Tenin Terrell is a singer-songwriter and actress whose iconic lyrics and soulful vocals flow where the gospel, acoustic, jazz and genres meet. In 2011 her self-titled debut album showcased an empowering take on inspirational music with power ballads "Diamond" and "I Deserve More" leading the way.
Reviews from Music Connection and Hypetree magazines hailed, "Tenin channels the likes of Erykah Badu and Lauryn Hill to form a new chapter in hip-hop’s history of conscious female singers with the pipes to back up their girl power swagger."
Suffice it to say, Tenin is a multi-talented artist. She is an actress who has appeared on FOX, TLC and Oxygen networks in hit reality series American Idol and Jersey Couture, as well as performed over two-dozen lead roles in musical productions like All Shook Up, Ragtime and Smokey Joe's Cafe.
Truly a Triple Threat
A formally-trained theater actress, Tenin performed in her first musical at the age of 8 and was officially bit by the acting bug. From there she joined a children's theater troupe where she consistently held lead roles and developed her voice outside of church. In high school she studied jazz, modern and ballet dance under M.A. Taylor and attended Kean University upon graduation.
While taking up musical theater as a freshman at Kean, Tenin was thrust to the forefront and cast in the role of "Sarah's Friend" in Ragtime at Premiere Stages, one of the largest equity theatres in the greater New York City area. Tenin soon appeared in over a two-dozen mainstage musicals and was repeatedly recognized in the press for her exceptional talent. Runs at Bucks County Playhouse, Plays-in-the-Park and The Producer's Club brought about forays into film and opportunities to study acting under Academy award-winner, Olympia Dukakis. "Strongest of all is Tenin Baba Ndanani who has a belter's voice that can blow the house down, and she uses it for both humor and poignant effect." - C.W. Walker, Courier News.
Tenin is a true triple-threat whose God-given abilities have paved her way to musical collaborations of all genres, including collaborations with members of the Fugees, former girl group Danity Kane, new artists signed to Akon's Konvict Entertainment imprint and many others.
Currently, she is preparing the release of new music to coincide with the premiere of her new digital content chronicling the journey of fulfilling ones' calling as a creative, wife, mom, and business owner.
Like so many music icons before her, Tenin first found her voice in the church choir. Growing up in Harlem, NY, she took cues from her choir director mother. Tenin fondly remembers, "There was never a moment that music wasn't a part of my life. At church my mom played piano and lead several choirs around New York City. At home she played Sade, Anita Baker, Sting and Whitney Houston. All of that music just seeped into my soul."
As a teen, Tenin further honed her artisitic talents while growing up in Plainfield, NJ. From a very young age she was recognized for her outstanding vocal abilities. She frequently won local talent shows and was asked to perform at large public events. Those experiences were the building blocks that led to professional roles in main-stage musical theatre productions throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Around the age of 13, Tenin discovered a unique gift for songwriting. She had begun adding melodies to short poems she had written and the resulting songs were lyrically provocative and emotionally moving. The snippets caught the ears of local music producers who eventually tapped Tenin to pen lyrics for major-label recording artists such as Danity Kane, Boa and Praswell.
The Debut Album
In the summer of 2011, Tenin secluded herself in a NYC studio for three days with platinum-award winning engineer and producer, Anthony “Rocky” Gallo. The final product was Tenin's 12-song CD that was labeled "one of the best written and produced CD’s" of the year.
Three months later Tenin also appeared on several top television networks. She starred in the season premiere of “Jersey Couture”, on the Oxygen Network, and appeared on TLC’s "Royal Wedding Special". Tenin was also revealed on “American Idol”, FOX TV's hit show while auditioning for season 5.
Tenin has received several awards for her inspirational commitment to her musical craft, talent and community while setting an outstanding example as a young, gifted and talented woman in the music, film and business industries. In recognition of her dedication and commitment to service in the surrounding New Jersey communities, she was most recently honored with her own day (January 19th) in her hometown of Plainfield, New Jersey. Tenin was also awarded first place in the national Hostbaby web design competition for developing and designing her own website "TeninWorld.com".
Tenin is sought after by some of today’s top recording artists for her songwriting, engineering and producing talents. When she is not in the studio recording, engineering, writing, producing or performing live; she is at the helm of her growing company, Fashion Works.
When Tenin and her husband had their first child, she felt a pull away from the busy entertainment world and toward being more available for their young family. She also wanted to make an impact in her community and add to the household income. She prayed to God for a special idea and received the inspiration to pursue her long-held passion for fashion design using a unique "edu-tainment" approach.
Out of this, Fashion Works was born. Having worked with elementary students for most of her college career as a site director, Tenin knew the struggle children faced to feel confident and develop a healthy form of self-expression. She wanted to alleviate that pressure by providing creative learning opportunities that would engage and inspire young people to develop their God-given gifts and grow new talents.
Tenin decided to offer after-school enrichment classes in acting and sewing and the courses took off, reaching maximum enrollment during their first offering. Tenin knew the concept would be a great fit as a franchise model, especially as she desired to help fellow performers and stay-at-home moms create an independent source of income. Today Fashion Works empowers women to run their own successful business by providing unique and immersive creative learning experiences in their community! Learn more at Fashion Works website.