The headline may seem out of place for one of Jamaica’s finest singers, but Tessanne Chin says she’s felt vocally stifled for the last six years.
The revelation was aired during an Instagram Live with sister Tami Chin Mitchell on Monday night where they spoke about using their voices for different causes beyond singing.
Sharing some of their childhood trauma, the sisters said they were long compared because of their gift of singing which contributes to their current distance from the music business.
“You have to understand, when we were growing up, you can’t even sing next to Tessanne,” Tami said. “Like come on, are you kidding me?”
But for Tessanne, singing was the only way people acknowledged her existence.
“I had to sing in order for anybody to even notice I was alive because if I walked in a room beside you, who the f**k knew?” she said. “In my situation, that is what I felt like I could bring to the table that was of any worth. I didn’t consider myself to be a beautiful person, one of those women that walk into a room and turn heads – I wasn’t that.”
Tami kickstarted her career 2001 and said she always felt supported by Tessanne.
“But if I’m being honest,” Tessanne intercepted. “I also remember thinking, ‘Why she gotta do what I’m doing? Ain’t she pretty enough’.”
Though they are huge fans of each other’s music today, Tami believes her career had to precede Tessanne’s because her sister is “many notches up” in terms of vocal ability. However, Tami also believes “If we weren’t sisters, we would never have been compared because we didn’t do the same style of music at all.”
Beyond those comparisons, Tessanne also faced criticism about the direction of her career following her 2013 win on The Voice and the demise of her first marriage. The constant scrutiny was enough to make her avoid social media.
“When you hear too many opinions of yourself, of your career, of your marriage or whatever, it’s just like, okay, peace, cause that’s my way of dealing with it…
For a long time I feel like I had a hand to my throat…and it wasn’t just singing. I literally lost my voice because I retreated so far the other way that I was just like ‘I’m not gonna say anything’… But at the end of the day, that’s no life and that’s not me.”
She’s now reached a place where she wants to use her voice “in so many other ways, not just for singing.” She has been getting her feet wet in sharing bits of her life on social media, be it her throw-downs in the kitchen, family ventures or video-editing skills