TESSANNE – MORE THAN WORDS! – SPARKS OPINION
December 17, 2013 a few minutes to 11 pm is a moment in time when many persons of Caribbean descent will never forget. It marks and will forever mark a monumental part of history, not just Jamaican music history, but Jamaican and Caribbean history on many levels. It was the night when Tessanne Chin, who had won the hearts of many all around the globe with her powerhouse vocals was crowned the winner of the 5th Season of The Voice.
A few months ago, on September 24, 2013, in the blind auditions it was her riveting and emotional extension of her vocals which prompted all four judges to turn their chairs. The judgesd Adam Levine, Cee-lo, Christina Aguilera and Blake Shelton jossled for the prime talent, but it was Adam Levine that got the Cream of the Crop. No stranger to Jamaica, he early out declared his love for Reggae music. Christina also beckoned for hearing more of the Jamaican accent and reminisced on her memories of Jamaica.
If you were to ask a regular Jamaican at home a few months ago when it was declared that Tessanne would be trying out for The Voice their opinion on the matter, you would probably get this response ‘ a wah name suh’ (translation: what’s that). You had some who had known of the show and had watched it, but not many had heard of it or had watched a season in it’s entirety. That changed when we heard that Tessanne was going to try out. Kudos to Multi-Platinum selling artiste Shaggy for encouraging her to do so. Sometimes all you need is someone who will take your hand, have your back and re-inforce that anything is possible to make you achieve your dream.
Yes there were the cynics in the early stages, many wondering why she was even going there and those who thought that the ‘system’ would try to sabotage her chances. On the 1st night, however, when she stunned the judges, the next few weeks would see the Caribbean community and the Diaspora rallying to the nth level. Deika Morrison, Consultant and Do-Gooder and founder of Crayons Count in Jamaica and Marlon Hill, an Attorney-at-Law and Civic Commentator in Florida would combine efforts rallying the troops from all around the world to work social media and all outlets to make impact and in roads on The Voice.
The voting system did not allow for persons outside of the United States to submit votes, but that would not stop Jamaicans in Jamaica and the rest of the Caribbean from sending a messaging or from voting. Using Skype, Magic Jack, giving their $US to friends who might have a US Credit Card to purchase gift cards, amongst other methods we were intent on making our voice heard. As a matter of fact, this morning I saw a tweet saying that as of this morning all calls to the US from Jamaican fell by 800%. Monthly, weekly, daily, by the minute, by the second, the people of the region worked in teams, working emails, media from all angles – radio, print, television, social media – bloggers and regular social media users worked their energies tirelessly and relentlessly while we left, Tessanne and Adam Levine and the rest of her team worked on the creative aspect.
Last night Tessanne might have walked away with a new vehicle (yes her honesty on the bad state of your roads was refreshing as it was when it blurted out ‘it’s my bread and butta’), US$100,000 and a contract from Universal Records. Already her album is up for pre-order for March 2014 and she will be working with Ryan Tedder of One Republic, who has an excellent track record.
Her win is significant on many levels:
a. It shows what the combined power of persons with a singular focus, the power of imagination, the will to make it happen and working through to the end with proper strategy and tactics can achieve.
b. It is the first time ever that a Jamaican act has ever launched into American Mainstream without having gone through urban radio.
c. In a male dominated Industry (speaking Jamaica here) which is almost misogynistic, where male bravado and prowess, ravings amongst other topics are the order of the day, Tessanne sang her way into many hearts without so much so a touching on those topics
d. While, the above obtains many of the same players supported her from the start to the end.
e. The typical Jamaican artiste is stereotyped in typically 3 categories, the weed blowing Rasta, the bad bwoy or the raunchy female. When in reality there are so many other types of Jamaican artiste. Tessanne has posited her self in none of those categories. She has gone the lane which does not give her a shelf life, so she can sing until her back is bent. She has no need to strip down or be raunchy all she has to do is sing.
f. We now have more leverage, we can negotiate from a different angle
g. She has given Brand Jamaica exposure that the Government could never pay for; at every moment she inserted something of our culture.
h. Never give up on your dreams and I could go on and on.
What she and her team does as of this point is very important, they have to grab the momentum and run with it like Bolt. By the way his live appearance at one of her shows just further highlighted his Ambassadorial qualities. Kudos Bolt. Back to the argument, I don’t know who is on her team, I only know that she has a contract with Universal Records and she has eyes on her right now.
Right now her team needs to:
a. Hire the best Management Company in North America right now, William Morris being one of them
b. She needs to hire a strong Public Relations Team to get her out there and in all the mainstream media outlets giving her constant presence
Some have chosen to focus on her skin hue, race and class, when the real Team Tessanne supporters saw beyond that; focusing instead on her powerhouse vocals, her ability to interpret a song (Whitney Houston, no doubted made a toast to her, R.I.P.), her humility, grace, ability to command attention and chose to do all they could to make the world acknowledge what Blake Shelton called world class talent. Tessanne has shown that anything is possible and you have a good man by your side, Michael Cuffe, Jr (you deserve husband of the year, giving her continual support and displaying no ego).
Tessanne all the best, the world has you now, you were special to hideaway in Jamaica.
She will be on Jay-Leno later tonight on NBC.