By Monique Jones
The Birmingham Times
For Grammy winning singer and actress Tamela Mann, The Mann’s World Family Tour is “a family affair.”
“This is our first tour and as a mother and wife, it makes me feel just elated,” she said. “To be able to share the stage with your family [is] incredible. They’ve been around it all of their lives and to see them develop as different artists…it’s a wonderful feeling.”
The Mann’s World Family Tour, featuring Mann, her husband and comedian David Mann, and two of their four children, Tia and David Jr., will make its stop in downtown Birmingham at the Boutwell Auditorium April 1. Concert-goers should “expect the unexpected,” Mann said.
“It’s not just a concert [and] not just comedy. It’s an experience—you get to experience the whole Mann family. My son kicks it off, then my daughter does a set, then David does his comedy and I do the old-school, take-us-to-church [singing],” she said. “We laugh, we dance a little. You get a little of everything. We kicked it off already and it’s just really been going well and we really look forward to coming to Birmingham and sharing what we have.”
Mann, known for hits such as “Take Me to the King,” “God Provides” and “The Master Plan”, will treat the audience to songs from her latest album, “One Way,” which she said was gospel-meets-Tina Turner.
“The album itself encourages me. I’ve listened to this album more than I’ve listened to any album I’ve put together. To be able to see myself grow as an artist is exciting,” she said.
“[I]t was just a whole different vibe from Tamela Mann,” she said. “The album takes you on a journey…It has something for everybody and I really enjoyed putting it together because it shows versatility vocally for me that I’m really enjoying—not just wailing and belting every note, but to be able to just lay back and just sing and enjoy the moment. I’m enjoying it.”
“One Way” features guest producers including Eric Dawkins, Timbaland, and Kirk Franklin, who worked on “God Provides.” Working with Franklin was like going back to old times for Mann.
“We started out together. To collaborate with him on ‘God Provides’ was another wonderful experience for me,” she said, adding that she has known Franklin since he was 15 years old. “We started singing together as teenagers…For us to all grow together and do different things, come back together and…work together and [have] our chemistry still be the same, I think it worked out amazing. It’s always amazing for me to see him work in the studio.”
The reviews have been overwhelmingly positive, Mann said. “[T]he songs are just a blessing in [listeners’] lives and [are] being really helpful in their lives,” she said, adding that the album was awarded a 2017 NAACP Image Award and the album’s single, “God Provides,” recently won a 2017 Grammy Award. Mann has been nominated nine times for Stellar Awards nominations, winning six.
“It’s just been great,” she said, adding that she is more interested in being of service to others than she is in the outward fame. “I just like performing and being able to share my gift and bring encouragement to people,” she said.
“One Way” and the Family Tour are just two of the projects Mann and her family are working on. The third season of their sitcom “Mann and Wife” premiered this week on Bounce TV, and the family’s new reality show, “The Manns,” will premiere on TV One April 4 at 8 pm/7pm central.
Mann said she is “grateful” for the opportunities she’s been given.
“I’m in awe still. I’ve been acting for a while and I’ve been singing for a long time, but I’m still in amazement,” she said. “…I just never want to take it for granted. I just always want to be a blessing to somebody else and put other people before me. That’s what it’s all about.”
“The gospel is bringing the Good News and it’s also inspiration,” she said. “To be able to bring joy and inspiration, what more could you hope for than to help somebody?”