Counts On Her Fans
by Ally Abramson
Tessanne Chin is living her dream. After winning season five of The Voice in late 2013, Chin began performing all over the place, touring and racking up fans all over. Before her Voice experience, Chin was no stranger to the music business. She even released an independent album in 2010. The Voice got the word out and ever since people have been drawn to her, with her sassy style and stellar voice.
On The Voice she worked alongside Adam Levine and performed classics such as Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing,” and Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” both of which reached the top slot in iTunes ratings. This summer she released her first album since taking the prize on the TV contest, Count On My Love, which included the single “Tumbling Down,” which was co-written by Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic.
Chin’s smooth R&B voice matches her relaxed attitude towards everything. Despite her massive success, Chin remains down to earth. Recently she answered some questions about her experience on The Voice and what we can expect from her in the future.
You were on The Voice working with Adam Levine. What was that like?
It was awesome!! Adam is just a straight up, down to earth, funny guy and it was an absolute pleasure to work with him.
What was the best advice he gave you?
The best advice Adam gave me was to “create moments that people will remember… to really connect to the song and make it believable to the people listening.” Also, not to be afraid of taking risks.
What have you learned in recent months after The Voice?
I’ve learned that after The Voice is when the real hard work begins. Don’t get me wrong: The Voice is tough. It’s like boot camp, but it also very much a safe place where everything has been laid out for you, in terms of schedule, songs, and stage, etc. They give you the best so you can show up and give your best.
After The Voice it’s very much about finding out who you are as an artist. Navigating your way through the industry, the expectations, and the crazy schedule. But I am grateful. I can honestly say since December 17, 2013 we have worked nonstop for pretty much a year now. All around the world; we have had some amazing opportunities because of The Voice and for that I am forever grateful.
When we saw you perform in Philly, you also brought up Matthew Schuler, a local kid and another finalist from your season of The Voice. Do you keep in touch with others from that season? Though it’s a competition, do friendships form during the experience?
Most definitely! You can’t know people for that long and not develop a bond in some way. The truth is, people like Matthew and Will [Champlin] and Jacquie [Lee], even people I knew from blinds like Preston [Pohl] and Olivia [Henken], they know what it is like to have this very unique experience. In a way they get a part of you that is otherwise hard for other people to relate to. We became a family and I’m thrilled about that.
Who inspires you as an artist?
People like Celine Dion, Beyoncé, Adele and Sam Smith. They aren’t afraid to be who they are and for me, they aren’t a trend. When I listen to people like Amy Winehouse, I know that 20 years from now I can listen to Back to Black and it’s still going to be relevant and crazy good. Bob Marley also did that. That’s the kind of music I want to make: music that lasts.
How would you describe your sound?
Soulful. It may have elements of reggae or pop, rock, even dubstep. But always soulful.
What was your favorite performance that you did on the Voice?
Oh my gosh, I can’t choose just one! For me there were three or four. The first being my blind audition, when I sang “Try,” because I was just so nervous and in a way, desperate. To have not just the chairs turn around, but a turn around in my life, my career. Who would have thought that this is how it would have turned out! It’s amazing. A dream come true. And it all started with that song. But “Redemption Song,” “Bridge Over Troubled Waters” and “I Have Nothing” were strong contenders.
What is your favorite song to perform live?
My favorite songs to perform as of late have been “Lifeline” and “Heaven Knows” off my new album Count On My Love. It never fails to amaze me when the crowd sings it back! That’s the best feeling for an artist.
Where is the best place that you’ve performed?
Oh that’s a hard one! I can’t think of just one but NYC is one for sure! So is DC. Also having a chance to perform in Shanghai, China was pretty cool but I am most nervous to perform in Jamaica because they’re my people, my home and it’s pretty special for me to get to sing there and all over the Caribbean.
Your fans are super dedicated to you and your career. We can see that every time we post a pic of you. If you could say anything to your fans what would it be?
Thank you so very much! My #Tessanity peeps, I can’t and could not have achieved any of this without you! Thank you for believing in me, encouraging me and occasionally fighting for me. I love you!
Do you have any advice for other aspiring artists?
My advice is to just keep singing, keep growing, keep learning, and keep believing. I’ve been doing this for a long time. I know the road can get so tough and disheartening, but keep your head up and remember why it is you do what you do. It can’t be about fame, or hype, or getting rich. It’s got to be because there is nothing else on this earth you would rather do. Because you love it.
What is the process of writing a song like for you?
It’s different each time. Sometimes I’m messing with my guitar and a melody comes. Sometimes it’s just words. Sometimes it’s just a melody. It’s all about the time and place and space you’re in that inspires this moment.
You do a lot of charity work. What can you tell us about that?
I believe that if you have had an amazing opportunity like this, then you should also use your voice where it needs to be heard. To bring awareness to the causes that don’t always get enough support, like Lupus, or food for the poor, or Polio. We are humans, so therefore susceptible to hunger, sickness, poverty. That’s something I don’t believe should go unnoticed. Thankfully because of a lot of hard work from these amazing individuals, it won’t. I want to use my voice for good. For change.
Do you have any pre-show rituals?
Prayers and vocal warm ups and nerves. Yes, I still get nervous no matter what! A little ginger tea with lemon and honey is always nice. Or a bit of Hennessy or Jamaican Appleton rum. We always like to have pre-jam session with the band, too.
How have you grown as an artist over the years?
In every way, for sure. I feel it more now than ever. Not just vocally, but in confidence and on the stage. I feel more like the person and artist I want to be everyday. I love the challenge of learning new things, so it’s been a very interesting time and very rewarding.
How is your latest album different from your independently released album?
Growth! Being able to learn from incredible writers and producers. Also making an independent album, I feel it’s harder to focus on just the music at times, because you’re figuring everything else out, too. But I’m proud of my independent stuff, In Between Words, just as I proud of this album.
What is the most important thing to you as an artist?
Staying true to myself and making music that will touch peoples hearts and minds, with a positive message. I want my music to bring joy to whoever listens to it. I want to make music that lasts.
What is something that most people don’t know about you?
That I am a homebody. (laughs) What I do is in contrast to my personality. On stage a different part of me comes out, comes alive. While off stage I’m the opposite. I’m quite content to stay at home with my husband and my family and friends, be a wife and cook him dinner. He’s actually the more social one out of the two of us. I’m quite shy. I don’t like crowds. As hard as this may be to believe, I don’t like being the center of attention. Unless I’m on stage. I’m a bag of opposites.
Who is your favorite artist?
There are too many to count! I’ve loved Celine Dion since I was like 11. People like Beyoncé, too. I love Bob Marley but I also adore his son Damien ‘Jr. Gong’ Marley also. I’m an old soul, so Tina Turner, Shirley Bassey…. The list goes on and on.
Where do you hope to take your career in the future?
To the four corners of the earth. (smiles) Of course I would love a Grammy. Who wouldn’t? I also want to do Broadway one day and have millions of albums sold. But as long as I am singing and making music that people love and support, that is success for me.
Copyright ©2014 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: November 14, 2014.
Photos ©2014 Ethan Serling/PopEntertainment.com.