#MEExposed: Tessanne’s Bread & Butter
Inspired to write again after Tessanne’s riveting performance on NBC’s hit reality TV series, ‘The Voice’, I am rendered speechless, but at the same time very anxious to speak.
The impact of this performance on the country of Jamaica, the Caribbean and the world, has been extremely intense to say the least, and there is so much to be said about what happened, what is about to happen, and what could potentially happen.
Firstly I would like to personally congratulate Tessanne for taking the risk to audition for a show such as ‘The Voice’. With her local accolades it would seem that an artist of her calibre would have no need to be on a US reality show, but little do people realize, her audience has been mainly a Caribbean audience. She also hasn’t released a lot of new material recently, so this was actually the perfect opportunity to introduce herself to a new fan base. Thanks to Jamaican DJ, Shaggy for making the suggestion to her.
After years of honing her already stellar gift, it would seem like this is divine timing in her career. Many forget the impact of every tweet, instagram photo, FB share etc. adorning this Jamaican artist who represents the ‘Out of Many One People’ of Jamaica in such a unique but fitting way. Now the world can see a Jamaican who is not the stereotypical darked-skinned locked reggae singer, but a mixed race Jamaican with an undoubtedly Jamaican accent, and a true sense of national pride. This topped off by having vocal cords comparable to or even better than some of the best power singers there have ever been.
Now the massive population of America. and the rest of the world, can tap into her already created album, available on iTunes, bringing in for her an increase in her passive income stream from album sales. Yet the naysayers would argue “She doan need fi deh inna dat.”, again reflecting the short-term scope we have chosen to apply to so many things in this culture.
What Tessanne has done for herself, Jamaica and Jamaican music, is successfully re-opened a very large door that was preventing us as Jamaicans from crossing into genres and places where we were never expected to stay afloat. Making it evident to the world that the brilliance that we exhibit in sports also exists in the arts, and through the brilliant minds that are born and raised in our country. I like to think of this door as a swinging door, because we are not to deny those that have come before Tessanne and paved the way in music, from Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff to Shabba, Patra, Sean Paul and Shaggy, we have never been denied in the international music scence.
Tessanne Chin amongst the 1st 5 members of #TeamAdam
I am beaming with pride, and though early out the gate, I think my prediction of her winning ‘The Voice’ will be an even more epic experience for us, and then we will see where next her journey goes. Truth be told, she doesn’t have to move one step further in this competition, because all who needs to see her I assure you are already bidding.
Last but not least, Jamaican artist, Protoje, spoke quite frankly about the Jamaican government not being proud of their culture, in a recent OnStage interview. Though I wouldn’t use those words per se, I have to agree with him that the investments that have seemed obvious to be made in our entertainment sector, have been ignored. The government has repeatedly missed the mark with taking the bait to sustain things that attract so much attention to the country. Proto mentioned that we don’t have a proper indoor live music venue, yet our own artists travel far and wide to perform in many.
We don’t even have a stable standardized high school music education system. We haven’t taken the time to see that Jamaican children need instruments and creative development, and that it would probably take them off the streets and have them doing something that would serve them better mentally and otherwise.
I really have said enough. As a musician myself, who has been formally trained and made many sacrifices for music, I have connected to it in a way that words cannot express. Having myself auditioned for a few of these same international shows, I could have very well have been in the same position as Tessanne, but my time is not now. Tessanne has the world stage, and for this I am proud and immensely supportive. There is nothing I have wanted more for her ever since hearing her voice, but for it to get the recognition it truly deserves. She is a humble, proud Jamaican with a talent like no other. I wish her every success that is to come, and I wish for Jamaica to take more responsibility for our arts.
Every man for himself has always worked, as artists have long nurtured and believed in their gifts, but it’s time the country steps in and helps more people to truly realize their potential, and also capitalize off of brand Jamaica in a way that allows everyone to have their bread and butter.
I am MARIO EVON, Jamaican ‘Reggae-Soul’ Singer/Songwriter. UWI (Mona) and Berklee College of Music graduate. Lover of food, exercise and life as we know it. Follow me here on ‘M.E. Exposed’. Also check out my new single, ‘Soul Tek’. Blessed love.