they didn’t know the outcome.

On not sharing with sister Tami…

Tami and I are super-close. But she made it easy for me: she didn’t want to know. She said she wanted to experience with me as it all unfolds on television. She knew I would be under a lot of pressure and she was well aware that people would be pressuring her for details and info. So in order to free herself from that, she opted out of knowing.

On maintaining authenticity and identity throughout the competition…

I went into this being myself and I know I’ll come out of this being myself. Perhaps a more experienced person. The Voice has given me a big opportunity to learn and to grow, but I will always be Tessanne. My heart is Jamaica, I can’t change that.

On her father becoming quite a sensation…

My dad is still looking after us even though he doesn’t have to! He’s made many a sacrifice for Tami and me to have the ability to do what we do. For instance, building a studio is no small feat. When my dad literally broke ground with a pick-axe on our verandah, he didn’t know where anything was going to come from to support of all of this; he just said, “I’m doing it”. And it’s this blind faith that has taken our family so far and that I’ll have to apply to my own life.

On dad…

My father has no false pride when it comes to putting food on the table for his children. If he has to go out there tomorrow and sweep the streets, just to ensure that he could still be able to be a provider, he would. My dad has done it all on not very much. He didn’t have many opportunities in his own life so he’s made sure to provide those opportunities for us. He’s worked his butt off to give us what we have — because he didn’t have it. So it that makes us spoiled then, yes, we’re spoiled.

On financial support for the show…

The Voice pays for you to be up there. They give you a stipend; and when our families came to visit, they were put up and given a per diem. They take care of everything. Plus, they go out their way to treat you so well – all you have to do is show up! Everyone connected to The Voice are some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. None of us are referred to as numbers; we are all called by our names.

On the wardrobe…

When I first walked into the wardrobe section for the show, I was floored. They give you the best in wardrobe and the department — including hair and makeup — is staffed with people who have worked with big names such as Pink, Rihanna and Madonna. They pull pieces for the contestants; everything fits right and they have the resources to have any garment altered and tailored to your specifications. Every detail you can possibly think of has already been thought of and anticipated. You are also allowed to bring your own stuff which they mix with the pieces they give us, especially for the ‘reality’ segments.

On balancing marriage and The Voice…

It can get hard as we have to be away from each other so much, but my husband, Michael, is my rock. Plus, a lot of the times when I want to just pack it in, he’s like, “You can’t. You’ve got to do this.” I give him lots of kudos!

On having children…

Not for now. I’m as focused as ever on my career and luckily, I have a husband who understands that! I’m giving myself at least three years… I want to ensure that I’m mentally prepared to be a good mother. Music is my baby right now.

If you win The Voice…

I would use it as a platform to conquer the rest of the world.

And if you don’t…

I’m still going to conquer the rest of the world. There’s no other option. I believe in striking while the iron’s hot!

On weight issues…

We all have insecurities and body issues but I have never based my career around my weight — look at Adele and Emeli Sandé and every great singer you can possibly think of. I’m going to rock fashion; I’m going to rock whatever I want to rock, no matter what weight I am. We all have insecurities and body issues but at the end of the day self-acceptance and confidence are some of the most powerful attributes. Don’t get me wrong though, I might be fluffy but I’m fit!

If you had to choose between Emeli or Adele — at this particular juncture — who would you most want to share a mic with?

Emeli. There’s just something really endearing about her — and it’s the same with Adele — but I connect with Emeli’s lyrical content and the way her songs are mixed.

Via Jamaicaobserver.com

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