Singer Tamela Mann has got it all and she is sharing her secrets with us.
In her latest studio project, Overcomer, the Grammy award-winning singer, songwriter, and NAACP award-winning actress and producer, is debuting what she believes to be some of her best music yet. The gospel album releases on Aug. 6, reveals the new sense of command and urgency Mann embodies in each track.
“This album is from the whole heart, body, mind, and soul because I just kind of poured myself into every aspect of this album,” says Mann.
The singer says that Overcomer not only helped develop her newfound role as a songwriter but she is proud of this body of work because, for the first time, she candidly wrote about things she was “dealing with and trying to conquer and overcome.”
“These [song] titles came in from [the last] five [or] six years,” she shared. “I was dealing with my knee issues, and people didn’t know that [when] I was performing, I was in a lot of pain, and I just worked through it. Then I was dealing with menopause, and it was something that I never really heard anyone talk about. And also the weight issue and realizing that I needed some help. I just wanted to talk about my life.”
During an interview with BET.com the entertainer talked about her new music, upcoming Tyler Perry Projects, and how she and her husband David Mann bring out the best in each other.
BET.com: You said that you poured some of your life experiences into your new album Overcomer. Was there one particular experience that influenced the tracks?
I think most of it was me staying focused and finishing, especially with health and wellness because it’s a lifestyle change. It’s a day-to-day thing. Another part is like: Lord, I just want to be better, I want to be better for you, and to be a better veteran example if I can and if I may be an encouragement to people that are looking on me and that upon me, and following me.
BET.com: What were you feeling during the moments you had to transform your experiences as a songwriter?
It was an emotional experience. Just sitting down and letting yourself be vulnerable and transparent allowed me to put aside my pride. I talked with Phil Bryant, the producer and co-writer with me on a song [about the Lord being our healer]. As I was sitting talking to him, I started crying because I just really realized that I need some help, and I’m not able to do this again on my own. I know I have the Lord that I can go to, but I need somebody earthly that I can talk to. And he came back with the chorus on the [single] “Help Me,” and I was just blown away.
I also wanted to have a quartet and bring the young and the old together. So that’s why I incorporated the fellas from Team Rogers. The process was very emotional, and I was transparent open myself up to these guys. I had to sit and be like, ‘Hey, I just need some help and guidance to actually put these words again into songs.’
BET.com: Overcomer is 12 tracks that proudly stand on their own. One track, “Hello God” with Kirk Franklin and Wyclef Jean is filled with blends of R&B, reggae, rap, and gospel. Tell me the story behind that song.
That was a great experience, but due to COVID, we had to record it separately. For me to have Wyclef on the song, me and my husband [David Mann] were on the phone [talking to him] and I was like a little kid trying to keep it together, [especially] seeing all the work that he’s done. And of course, being with Kirk, our chemistry together is just different. It’s like when we get together; he’s able to bring out the best in me. I would say he can pull some things out of me.
I told Kirk I want to do a Caribbean song, and he was doing an interview and so happened to be with Wyclef. And Kirk said he played a chorus of “Hello God” and said that he had this song for my sister. I made this for Tamela Mann.’
Kirk continued, ‘do you know [her]?’ and [Wyclef] said he knew of me and said he was on board. It was just an amazing feeling.
BET.com: Why did you want to incorporate a Caribbean song on the album?
Because I didn’t have anything, it’s like it after all these years. When you go overseas, when the Caribbean people worship, they worship hard. You can do a straight two-hour concert with them, and people are still moving as they did on your first song. The energy is so different, but I wanted something to be familiar and give back to. I wanted to let them know that I love their vibe and how they worship, and I wanted to give them something they’re used to.
BET.com: You and your husband David Mann are partners in many businesses and other projects together, including Overcomer; tell us how you bring out the best of each other?
How that happens is we really try to be a great support system to each other. If he’s doing his comedy and he’s out on the road, we’re there to support each other. If I’m singing, David is standing up and singing everywhere with me. And when he’s performing, I’m sitting in the front row or right on the side of the stage laughing louder than anybody.
But I think it really works for us because we both love each other and want each other to make it. And to have somebody who has your best interest at heart and loves you, that’s pushing you, we want to see each other make it. We want to see each other grow together.
BET.com: Tamela, your fans are going to get a treat from seeing you in Tyler Perry’s upcoming Madea Netflix movie and a new BET movie Soul Santa airing this Christmas. When we spoke at the beginning of the year, you said that Tyler Perry was able to help you discover your ability to act; how has it been working on both of these projects?
It’s been scary but amazing. That’s what I do love about Tyler; when he told me at the beginning of my career, he said before it’s over with, ‘I’m gonna have you acting.’ And with David coaching Tyler directing me, I have become the actress that I am.
It’s been a wonderful journey to do something or create something being pulled out of you that you didn’t know was there. I find it to be an honor.
[The Netflix] movie is gonna be so much fun y’all Madea’s Homecoming is gonna be hilarious. Oh my god, we had so much fun just filming it! I can’t wait for everybody to see it. The Soul Santa movie that we did for Christmas is gonna be hilarious as well. [The roles] are more serious for David and me, something that we hadn’t done before.
Editor’s Note: This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
(Courtesy of Tilly Mann, Inc)