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The massive crowd at Chin’s “Homecoming” concert in Kingston


So in December 2012, Chin and a small army of her girlfriends,


including her then newly pregnant sister Tami, headed off to Los Angeles for the private audition Shaggy had arranged. That was followed by executive callbacks, more auditions, and what Chin describes as a scary series of meetings with show staff for psych tests and wardrobe consultations and a mountain of paperwork to comply with the strictures of being on reality television. “It feels like you’re signing away your life,” says Chin. “But


my family was very supportive. My husband and my sister said, ‘What do you have to lose?’ I was most afraid of how we would be treated, but The Voice staff was amazing. They treated us so well.” Signing on to the show meant giving up some of the creative


control she had seized in her solo career. While she had input in the songs she performed on the air, selecting from a list of pre- cleared songs and submitting other suggestions for clearance, many of her performances were not on her original list. Each


Few of the thousands


assembled for her homecoming concert in Kingston had heard of Tessanne Chin before her first appearance on The Voice. In four short months, she had not only won the contest, but also won over a nation


44 WWW.CARIBBEAN-BEAT.COM


contestant is matched with a coach — a celebrity singer — who helps shape their performance skills. Chin’s was the pop singer Adam Levine, of the band Maroon 5. Buoyed by support from Jamaicans at home and in the


US, and an increasing American fan base, Chin made her way through the rounds, delivering outstanding performances of songs like Simon and Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water” and Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing”. As she progressed, discussion peaked in Jamaica about whether her song choices were too Jamaican or not Jamaican enough. But for Chin, that was not a concern. “Why I like this programme is because it’s based solely on


your vocal ability,” she says. “I wanted to establish myself as a vocalist, no matter what. No matter in what genre. I’ve never used being Jamaican as a stumbling block, and I never will. But I think in some instances it was being used to overshadow everything else. It’s nice that I’m from Jamaica, but can you criticise it [her performance] on the song?” On the 2 December show, coach Blake Shelton — a country


music singer — scolded the other judges for putting too much emphasis on Chin’s being from Jamaica, calling her a world class vocalist. “I was overjoyed when Blake said what he did,” Chin says. “Adam [Levine] in particular didn’t want to put me in a box,”


she continues. “He was very cautious with the song selections. The night we did ‘Redemption Song’ and ‘Unconditional’ was such an important night. It was important to show that I can go to my roots, but I can also do a song like Katy Perry.” Ensconced in The Voice camp for three months, Chin had only


a partial sense of the kind of impact her appearance in the show was having at home in Jamaica. Initially, her goals for the show were conservative. “I wanted to make an impact. I wanted to be remembered. When you’re sitting in a big auditorium with a


ADRIAN CREARY


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