California's Tenelle Christine Luafalemana, aka Tenelle, makes melodic, R&B-infused reggae-pop. A native of Carson, California, Tenelle grew up in a family of Samoan descent and initially focused on playing sports before she became interested in singing. Around age 12 she began taking vocal lessons with Tim Carter (Beyoncé, Willow Smith) and gained early performance experience singing at family gatherings and funerals and in church. After high school, she spent several years singing alongside three of her uncles in the band Chord Brown, gigging regularly around San Diego, Long Beach, and Los Angeles. During this period, she also started writing her own songs, drawing inspiration from artists like Lauryn Hill, Gwen Stefani, Betty Wright, and others.
Around 2008, Tenelle began focusing on a solo career, splitting her time between performances in Long Beach and traveling to Hawaii, where she found work singing backup with several in-demand outfits. In 2013, she debuted with the singles "Bulletproof" and "Flava," the latter of which reached the top of the digital charts. High-profile concerts followed, with Tenelle opening for such acts as Fiji, Common Kings, Sammy J, Spawnbreezie, Drew Deezy, and others. She then paired with Spawnbreezie for the 2015 single "Going Nowhere," followed in 2016 by both "Ride or Die" with Fiji and "Say That You Love Me" featuring Sammy J. In 2017 Tenelle delivered her debut album, For the Lovers, featuring guest appearances by Chazrox and Fiji. ~ Matt Collar