My passion…is music, all types of music.
The kind of music that leaves a message…
And gets yah thinking, the kind a music that
Lives on even when many many years have passed-Tessanne Chin
So says emerging star Tess-Anne Chin, the younger sibling of uptown dancehall sensation Tami Chynn. Her current single “Hideaway” featured VP Records Reggae Gold 2007 is burning up the airwaves. Blessed with a big voice clearly suited to her multi-genre sound, Tess-Anne is known to Jamaicans as the lead singer from the reggae/rock band, Mile High. She gained valuable experience as a back up singer for international reggae legend Jimmy Cliff for several years before pursuing her solo career. Her unique blend of music is a mixture of Reggae, Dancehall, Rock and Soul. Tess-Anne Rock/Reggae sound, while not new is an excitingly refreshing addition to Jamaican female music. Alternative rock in Jamaican music has its genesis in a movement of the late 90’s, with lead guitarist “Gibby” Morrison of 809 Band and soft-rock sound of Charmaine Da’Costa of Worl-A-Girls, the Brooklyn based group. (see Stan Smith’ Alternative Music; “Jamaica Trend’ in Everybodys Magazine, Reggae Edition 97).
SS: How long have you been singing professionally?
TC: Well I’ve been singing since I was a baby but I started professionally at 17.
SS: Who were your major influences, internationally and locally?
TC: There are so many. They range from Aretha Franklin, my mum, Tina Turner, Celine Dion, Bob Marley, Diana King, Skunk Anansie, Anouk, Sarah Brightman and the list goes on and on…
SS: How would you describe your music, which genre best describes your sound?
TC: Well that’s what I love about my Music. It cannot be categorized or put in a box. I try to make good music. That’s my genre, None the less it is a fusion of Reggae, Rock, Dancehall and Soul with a hint of classical at times.
SS: What are some of the obstacles you as female artist have encountered in your career?
TC: Well none actually. I try not to see my sex as a hindrance or let it get in the way of what I’m doing so even if there was I probably would account it to me being a new artiste and not necessarily a woman.
SS: Did you think your gender plays a part in helping or advancing your career?
TC: Well it depends on whether or not you build you career around your Gender. I know and understand that especially for women in the industry image is very important, not so much for the men, But for me personally my image is my voice and my main focus is the music. with that said, I love being a woman, I love that I can be Sexy sweet and street all at once:)
SS:Do you think that radio, TV and the concert stage offer the female artist the same opportunities to be seen and heard as your male peers in reggae?
TC: I really do believe that earlier on in the industry it was a male dominated industry with only a scattering of female artists such as Marcia Griffiths, Diana King and like Lady Saw, and I could see how that might have been a problem but now the tables are turning we have a lot more females coming up on the scene Like Tami Chynn, Alain, Etana. Personally I’ve never had a problem that doesn’t mean there isn’t one just that I have been blessed enough not to encounter it.
SS: What are some of the things you think the reggae industry could do to make it easier for female artist to break into the industry or succeed?
TC: hahahahah, well all I have to say to that is if yah waiting on the
industry to give you a break just because you are a woman or anybody for that matter then maybe you should seriously reconsider being in this business. I would ask the question, what could I do, what opportunities can I make for myself? If we wait on this industry to change just to suit us we might be here for a while.
SS: What can female singers/dj do to improve and increase their visibility on stage and on record?
TC: Hmm. I don’t understand the question. If you mean what you can do to be seen more or get more radio play then I would say work really hard to perfect your craft. Take care and time with it and be genuine with your audience. People will always know whether or not you are sincere
SS: What can the males do to help female artists get more exposure?
TC: Hahahahahah well the same thing they would do to get male artists exposure… give them a Chance.
SS: What is, or has been the biggest obstacle you have faced as female artist?
TC: Hahahah I’ve been blessed enough not to have my gender be an obstacle for me. I have faced challenges yes but challenges every artist must go through not just women i.e. Not getting paid or, having people question your potential simply because yuh doing something that is different..
SS: Why do you think that promoters shy away from booking female artists?
TC: Do they? Well their loss the only thing I can think of is because most of the popular acts (with the exception of a precious few) are in fact men. Beenie Man, Bounty Killa, Elephant man. It’s not a matter of them being men it’s just that they are what’s hot right now I don’t think a promoter would shy away from booking Lady Saw and if so their Loss.
Photo Courtesy of myspace.com/tessannechin
SS: List your most successful singles or album?
TC: Well my single ‘Hideaway’ has been doing very well on radio at the moment, but when I was 17 I released a cover version of the song “sorry doesn’t always make it right” and it was very well received ha-ha they still play it now sometimes to, as far as the album goes, when it comes we’ll see:)
SS: Do you have difficulty getting air play for your music, if so, in what radio formats?
TC: Well I have been blessed enough to be getting very god air play so I can’t complain
SS: Do you think females are given equal or enough opportunities to
showcase their talents in Jamaican music?
TC: Well I as a female and as an Artiste cannot wait on people to give me “equal opportunities” but I can sure try to make good opportunities
for my self and also to accept and realize the opportunities ahead
SS: What are your professional goals as singer?
TC: To take my music and have no limits with it and where it can go. To go out and touch the corners of the globe with my music. To use my God given Talents to serve with them and to make my very own little difference in the world