Tessanne Chin was born in Jamaica, but she has been making a big splash throughout the rest of the world as well. The reggae fusion recording artist recently released a solo album entitled “In Between Words” and its hit singles “Hideaway” and “Messenger” have been quickly moving up the charts, enchanting old fans and gaining new ones. Singer Tessanne Chin certainly brings an interesting cultural and musical heritage to the stage and the recording studio. Her father Richard Chin combines Chinese and Cherokee heritage, while her mother Christine Chin is of English and Black descent. That cultural heritage is certainly unique, but a love of music runs deep in her family.
Tessanne Chin developed a passion for music at a very early age, no doubt due to the important role music played in the lives of her parents. Her mother Christine worked as a trumpeter and singer with The Carnations, while her father served as a drummer for the band. Playing and recording music came naturally to Tessanne Chin, and her family still maintains their old recording studio on the island of Jamaica.
Tessanne Chin got off to an early start on her musical career, performing with Cathy Levy’s Little People and Teen Players Club when she was just six years old. Those two schools, among Jamaica’s finest, gave her an early appreciation of music and served as a wonderful introduction to performing in front of an audience. While her formal schooling was certainly important, most of Tessanne’s vocal coaching came from her mother, assisted by famed vocal coach Lecie Wright.
Cultural diversity comes naturally to Tessanne Chin, with her diverse personal history and exposure to people from many different walks of life. When she moved to London at the age of 12, she dealt with the drastic change of scenery by devoting even more of her time to writing songs and playing music.
In addition to her recently released album and hit singles, Tessanne Chin has played a number of live shows, including a memorable performance at the Air Jamaica Jazz and Blues F estival in 2006 and the Reggae Sunfest in 2007 and 2012. Tessanne Chin has also played the famous Deck Café, the Port Royal Music Festival and ABC Slim Traxx.
In addition to those appearances, Tessanne Chin now has her very own show, entitled “Arabian Night”. In addition to her solo performances, Tessanne Chin has collabor ated with other Jamaican artists like Shaggy (“Never Let Go”) and Protoje (“Someone Like You”). She has also played with the Tobago soca band Kes (“Loving You”) and been featured on a tr ack by famed Jamaican band Third World. That track, entitled “By My Side” is a particular favourite with her fans.
In the studio, Tessanne Chin has been busy as well. She is proud of her studio collaborations with a number of wonderful writers and producers, including Dan Warren, Roc Siddi, Clarke Keelley and Super Dupes. As she puts it, “It’s been a great experience. It’s been a great journey to go back into the studio and find out where I am now”. Tessanne Chin has even been a guest at the White House in Washington, D.C., where she remembers looking eagerly f or President and Mrs. Obama. A highlight of that trip was the chance to sing on the same stage where Sting once performed, something Tessanne Chin will never forget.
During the course of her career, Tessanne Chin has made the move from the background to the foreground, and she feels the new sense of responsibility that comes with the increased exposure. She says, “I wouldn’t want to do anything that I wouldn’t be proud of, or I wouldn’t want to do anything that my husband or my parents wouldn’t be proud of, so that’s how I look at it”.
The present and the future
Tessanne Chin is currently hard at work on a new album, which is coming along on schedule. The singer has already added the first single to her repertoire. In fact, she is looking forward to performing the new song on the hit talent show The Voice.
The Jamaican-born singer recognises her status as a role model for young artists, and she has this advice for those who are just getting started, “I think it’s very important to know where you are as an artist, which is why I feel for young women in particular”. She feels that those young women are constantly being spoon fed a single form of music, and that can make it difficult for singers who do not fit the traditional mould. At the end of the day, Tessanne Chin just wants to be a positive role model, and she hopes that young people can be happy with what they have and what they have been given.
Tessanne Chin also feels the eyes on her as a result of her appearance on The Voice. She recognizes that many past winners of the on-air talent show have not enjoyed the same level of success as their American Idol brethren, but she maintains a positive attitude and tries to just keep doing what she does best.
As she so succinctly puts it, “I’m not going to be rude or pressured by just record sales, or just a certain level, because doing what I’m doing here with you guys is my definition of success, and me living my dreams, so that’s how I’m going to measure that”.