January 07, 2014

Tessanne Chin’s crucial next steps

Voice winner mustn’t burn bright for a minute, to be extinguished the next — Kingsley Cooper

Kingston Jamaica - SUPERSTARDOM for Tessanne Chin should mean lasting financial success. But for that to be achieved, every aspect of her career must be well planned and managed so that her development and output are sustainable and optimised.

This is the view of Kingsley Cooper, chairman of Jamaica's Entertainment Advisory Board and executive chairman of Pulse Investments Ltd who was asked by the Jamaica Observer to suggest what should be the next steps for the Season Five winner of NBC's The Voice.

Following is the full text of Cooper's analysis:

As Tessanne moves to parlay her Voice triumph into an internationally successful recording and performing career, and having been asked what her next steps ought to be, I'll add a few thoughts to the conversation. However, I should first make it clear that I am not a part of her management, neither am I privy to the terms of her contract with The Voice, or indeed, any previously executed agreements that are still in force.

My comments are therefore made in general terms, and on the assumption that Tessanne is able to make objective "best decisions", without the confines of contractual obligations which may not always allow her to do so.

As brilliantly as Tessanne sings, and as emotional an effect as her performance has on listeners, her career is first and foremost a business. She can't afford to burn bright for a minute, only to be extinguished the next. Every aspect of her career must be well planned and managed so that her development and output is sustainable and optimised. Superstardom should mean lasting financial success. This will enable her to fund those aspects of her career that she might be required to, or might choose to fund.

Financial success also contributes greatly to artistic success, as it will make her as independent an entertainer as one can be, and provide the resources to expand her career into the Tessanne mega brand — from music to merchandising to franchising and everything in-between. All of this is possible and with her natural charm, temperament and intelligence, she has a better chance than most to achieve it.

However, to do this, Tessanne needs to have the best people that she can find around her, handling her business. While she has to honour the terms of her Voice contract, she should be careful about all future agreements that she executes. The terms should be appropriate and should be part of the master plan for her career. She has to be prepared to be guided by the key members of her team, but, I suspect, she is smart enough to make good decisions herself. Fortunately, she also has a strong and dedicated family structure which will provide additional support — support she can trust. She also has an existing management team that has contributed to her success thus far.

Relationship with Adam Levine should be cemented

Another key resource is Adam Levine. He is obviously a major fan, and for good reason. His work with her on The Voice brought out her finest skills and together they made impeccable musical choices. That is a relationship that should be cemented, if at all possible. A number of critical decisions must be made — what songs should her first album contain? How much original material? How many covers? Should she write her own material or should songs be written for her? How much will her new work reflect the factors that made her successful on The Voice, and how much of a departure should there be from same? Who will produce her new material? Which will be her long term record label? These are all questions that Levine (and those team members currently around her) could help to answer and generally provide guidance on.

Tessanne is also of the new technological age. Her impact on social media was amazing during The Voice. She has to fully capitalise on that resource as well. Combined with her global goodwill, social media will no doubt be used to dramatically enhance her success. Tessanne is clearly gifted as a singer, but her crucial 'X factor', that special indefinable quality that makes someone a superstar, is to be found in her "likability" quotient — that endearing charm that is fresh, genuinely honest and down to earth. She has to remain that way and use it to maximum effect.

Now that Tessanne is a big success she will have a lot of offers for all kinds of services. She has to choose carefully, as the adulation will turn to indifference — if she doesn't deliver going forward. As they say in the music business, "you are as good as your last record".

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