Actress and Award-winning songstress Tamela Mann is back with a brand new LP, “Best Days.” Indeed, the follow-up to her 2009 LP “The Master Plan.” The LP, which is preceded by the project’s lead single “Take Me To The King,” penned and produced by Kirk Franklin currently holds the no. 2 postion at Gospel radio.
“Best Days” primarily produced by Myron Butler showcases Mann’s powerful vocals that we love so much and new meaningful lyrics. The Gospel Guru caught up with Ms. Mann to discuss collaborating with Kirk Franklin, Tyler Perry, and much more. Get into the interview below…
TGG: Describe Tamela Mann in three words.
Tamela: Describe myself in three words…I’m loving, a hard worker, and dedicated.
TGG: What was the inspiration for your new album “Best Days”?
Tamela: The inspiration for the title was the lyrics of the song…”my words days are behind me and my best days are ahead of me” and to me it’s so encouraging. I’m just believing and looking for greater and better…even going through different circumstances I just have hope and faith that things are gonna work out for me and be better.
TGG: I know you teamed up with Kirk Franklin and Myron Butler for this project, how did those collaborations come about?
Tamela: Ahhh…well Myron has been with me since I started producing all of the projects. Kirk just produced “Take Me To the King,” Myron produced the whole project. But he did do some things on “Take Me To The King” with Kirk. It was like a reunion… we all grew up in the same area in Dallas-Fort Worth and we’ve been together for over 20 years. It was a great reunion. The background singers came in and Kirk had me come in at a different time, we were doing shifts. It was wonderful being with Kirk, he kinda did it where it was just me and him in the studio…he even put David (my husband) out. He was like I want her to myself…lol. We had fun and we had our serious moments..he told me “Tam I didn’t realize how much I missed your voice” and it was the same thing with him working with me I was like I missed it because I would trip out how Kirk with snip a song and put two vocalists on the same and make it so smooth…the transition was so smooth. It was a joy.
TGG: What is your most memorable experience during the making of “Best Days”?
Tamela: Uh. When Kirk was singing back to me…lol. I just kinda held my head down and he was like “yea I see you in there laughing” but it was so funny..hahaha. But that was the most memorable part for me.
TGG: What is a standout or favorite track on the new album for you?
Tamela: A standout for me is a song called “All to Thee” and it says “take all the glory all the praise all the honor it belongs to only thee, Take none from me but all to thee.” I’ve got a couple but it’s more like in the worship vein. Another that is my favorite is “Lord We’re Waiting”… lord we’re waiting, we’re anticipating, we’re waiting on your glory and your presence. That’s kinda where the Lord has me right now. Yes I did some whaling, but those are my core ones for me. And of course “Take Me To The King.”
TGG: “Take Me To The King” is being received so well, and is climbing up the charts. Did you anticipate that it would do as well at it is?
Tamela: Honestly I didn’t know. I didn’t want to be fearful, but none of us knew exactly…At all times I try to do my best. I’m grateful.
TGG: We know you got your start with Kirk Franklin, how did those days prepare you for your solo career?
Tamela: Oh my God. They prepared me a lot, it was easier. When you’re in the background it’s a lot easier, you don’t feel the weight of being out front. It’s different than being out front than being in the back. And that taught me like “man I didn’t realize how easy the ride was being in the back” because you have to work harder being out front. Now I see how Kirk felt doing the promotions and radio stuff, things I didn’t have to have hand on then I have hands on now. I got to see both sides.
TGG: You’ve worked really close with Tyler Perry, what have you learned from him?
Tamela: He’s very timely, so when I schedule rehearsals I try to be very timely and think of other peoples time and not come in late and have them sitting around waiting an hour and stuff like that. He’s very timely, very timely. When he comes in he likes for people to do their job, and that’s what I really learned from him.
TGG: With you being the powerhouse vocalist that you are. Who are some of Tamela Mann’s vocal influences?
Tamela: Well, I started out with The Clark Sisters and then Vanessa Bell became one of my greatest inspirations and I love James Moore. I still listen to a lot of his stuff today.
TGG: Are there any artists that you’d like to collaborate with in the future?
Tamela: I want to do a song with Celine Dion. I know that’s kinda stretched kinda far there, but I can see us and hear us doing something together.
TGG: Ok. Are there any guest appearances on the new project?
Tamela: Besides Kirk, my First Lady at my church, her name is Latonya Blair. I featured her on the song “Lord We’re Waiting” we have a duet on there and she’s a powerhouse herself.
TGG: As we know, you’re a singer as well as an actress. Which is your favorite to do?
Tamela: Singing is my first love. Look, I got excited, you couldn’t see my motion but I kinda pulled my arm down like “YES!” But you know how you have that one thing that you’re comfortable at, you feel like this is my best area. And I feel like singing is it. I thank God that he stirred up the gifts in me and i kinda turned and went into the acting portion of it…I don’t think I’m too bad. But I think in anything you can always work on improvement. But I prefer singing over acting.
TGG: You’ve conquered the small screen as well as the big screen, so what can we expect from you in the future as an actress?
Tamela: We’re gonna shift it a little bit, we’re doing a cooking show it’s called “Hanging With The Mann’s.” So we’re shopping it right now, and got some nice offers and we’re just kinda asking the Lord on what to do. But you get to see a different side of us…you get to see the real us. It’s a cooking adventure show where we do adventures and whatever the adventure is we come back home and base the food off of the adventure. Just to really encourage families to get back in the kitchen, and do things together in the kitchen. When you eat and dine together you really learn about each other.
TGG: In conclusion, you’ve experienced succes from acting as well as your recording career how does Tamela Mann define or determine success?
Tamela: Man, I’m in awe if I can say that. I don’t know how to sum it up. I’m just grateful, I’m really happy to be in this place. I never would have imagined being in this place. I never dreamed that I would have met the people I’ve met and work with the people I’ve worked with to this da. When I drive up to my house it’s like “wow” i’m just so grateful for God trusting me with my gift. When I do sing, I sing as if it is my last time. I hope I didn’t go to far off from answering the question, my eyes are actually tearing up because I’m really grateful and thankful to God for the opportunity. And I don’t take that for granted because when you think about it it’s so many other people that He could use. But it’s like God you chose me for this hour, such a time as this to bless His people. I don’t ever want to get caught up into that it’s about me…it’s hard for me to watch myself on tv and sit up and listen to myself it’s kinda hard for me because I try to push myself back from it. I want to stay humble because If I do he said he’ll exalt me.