The American TV singing competition has exposed this Jamaican artiste to a larger audience.
"It was an absolute dream come true.” Tessane Chin sighs, her voice rustling slightly over the phone, and in the ensuing silence, nobody doubts her. Hers truly is a one-in-a-million opportunity come to life.
Chin is this year’s winner of the American edition of The Voice.
Chin hails from Jamaica, a sunny country known for its reggae music and white beaches as well as a few other international singers, including Bob Marley, Sean Kingston and Shaggy. Her father is part of the large Jamaican-Chinese community, lending Chin a unique blend of oriental features.
“At first I was a little nervous, because I was coming from Jamaica. It was like, will America accept me? Will they like me? But at no time did I think of it in terms of looks, only in terms of whether I was good enough vocally to compete. Luckily, they embraced that,” Chin said.
Indeed, Chin is the first non-American to participate and win The Voice. Her win signals a new trail of hope for locals back at home who are hoping to make it big in the international market, but Chin still believes that it’s the music which comes first, and the competition second. When asked whether she felt one had to participate in a talent competition to make it big, she gives a definite no.
“Everybody’s journey and everybody’s path is different. (The Voice) was just something that helped me catapult from being where I was and gave me the opportunity to reach a larger audience,” she says.
“I think that when you love something and if you’re good at something, you have to keep doing it. Keep doing it at every opportunity that you can – anything big or small or in between. I don’t think (The Voice) is the only way; it is just one good option.”
True to her word, Chin had been singing long before The Voice, taking every opportunity that came her way – whether it be in her bathroom, or the neighbourhood café – to hone her vocal chops.
It was only after Shaggy, another big-selling artiste from Jamaica who is also a long-time friend, approached her with the idea of taking part in the internationally acclaimed singing competition that Chin considered the daunting task of auditioning.
Could Chin have foreseen the reaction that her participation would have incited throughout Jamaica?
“Oh my goodness, I didn’t realise when I first went on The Voice that it would cause such a national reaction. I have to tell you it has been absolutely mind blowing to see how not just my country but the entire giant score of the Caribbean that lived in the US came together to support me and just wish me well.
“Going home was an amazing experience. They had a wonderful homecoming contest for me and if anything, that’s another reason I want to succeed and make them proud because it’s not about me anymore they’ve really taken me under their wing. I want to make them proud.”
As overwhelming as that amount of pressure may be, Chin doesn’t let it unnerve her. Not during the competition, and certainly not after.
“If anything, I want to say that pressure gives me fuel. Because I want to show them that their love and support is all worth it. It kind of gives me wings to be able to strive and do what I have to do, especially on those days when I feel like it’s too much.
“Then I’m like, ‘Hey, there are people out there that support you, they just want success for you.’ And that’s what I’m trying to do with this album - to take my time and give them the best.”
Chin is in the midst of recording her new album In Between Words, and had just finished performing for the US president at the White House.
Describing her encounter to us, it sounds as though she never really left.
“Talk about being in a room with the people that you dream about all the time, not to mention meeting President Obama and his beautiful wife. I was just beside myself the whole night. It was just an absolute thrill,” she gushed, sounding a lot like a Disney princess whose dreams have just come true.
Ever since she clinched the champion title on The Voice, Chin has been busy performing in the US ... which means being away from home.
“I miss my husband, I miss my sister, my dog, my cat, I miss my bed and I miss cooking,” she laments. Well, you win some, you lose some.
The Voice Season Six airs every Sunday at 8.10pm on AXN (Astro Ch 701/721).