Singer who found stardom on 'The Voice' comes to Fresno

The Fresno BeeJune 26, 2013 

Chris Mann is reminded, almost daily, of the comfort and joy his music can bring.

His music is played at weddings and funerals. He knows because his fans tell him.

"It's really amazing to hear these stories," says Mann, the classically trained tenor pop vocalist who will perform in Fresno on Saturday, June 29. "It's the type of stuff you'd never know unless you stood there and listened."

It only adds to Mann's respect and gratitude for his fans.

"None of this would be possible if these people weren't there."

Mann was one of the breakout stars of season two of NBC's singing competition "The Voice." He didn't win (he came in fourth), but the exposure put him in front of millions of potential — and also realized — fans, and catapulted his career.

Two of his songs from the show landed on the iTunes Top 10 Pop Singles Chart. When his debut album "Roads" was released in October, it hit No. 1 on Billboard's Heatseekers Chart and made the top five on Billboard's Classical Chart.

His Pavarotti-meets-Sinatra delivery landed him his own PBS special ("A Mann For All Seasons") and a performance for the president and first lady. He just returned from doing a show at the Auditorio Nacional in Mexico City.

He is in the middle of an almost yearlong tour, which stops Saturday at the Tower Theatre.

This is Mann's first full-stage show. The singer put thought into each of the songs in the 90-minute set. It's a mixture of tunes from his PBS special, those on the album and the songs he performed on "The Voice."

"It's a well-crafted picture of what I love in music right now," Mann says.

Saturday is not Mann's first stop in town.

As part of the promotion for his PBS special, Mann toured the country and made stops at the local affiliates. In March, he was at Valley PBS answering phones as part of the station's pledge drive and meeting with fans like Jean Britt, who, at 81, drove in from Mariposa with her daughter just for the chance to meet the singer.

Britt has followed Mann's career since she first heard him on "The Voice." She doesn't normally watch those kinds of shows, much less do the whole call-in-voting deal, but for Mann, she voted every chance she got.

"I've been stalking you," Britt joked at the time about her share of Internet research.

The PBS special was one of the first things Mann started working on after his success on "The Voice." It had been a longtime dream. He grew up watching the PBS station in Wichita, Kan.

It was a place that didn't often get artists stopping through. Especially the kind that aired on public TV. For Mann, the station was a needed outlet.

"They've supported music like mine for years," he says.

As to his time on "The Voice," Mann wishes he could do it again.

The show is a bootcamp for performers and really allowed him to grow as a musician. He's still applying the things he learned each time he steps on stage.

"I continue to grow each time I do it."

 

 


Show info 

 

Chris Mann, 8 p.m. Saturday at Tower Theatre. $29-$39. (559) 485-9050, towertheatrefresno.com

 

The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6479 or jtehee@fresnobee.com.

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