If you have not heard of Tessanne Chin, the Jamaican songstress who rose to fame by winning the last season of The Voice, then you clearly have not come into contact with any Jamaicans within the last five months, since that is all that we’ve been able to talk about since the season began airing last September.
Although she was already a well known singer at home, particularly famed for her signature tune “Hideaway’, her appearance on The Voice allowed Tessanne to make a meteoric rise to international fame, and put every Jamaican at home and abroad, in a four month long euphoria of national pride. It was like watching Usain Bolt win the 100m at the Olympics every week for four months!
Since then, the two main newspapers in Jamaica, The Gleaner and The Observer, continue to herald her every move. We know when she gets on a plane and when she lands. We can tell you that she had patties and oxtail when she got home (not at the same time). We saw her participate in the famous Rose Parade, watched her on every television appearance and interview in Jamaica and the USA, and read every article that has ever been written about her. We follow her on Twitter and Facebook, and hang adoringly on her every word.
She is every Jamaican’s little sister, daughter and friend. She is Jamaican. And as such, her successes are our successes, and her triumphs are our triumphs. More than a few of us literally cried tears of joy week after week at each stage of her victorious ascent. We hung on every word of the judges, and every comment made on the internet about her. We defended her roundly at the least hint of disrespect. “How you mean she nuh have di best voice inna di worl! You mussi too fool fool and deaf. You nuh know nutting bout nutting. Don’t even open yuh mout’, yuh ignorant like wha'”
But the cool thing about Tessanne’s rise to fame, for me personally, is the fact that she is of Chinese descent. Why? Because I am also a Jamaican, of Chinese descent, with the original surname of Chin. So I get to pretend that I’m related to her which makes me pass as cool. So whenever someone asked me (and many have) if we are related, I can say ‘Yes man, she’s my cousin, you know! I’ll hail her up for you!” Anyway, according to my dad, every person with the last named Chin can conceivably be traced back to the same small village in China. So Tessanne could quite realistically be my fourth, fifth, sixth or seventh cousin. (Hear that, Tess?)
The one downside of this breathtaking ride, was that it had to end, leaving everyone wondering what they ever did on a Monday and Tuesday night, and what could possibly replace our weekly Tessanne fix. So we continue to comb the papers and the media and follow her every move, because whatever else Tessanne is, she is OURS. And we well proud a har.
So go forth, my long lost cousin, Tessane, and conquer the world. We’re with you every step of the way!