We’ve got something really cool for you today, listeners! Over Spring Break, KWVA DJ King Toby from Roots’n’Kulcha Radio had an interview with world renowned reggae artist and previous winner of The Voice, Tessanne Chin. There’s a lot of good to be heard, so we recommend listening to the full interview below – but if you’re short on time, scroll down the page to read a bit of the interview.
March 24th, 2015
King Toby: Yo, blessed love family, that’s right, we are back, you are in tune to Roots’n’Kulcha Radio right here on KWVA – Eugene. We have a big, big, big time artist with us tonight, on the wire, as we continue our Women’s History Month coverage talking about some serious contributions from female artists female activists and female ones and ones across the planet – we are not going to let you down with this reasoning tonight. We first debuted her on the program in probably 2008/2009 with the big single entitled “Messenger” which later came out on the In Between Words album and we’ve seen her get national, international spotlight attention when she then went on to win season 5 of The Voice, you already know who I’m talking about now, the one called Tessanne Chin, welcome to the program sistren.
Tessanne Chin: Hi! Thank you so much!
KT: Let’s pull things up and start from the beginning a little bit. I know you come from a musical family. Of course we know your sister Tami [Chynn], but also your parents had a band called The Carnations, is that correct?
TC: They did, they absolutely did. That’s how my mom and dad met.
KT: Oh truly? In the band?
TC: Yes. So, I think it was inevitable that Tami and I caught the music bug, because apart from that band, you know, when they had their all their five children, they had a band again. So we were always at rehearsals and all the gigs and everything and it was just a wonderful way to grow up around music all the time.
KT: Truly, I can only imagine that that was a huge inspiration to get into the music as well, is that true?
TC: Oh, most definitely, I mean, when you are around that sort of energy and infection vibe all the time and you see how much fun they’re having and you also get to see that it’s a job and a business.
KT: Talk to us about that process of leaving being a background singer and becoming a solo artist.
TC: Well, you know, I am so grateful for my days as a backup singer becasue you know in this industry, it’s important to know every step of the business and view it from every possible point. For me, to be able to watch someone like Sir Jimmy Cliff perform every night. Give his 150% no matter what. No matter if he was feeling tired. Or, no matter if he lost his voice. He just amazed me every night. So for me, it just stirred up the fact that I wanted to do it on my own. You know, to want to be able to go out there and say, you know, I want to be able to do that. I want to be able to captivate an audience. I want to be able to move them in that way. So it really inspired me if anything to step out as a solo artist as well.
KT: Alright, so, you know, we already talked a little bit, or alluded to the Voice. We’ve got to talk about it a little bit more. People here in the United States watch the voice and they know about it and they thinking about artists as coming from nowhere – but it’s not very often that we see someone coming from outside of the United States and just sweeping the hearts and the attention of the audience internationally.
TC: Oh my gosh, to this day, I am still blown away… you know, so many people that come up to me and say, you know, “we voted.” I just love the outpouring of love that people showed toward me. It means a lot to me. It really does.
KT: So, how was that experience for you – The Voice in general?
TC: That was just like life changing. Apart from it being like boot camp, it really taught me the importance of always getting better. Always reaching further and always challenging yourself. I had a great coach and a great trainer who were able to help me to do that. And, I never want to stop learning, I never want to stop growing as an artist, I never want to stop experiencing growth and new things.
KT: Do you have a mission or a goal with your music?
TC: I believe that the great people like Bob Marley and like Aretha Franklin are people who had a message. And for me, my message is that I just want to say, stay in a positive mind and to stay powerful and to stay hopeful for the future. But also, I really do believe in being real with music as well and, you know, I look at people like Bob and Aretha that used music as a tool to get a bigger message out there to start a change. So, for me, it’s all about the message.
KT: Alright, do you have any final comments for the listeners?
TC: Just thank you so much. Thank you so much for having me on the show and for the constant support since day one. I really appreciate it. Whole heap of love.
If you didn’t already know, King Toby does interviews with famous artists all the time on our station. Isn’t that cool? If you’d like to hear more, you can tune in Thursdays from 8-10 pm, or, check out the following links to some of his past interviews: