Pop and soul for The Voice winner

Pop and soul for The Voice winner

Jamaican-Chinese singer Tessanne Chin is not your ordinary reality TV singing competition winner.

Chin, 28, who emerged top in the fifth season of American reality TV series The Voice, is a seasoned veteran back in her hometown of Kingston, Jamaica, having toured as a back-up singer for revered reggae artist Jimmy Cliff, and collaborated with Jamaican-American pop artist Shaggy.

In 2011, she served as a judge on an American Idol-style reality show in Jamaica called Digicel Rising Stars.

But Chin tells Life! in a telephone interview from New York that her desire to be "an international singer" compelled her to try out as a contestant for The Voice.

She says: "I don't want to be boxed in, like, 'Oh, the girl from Jamaica that sings reggae'. I look up to people like Whitney Houston, Celine Dion and Aretha Franklin... Those are the women I want to emulate - that's a big part of the reason I joined The Voice."

Chin, who says there were times that she doubted herself and struggled as a singer, adds that she "felt like I needed a rebirth of what people saw me as... not as a girl that sang reggae music but as a vocalist".

Chin, whose father is of Chinese and Cherokee descent and mother is of English and African descent, started out in Jamaica as the lead singer of a rock-reggae fusion band called Mile High before going solo in 2006.

As a solo artist, she produced several hit singles in her home country, including Never Let Go, a duet with Shaggy in 2009.

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