Tamela Mann, known for her strong and powerful soprano singing voice, was born on June 9, 1966, in Fort Worth, TX, the youngest of 14 children. Her family took its spirituality seriously, and Mann’s childhood was centered by the presence of the Church of God in Christ. Mann was singing in the church’s adult choir by the time she was 12, often as a soloist, and she continued singing in choirs through high school. Her professional singing career began when she joined Kirk Franklin & the Family’s gospel organization in the 1990s, and her vocals were spotlighted on several Franklin tracks.
But Mann could act as well as sing, and she also appeared on stage in David E. Talbert’s gospel musical He Say…She Say…But What Does God Say? before moving on to playing Cora in several Tyler Perry plays. She hit the big screen, too, appearing in Kingdom Come and the movie adaptation of Diary of a Mad Black Woman, and worked in television with a regular role on Perry’s TBS series Meet the Browns.
Busy as she was, she kept singing, releasing a debut solo album, Gotta Keep Movin’, in 2005 and the concert CD and DVD The Live Experience in 2007, and then updated her faith-based gospel sound with a touch of urban R&B on 2009’s The Master Plan.