Tessanne Chin

Career Lessons from Tessanne Chin

The buzz that Tessanne Chin will be on NBC’s The Voice has had everyone on Instagram, Facebook and social media in general, telling everyone to watch. With the  DVR cued up and ready to go I anxiously awaited. My logical side knew her blind audition went well or else there wouldn’t be this push to watch it. Yet I was still nervous because Tessanne has to do well, that girl has talent and it’s a Jamaican thing.

The little clip done about her prior to her performance told us she developed her passion for singing from her dad and moving to England exposed her to different types of music. Tessanne has toured with, the legendary Jimmy Cliff, who  gave her pre-taped words of encouragement before her performance. After her amazing performance that resulted in a 4 chair turn, she told the judges that singing was her bread and butter. It was then I realized that the lesson from her experience is a universal one.

There’s always room for improvement

Tessanne made her way into the minds and hearts of Jamaicans and music lovers with her breakout hit in 2007 “Hideaway” The reggae rock fusion and her powerful voice blew me and everyone away. Tessanne’s big sister is Tami Chin is also an accomplished singer and being a younger sibling to an already accomplished singer has its own sets of challenges as expectations are very high.

No matter how much experience you have or how many legends or notable people you’ve worked with, you can always do and be better.  By auditioning for The Voice, Tessanne demonstrated that regardless of whom she worked with in the past, she wanted to be better because there was more for her to achieve. She got some flack from people who asked why she would go on The Voice, but what would she have to lose by doing it? It’s called professional development.

Tessanne  told the Jamaica Observer that “I can only be true to myself. I always sing from the heart and hope that my audience feels whatever I am singing. It’s not just about a ‘buss’, it’s what I can learn from the experience. What a great training ground this could be for me, and, like I said, an evolution for myself as an artiste.” Regardless of how far she goes in the competition she only stands to gain from the experience.

Evaluate Opportunities

Evaluate the suggestions or opportunities presented by the people around you. No, I’m not saying to follow all suggestions but everyday we discern what’s good and bad and this is no different. This statement also assumes that you surround yourself with people that you trust and value their opinion who will offer sound advice. If not, this is for discussion in another post.

Tessanne said the decision to audition for The Voice was influenced by Shaggy, whom she says first approached her with the idea. It took months for her to make the final decision. “Shaggy suggested it, and I have to give him props for that. He thought it was a really good way to showcase my talent to a much wider audience.”

Choose who to surround yourself with

Surround yourself with dreamers
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Step outside your comfort zone

Tessanne did not kid herself by being content with her experiences and achievements. Despite performing or touring all over the world, she was nervous. If anything, it’s the motivation to be the best you’ve ever been. A healthy dose of anxiety and a support team goes a long way.

Setting out on this journey to do this blog made me nervous…ok still some nerves there. My husband and friends have been encouraging me to do this blog for a long time. I felt my writing was ok but was nervous about writing for the world to see.

In another example, I was asked to consider being the co-chair of a professional association. In a split second I was a little nervous and questioned myself whether I could handle the responsibility successfully with everything else I have going on. The nervousness I felt which really is fear was due in part to me feeling that I was largely unknown by the other members of the association who probably had more experience. I eventually accepted role because I realized that if they didn’t think I could do a good job, they wouldn’t ask. Most importantly, I had to step outside my comfort zone and really hone in on my leadership skills.

Take risks

Be Brave
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Going back to Tessanne, during the blind auditions there was a strong show of support from her family and friends; however that doesn’t mean they’re the only source of support. Surround yourself with other positive people of diverse backgrounds and experiences. Find the people who are where you want to be and seek their guidance. I believe when you’re always improving yourself you ultimately attract those who will want to help you get better and get to where you want to go.

Now it’s your turn – consider how you can apply these lessons to your career now.


Kerry-Ann Reid-Brown is Founder & host of Carry On Friends one of the first podcasts dedicated to the Caribbean American Experience. She is leading the way for Caribbean Podcast as the founder of Breadfruit Media, the first Caribbean podcast production company; and founder of the Caribbean Podcast Directory a place to discover podcasts by people of Caribbean Heritage.