Tamela Mann Brings the House Down in Baltimore

Gospel music fans count on the genre to keep their spirit intact. Anyone who was raised within the Christian faith spectrum knows how important the music is on their spiritual journey. It feeds the soul. The music is all-encompassing of messages of faith, survival, hope, trust, love, and joy. There are several voices considered to be on the list of greats in the gospel and inspirational music. Legendary acts like Rance Allen and Pastor Shirley Ceasar amongst others. Modern gospel acts that continue to top the charts are the likes of Pastor Marvin Sapp and Yolanda Adams. And in recent years, Tamela Mann has proven that she's a force to be reckoned with.

Mann rose to fame through her work with Tyler Perry in his stage plays and film and television productions as the character Cora, the daughter of Perry's famous matriarch figure Mabel "Madea" Simmons. Perry's fans are familiar with his projects featuring faith-based messages and uplifting music throughout and Mann is always a fan favorite. Her voice is unmatched. I've had the pleasure of seeing her live several times in concert, as well as interviewing her twice in the past year. As an avid concertgoer, lover of gospel music, and fan, I jumped at the chance to see her special Mother's Day Concert in Baltimore on Saturday, May 7. 

There were three opening acts: Anthony Brown and Group therAPY, Erica Campell, and Donnie McClurkin. All of which put on amazing sets in their own right. But the true treat was Mann. Ahead of the show, she spoke with Shadow and Act regarding her excitement to return to the stage in front of a live audience after two years of not being able to due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I'm really grateful. I'm thankful. It's just such an honor to be able to help to bring inspiration and joy to people and to just give people hope through music because music plays a big part [in life], and I'm just so happy for the opportunity to share that," she said. "I'm really grateful to God, most and foremost for everything and all the support from everyone. I'm just trying to show that if He did it for me, He can do it for you too. And being able to touch people from my music and on stage is why I do this." 

And she delivered on that promise. Her husband and performance partner, David Mann, introduced her to the sold-out crowd at the Chesapeake Employment insurance Arena on the campus of the University of Maryland, Baltimore. After giving a few jokes, the lady of the hour and her three background singers, one of which is the couple's daughter Tia, took front and center.

From the moment she hit the stage with her opening number of her rendition of the classic "Change Me," she set the tone for what was sure to be a revival of sorts. She delivers the songs effortlessly. Her powerhouse vocals sound 100x's better than those of her recordings. 

There was not a disappointing moment in her set. She sang all of her hits, including "Take Me To the King," "I Can Only Imagine," "Potter," "God Provides," "Now Behold the Lamb," and even allowed the audience to pause for a quick praise break – which is described as a liberating moment in which faith-based people give praise and thanks to God.

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In between each song, and even during, Mann gave sermons of sorts about staying steadfast in one's faith, no matter the circumstances. She spoke of her own struggles, specifically within the past two years amid the pandemic with losing loved ones and having to adjust to a new normal under restrictions due to the pandemic. But through it all, just as one of her songs of the same title states, God was with her the entire way. 

Mann has a lot to be thankful for. She was recently cast in the musical film adaptation of The Color Purple, is starring on Tyler Perry's Assisted Living, is touring with her family, has a shapewear and athletic line, and recently made Billboard music chart history. She's proving that keeping the faith goes a long way.