100 Women, 100 Stories: Tesia Kwarteng

Where do you live? New York, NY

What is your profession? Opera Singer

How did you decide on opera?! And, what was your path leading up to this? Opera companies decided to hire me! I’ve been singing my whole life, started training classically at age 9 which ultimately led me to where I am now.

What did you study in school? Voice Performance and Journalism (undergrad) Voice Performance (grad school)

If it’s relevant to your career now, how did you know you wanted to study that? It’s always been a part of my life so I knew that’s what I wanted to go to school for.

Has anyone been a mentor to you? What role did they play and how do you feel about mentorship now? I don’t know that there’s one specific person I can pinpoint because I’ve had a lot of support and encouragement from lots of people along my journey which I’m eternally grateful for. I’ve also found inspiration from other artists not just singers, which to me is another form of mentorship. I think having a mentor is a wonderful thing and If one is fortunate enough to have one in life and in their career path, it’s definitely helpful.

What’s the hardest thing that you’ve had to deal with in your career so far? Honestly, choosing this career is difficult in and of itself but one of the hardest things to me is truly listening to yourself and making decisions that you know are the best for you. There are LOTS of voices that will tell you what you should and shouldn’t be doing and while some of it is 100% valid, you also have to sift through a lot of craziness.

What has been a really rewarding moment in your career? What’s most rewarding to me is being able to watch people who are where I’m trying to end up. I’ve learned SO much just from watching some incredible artists do what they do, opera and otherwise, and it’s thrilling and scary to know that I’m on that path. My hope is that those coming up behind me will be able to say the same thing.

What do you want to accomplish in your lifetime? A Kennedy Center Honor would be lovely!

What’s something you want young women to remember when thinking about their future? They hold the power to their future and it is up to them to shape and create it. Forget all the naysayers stay focused and do you!

What’s one thing you want to try to make an impact on in your lifetime? It’s sort of starting to happen but I would love to help make opera more mainstream and I think this can absolutely be done without having to sacrifice the authenticity of the art for.

Where can people find you if they want to learn more about opera? I’m on Facebook, Instagram @tesiatee, and Twitter (which I’m VERY new to, judge me not) @tkthemezzo. My website is in the works.