You might recognize Yamaha Artist Chris Mann from NBC’s The Voice or from his most recent principle role as The Phantom in Andrew Llyod Webber’s Phantom of the Opera. But the ‘Mann’ behind the music is much more than meets the ear.
Chris Mann rose to fame as Christina Aguilera’s finalist on NBC’s The Voice. Since then, his debut album, Roads, hit #1 on Billboard’s Heatseekers Chart and he starred in his own PBS television special: A Mann For All Seasons. Chris has performed with the National Symphony for President Obama, at Christmas in Rockefeller Center and headlined his own symphony tour across the country. He has also performed on Ellen, The Today Show, Conan, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Christmas in Washington and was an original member of the Dalton Academy Warblers on Glee. Chris is currently fulfilling his Broadway ambitions by starring as the title role in the national touring production of Phantom of the Opera—a role he feels he was destined to play. From Wichita, KS, Mann holds a Vocal Performance degree from Vanderbilt University. His recordings and more can be found at ChrisMannMusic.com
Music & Arts recently sat down with classical crooner Chris Mann to talk shop and discover just why giving the gift of music is so important.
Who inspired you to play an instrument/sing?
I’d have to say my grandfather because he was a singer. He listened to lots of Sinatra, Streisand and Natalie Cole – which is probably how I got into smooth singing. But I also love pop music. So, growing up during the boy band era, I would sing with my comb in the mirror.
What had the greatest impact on your career?
My time on The Voice had to be the most impactful moment in the grand scheme of my career. The show was the springboard I had been looking for even though before and after the show I had a record deal. So, for anyone out there who thinks it’s as simple as being on one of those shows, it’s really not – you really have to put in the work and prepare for that moment so that you can really run with it after.
What have you been up to since The Voice?
After finishing The Voice, I signed a record deal, released my debut album Roads and my first Christmas album, Home for Christmas. I was lucky enough to film two television concert specials for PBS and embark on my first North American headlining tour. I’ve done crazy things like sing on Ellen, The Today Show and Jay Leno and have performed for the President of the United States. I am recording my new album now which will be released next year.
Did you ever take private music lessons?
I grew up in public school and took part in choir and musical theatre. Any time I could step on stage, I did. I started voice lessons when I was 15 and piano pretty much my whole life. I majored in Vocal Performance in college and haven’t stopped singing since. Whether or not you choose to have a career in music, lessons can be beneficial in terms of discipline, time management and, they’re fun. It’s a cool way to stimulate your brain. If you’re an athlete like I was, it’s a good creative outlet to help balance things. Plus, when you’re older and you can play the guitar and piano, you will be the coolest person in the room.
Tell us about your Christmas album.
I love Christmas music. Home for Christmas is a beautifully orchestrated Christmas album produced by Grammy Award-winner, Walter Afanasieff. There’s something so special about keeping the integrity of these songs intact and letting the music do its thing. I filmed a live version of this album for PBS and performed a duet with country music legend Martina McBride. It was a dream come true. You can get the CD and DVD on iTunes and at ChrisMannMusic.com/store.
If you walked into a Music & Arts store today, what are the top 3 things you’d look for?
A keyboard, because mine got run over by a truck, cables, because I lose them all the time when I’m on the road and recording software because I record on the road all the time. Also, an employee, because I am not a gear head by any means so I’d need some advice!
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