It's hard to believe that it's been less than a year since Tessanne Chin won “The Voice”! Since she became the season five winner of the hit NBC singing competition last December, the Jamaican native's life has taken a major turn, and for the better! And this summer, things are especially exciting for the talented songstress! In addition to the release of her album “Count On My Love”, Chin is currently gracing cities across America with her powerhouse voice on “The Voice's” first every nation-wide tour. She is headlining the 31-city tour with other standout “Voice” alumni from previous seasons. Before her show in Massachusetts, Chin generously took the time to chat with me about life on the road, recording her own music, whether or not she still keeps in touch with her former coach Adam Levine, and much more!
Congrats on the release of your album, “Count On My Love”! How did it feel the day it was released?
Tessanne- You know when you're keeping a secret and you just want to tell the whole world? (Laughs) That's what it felt like. I was finally able to show everybody what we've been working on and what we've been doing for the past couple of months. And we had a couple of setbacks because it had a previous release date and I was just so anxious to get it out. I'm so happy! It debuted at number ten on the overall iTunes charts. And it went all the way to number six on the Pop iTunes charts.
What was that process like for you to go into the studio and make your own album instead of just covering songs like you did while you were on “The Voice”?
Tessanne- It was wonderful! Literally, since December 17th we haven't stopped. So right after I went home for like a week and a half, then I went back recording in L.A., New York, Atlanta. It was such a wonderful experience to write with some of these people that I've dreamnt about writing with and working with. People like: Diane Warren, Toby Gad, Claude Kelly, Supa Dups, Ray Marshall, Chuck Harmony; amazing, amazing writers and producers. They gave me a chance, which I really, really til this day hold very dear to me because anyone could have just given me a song and say hey sing this, but they took the time to sit with me, and talk to me, and give me an opportunity to write as well. So it was a great feeling to kind of be building myself as an artist and not just somebody that was singing other people's songs. I got to know myself as the artist that I am now. It was just great. I loved the process.
Do you have a favorite song on the album?
Tessanne- I love all of them for different reasons, but right now I can honestly say I do love “Count On My love”, the title track because I think about my husband. It's about having to be away all the time but knowing you can count on them to still be there. I love “Heaven Knows”, written by Claude Kelly and produced by Chuck Harmony. It has like a little reggae kind of swing to it but still very melodic and wonderful. And also “Loudest Silence” by Rock City is amazing. It's kind of an epic movie kind of tune to me. The song is like a movie. And I love “One Step Closer”, which is produced by myself and Ray Marshall, and that is just a happy kind of song.
It sounds like your album is very eclectic and I remember at “The Voice” you were as well with your performances each week. You mixed it up every week with your song choices.
Tessanne- That's right! I hate being put in a box and I hate being told I can only do one thing. And for me, that's never going to be the case. I do have very solid reggae roots based on the fact that I'm Jamaican, and so that is a part of myself; even if I never do all reggae it has to come out in some way because that's who I am. I think a part of being successful or trying to be successful is staying true to who you are. Be genuine. And I think that's when people really connect.
What was it like for you when you went back home to Jamaica following your win on “The Voice”?
Tessanne- Oh my god they gave me a royal welcome! I was very thrilled because my dear friend Shaggy, who was the person that kind of really convinced me to go on The Voice in the first place, every year he puts on an amazing charity show called “Shaggy and Friends”. And what it does is it basically gives all the proceeds to a major children's hospital there- it's the only English-speaking hospital in the Carribean. That was my first show back, and it was nice to be able to come back but also give back for that because that show is very dear to all of our hearts. And also, there was an amazing homecoming for me and I got awarded from my country. It was awesome!
I'm sure they were just so proud!
Tessanne- Till this day, people stop me in the supermarket and they're like, “Oh, we're so proud of you!”
Do you still keep in touch with your former coach Adam Levine?
Tessanne- I do. Not as much as on “The Voice” because we had work to do then. (Laughs) Which I wasn't expecting to then, I'm not naïve in that way. I would have understand if he was just like all the best to you. But we do exchange emails every now and then. When I went back on “The Voice” I got a chance to show him my album and he showed me some of his amazing songs, so it's nice to kind of touch base once in a while.
I know we are speaking that you are currently on the first ever “The Voice” tour, how is that going?
Tessanne- It's going really well. We have been very blessed to have with us a bunch of people that are just so easy going, so wonderful, friendly; and we all just get along. Sometimes when you have a bunch of personalities in one space it can get a bit much, but in this case everybody is pretty cool. It's nice to kind of mingle with the different seasons, too. It brings back good memories. We're part of this wonderful, special little “Voice” family and it's a real blessing to be here with them. It's like a continous slumberparty with singing! (Laughs)
Do you have a stand-out moment from the show?
Tessanne- I have to say my favorite moment on the show is when I get to share the stage with Josh Kaufman. I think he is such an amazing singer. He's awesome.
Is there a big difference for you when you're performing every night in a different city, in a huge venue, versus performing on “The Voice”? Do you feel you discovered any strengths or challenges you didn't before?
Tessanne- There is always something wonderful about a live audience. And don't get me wrong, “The Voice” is a live audience, but now each night we're put in front of an audience and we don't what we're going to get. We don't know how they're going to react, we don't know what their energy level is going to be like. It's nice to kind of have the excitement of okay we're going to really work to either win them over more or just show them a wonderful time. For me, it's a privelage to be able to sing an original song every night. And I know Jacquie [Lee] and Will [Champlin] feel the same way because we get to do songs that are ours. That's a real highlight for me to be able to sing a song off my album, because if it wasn't for “The Voice” we wouldn't have had this opportunity in the first place.
And you know, having been there and interviewed you every week at 'The Voice”, it's so cool to think it was just last winter that you were a contestant competing on the show! Just a few months ago! And now look at everything we're talking about!
Tessanne- Can you believe it?! Less than a year! It's amazing. And you know, let me tell you I know there's so much specualtion about “The Voice”, and how “American Idol” always does things and success after, but I firmly believe that everything takes time. And you can't just think based off of just that alone, because it has changed each and every one of us. It has changed our lives, and most definitely for better. So I don't look at stuff like that. I look at the fact that we're able to do our music, and make a living, and work to be successful in what we love to do, and that to me is success. What I love to do is music. Period. Whether it's on this level, that level, I was born to sing and that's what I'll be doing.
Yes, I agree. I believe when you follow your passion and work hard, you eventually get that opportunity you have been waiting for.
Tessanne- Thank you. I believe for me, “The Voice” gave me that chance I was looking for because I was really towards the end of a journey. Because I haven't been doing this since yesterday, I'm going to be 30 this year, I've been doing this since I was in my teens. So it's just a testament that you have to persevere a little bit longer. And sometimes you have to step out of your comfort zone and do something you've never done, because if somebody had told me that success or going to the next level would be through doing this, I would have laughed. I would have said no way! But look at that! I'm glad I did!
If you could sit down on a bench with anyone, dead or alive, and have a conversation with them for an hour, who would it be?
Tessanne- Bob Marley. I think I would want to talk to him about what he feels about life today because he had such a very simple, but astonishing way of putting things that everybody could understand it. Whether it was in musical terms; there is a wisdom that he had that doesn't come from books. And to hear this messages now; they still live on.
Any final thoughts you would like to share with your fans?
Tessanne- I just want to say thank you. Thank you to everybody for their love and support because we can't do this without them. And if you want go pick my album “Count On My Love” on iTunes or in Walmart!
Keep up with Tessanne Chin on Twitter- @Tessanne