By now everyone has heard the smooth sweet voice that belongs to Tessanne Chin.Tessanne Chin was born in Kingston, Jamaica. Her father, Richard Chin, is of Chinese and Cherokee descent and her mother, Christine Chin, is of English and African descent. Her parents were in a band called The Carnations and her older sister Tami Chynn is also a singer. Her cousin Jay Hall is a vocalist and guitarist with UK rockers Grassroutes (and previously The Royal Players), and Jay’s brother Leon is a vocalist with ska-fusion act Electrik Custard.
Tessanne was introduced to music at a very early age by her parents. Her mother was the trumpeter and singer in The Carnations and her father was the band’s drummer. The family has a recording studio in their home in Jamaica.
Tessanne started performing when she was six years old with Cathy Levy’s Little People and Teen Players Club, one of Jamaica’s top performing arts schools. Most of her vocal coaching came from her mother, as well as noted vocal coach Lecie Wright. Tessanne learned firsthand about cultural diversity when she moved to England at age 12. She coped with the move by devoting a lot of time to writing songs.
Upon her return to Jamaica, Chin joined the Jamaican rock band Mile High and performed for crowds at many local venues including Jazzfest, Rockfest, and RETV Unplugged. Their style, “rock reggae,” was unique and distinct. After going on tour for three years with Jimmy Cliff as a back-up singer, she decided to launch her solo career.
After Tessanne left Mile High, she began writing songs for her first album. Guitarist Rudy Valentino and drummer Paul “GrooveGalore” KasticK were her producers for her 2010 independent debut album In Between Words. Her 2006 debut single, “Hideaway” received heavy rotation on Caribbean radio and select stations in New York. Both the single and its music video were very popular. The song was also featured on VP Records‘ Reggae Gold 2007. After “Hideaway,” she has released two more singles, “Messenger” and “Black Books,” both available online on “In Between Words“.
She has performed at several live shows, including The Air Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival 2006, Reggae Sumfest 2007 & 2012, the Deck Cafe, The Port Royal Music Festival, ABC Slim Traxx, and her very own show “Arabian Night.”
Tessanne has collaborated with fellow Jamaican artists Shaggy (“Never Let Go”) and Protoje (“Someone Like You”), the Trinidad and Tobago soca band Kes (“Loving You”) and was featured in a track by the legendary Jamaican band Third World, titled “By My Side.” She appeared as a special guest of Third World at the Highline Ballroom in New York City in April 2011. “By My Side” was featured in the soundtrack of Robert Townsend’s series “Diary of a Single Mom” starring Monica Calhoun,Leon, and Billy Dee Williams.
Other noted tracks by Tessanne are remakes of songs by other famous artists and bands such as Foreigner‘s “I Wanna Know What Love Is,” The Who‘s “Love, Reign o’er Me,” Katy Perry‘s “Firework,” and Phish‘s “Free.” A remake of Bob Marley‘s “Could You Be Loved,” which Tessanne performed with her band Mile High, also circulated through the internet early in 2006. Other works include a live performance of “You and Me” written and performed with her older sister Tami Chynn.
On December 6, 2010, Tessanne released her independent debut album available for digital download entitled In Between Words.
In September 2013, it was announced that she would be competing in Season 5 of NBC‘s singing competition, The Voice, after reggae/dancehall star Shaggy presented her the competition as an opportunity to finally have her big break as an international star. On the second episode of the Blind Auditions broadcast on September 24, 2013, she performed Pink‘s song “Try.” All four coaches, namely Adam Levine, Cee Lo Green, Christina Aguilera and Blake Shelton turned their chairs for her but she opted for Adam Levine.
On December 10, 2013, her performance of Simon & Garfunkel‘s classic “Bridge over Troubled Water” for the Semifinal Round became #1 on the iTunes chart, with her becoming the first (and ultimately only) contestant to achieve the top chart position at the end of an applicable voting window that season. This performance also served as her first U.S. chart appearance, charting at #64 on the Hot 100 chart, #14 on the Digital Songs chart, and #5 on Heatseekers Songs chart. On the Canadian Hot 100, the song made its debut at #39. On December 17, 2013, her performance of Whitney Houston‘s “I Have Nothing” became #1 on the iTunes chart, with her also becoming the first contestant that season to achieve the top chart position twice. The following week the cover made its debut on the Hot 100 at #51, #12 on the Digital Songs chart and #15 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. Her duet with coach Adam Levine, a cover of The Beatles‘ “Let It Be” charted at #76 on the Hot 100 and #24 on Digital Songs. The songs also charted at #1 and #7 respectively on the Heatseekers Songs chart. In Canada, her cover of “I Have Nothing” charted at #32 while “Let it Be” charted at #35. A compilation album with studio versions of her The Voice performances was released on iTunes and charted at #4 on the Heatseekers Albums chart.
During the Finale Results show, she was revealed to be the winner of Season 5 with Jacquie Lee as runner-up and Will Champlin in third place. After her victory was announced, she debuted her first U.S. single “Tumbling Down,” written by Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic.