If Jamaican singer Tessanne Chin had listened to a few detractors, she would not have won season 5 of NBC’s singing competition, The Voice, in 2013.
In fact, she probably wouldn’t have entered.
When Tessanne decided to enter the competition in 2013, she had already experienced some success as an entertainer in Jamaica. She had toured with reggae legend Jimmy Cliff, and she was accustomed to performing on major shows. She already had hits like Hideaway and Messenger.
So, it’s no surprise that some people in Jamaica questioned why she was entering a singing competition overseas.
In bringing up the issue on her ‘Meet The Mitchells’ YouTube channel recently, Tessanne’s sister, Tami Chynn, said: “When you decide to enter The Voice, there must have been such a big part of you that felt ‘I am an established singer, I am in my career, does this look like … I am entering a competition, how could that be?’ And I know this is something you struggled with and it was said ‘how come she a singer and she gone enter competition?’”
My bread and butter
Tessanne said that she heard those kinds of questions many times.
“I remember somebody coming up to me in the supermarket saying, ‘what are you doing’, and I remember looking at them in the eyes and saying, ‘14 million viewers’,” Tessanne in the video, titled ‘Part 2 Story Time: The Voice – Stories You Haven’t Heard! with Tessanne Chin’ that was uploaded on October 11.
“It’s one thing to make it in this small area. I want to see how far I can go and everybody deserves that opportunity and that chance to do it. And I’ve been given that opportunity, so why not?”
Through The Voice, Tessanne was able to sing for millions on a weekly basis, and she also frequented the iTunes charts.
But her success in the competition also meant that she had to make many sacrifices. She even had to share hotel rooms and accept a per diem as opposed to being paid for performing on shows.
“I even remember having to give up work, and back then as I said, this is what I do. This is my bread and butter. I don’t have a job on the side,” she said.
Despite the naysayers and the sacrifices, Tessanne is grateful for the experience, as she grew as an entertainer, made friends and she even performed with Celine Dion, who she has been a fan of since she was a child.