INTERVIEW: Former Atlantan Tamela Mann remains top gospel, comedic draw

She recently won best contemporary female artist at the Stellar Awards in Atlanta

Tamela Mann may be 56, but in the gospel world, that means she’s only getting started.

For the first time, she won best contemporary female artist at the Stellar Awards, the gospel version of the Grammys, which was taped at Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center last month and aired on BET.

“It still feels great to be honored,” said Mann in a recent phone interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I never want to take that for granted. I still feel like I’m on the rise.”

Mann said her job in gospel has always been to uplift people. “We have had troubled times and joyous times. It seems right now it’s more sour than happy,” she said. “I just want to breed happiness with my music.”

The actress and singer had a home in Atlanta for several years but now lives full-time in Houston. With her husband David, she has also been a regular on Tyler Perry TV shows for more than 15 years, including “House of Payne,” “Meet the Browns” and the current sitcom “Assisted Living,” which she hopes will get a fourth season. With those three shows, she has taped a whopping 450 episodes of TV for Perry.

She has become finely attuned to Perry’s uniquely speedy way of shooting a TV series, often shooting an entire season in two weeks.

“You go in and slam slam slam and get a season done,” Mann said. “It’s a lot of work but we’re able to do whatever we want the rest of the year. It really works out.”

It helps that David, her husband of 34 years, is almost always with her on these shows. “He helps me remember my lines,” she said. “He’s always clowning. We still have a lot of fun. He’s still my best friend I still enjoy his company.”

She also just released a beefed-up version of her album “Overcomer,” including a newly released streaming single, “Superheroes Prayer” with Yolanda Adams and a new live version of “Finished.”

And she is planning a tour with her family this fall. “David will do his comedy and I’ll do my praise and worship,” she said.

And she recently shot a part for the movie version of “The Color Purple” musical starring Fantasia, Taraji P. Henson and Danielle Brooks that recently wrapped in metro Atlanta and will come to theaters in 2023.

“I play the First Lady,” Mann said. “I open the film with a song and dance. It’s going to be incredible. I worked hard on it. It was a lot of fun. Fantasia was the initiator for me getting the part. And she came on set and watched me. It was such an honor to have her there.”

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