Chris Mann has wowed fans across the globe for years– on stages, television screens, and through his hit albums. From NBC’s “The Voice,” to the starring role of The Phantom in “The Phantom of the Opera” national tour, Mann has enjoyed incredible success while thrilling audiences at every turn. The singer’s latest release is the single, “Noise”– a boisterous, empowering, and timely anthem– with an accompanying lyric video. Noise is also the title of Mann’s upcoming album, which will drop after each single is unveiled month by month through the summer and fall. Check out our interview with Chris Mann below, and for all things Chris Mann, visit chrismannmusic.com.
LIFE ENTERTAINMENT: What was it like in the beginning of your career?
CHRIS MANN: Well, my career has been very interesting and varied with lots of ups and downs. I’ve been singing my whole life classically, and I studied opera and classical music at Vanderbilt [University] in Nashville. But my dream was always to be a pop recording artist, and so I moved to New York to pursue that. I was working odd jobs and singing in church. I was doing everything I could to make ends meet so I could play shows at night of my original pop music.
Eventually, I got signed to Sony for a pop deal, and that was what brought me to Los Angeles. I made that record, and then found out I was being dropped when they fired everybody at the label. So I’m now unemployed in Los Angeles. My dream has sort of been crushed, and I got involved with singing on television. That’s how I started with “Glee,” and then eventually started working with [producer and songwriter] David Foster. I eventually went on “The Voice,” and my career within the last seven years has been incredible and very much based around that classical singing– going on to do “Phantom of the Opera” as well.
But when I set out to make this new album, Noise, I really wanted to get back to what I initially started out wanting to be in the business for. Like, why do I love music? I love urban music. I love pop music. I love beats. I love programming. I love falsetto melodies. I like vintage elements. I love horns. Things that just make me excited. And so that’s how “Gentlemen,” the first single of Noise, came to be. It was me basically mashing in a sink all of my favorite things that I love about music. And that was the beginning of the full album of me getting back to that part of who I am.
“Noise” is all about standing up for what you believe in and screaming out about it. I was feeling sort of depressed by some things that had happened to me and what was going on out there in the world. And I went into a session to write a song with my friend Scott Simons, and I was like, “I really can’t write a love song today. There’s so much that makes me angry and there’s so many things that I want to scream out about and make some noise about.” And so that’s sort of where this came from. I love this track. I did this song for the first time live at my album release concert in Los Angeles, and it was so dope. The crowd was loving it. I can’t wait for this to just encourage people to make noise about whatever they care about.
LE: What has been the evolution since Constellation?
CM: I made that record while I was still in “Phantom of the Opera,” and Adrian Bradford produced it. It’s a beautiful album. I would say that it would be like a gateway drug to Noise– where it’s sort of poppier, but still straddles that sort of adult contemporary, symphonic, cinematic sound that I love to sing. But, I was still keeping one foot over in that world where I was living as sort of a classical pop artist. And Noise fluxed the whole system. It’s fully about “this is who I am and I’m not going to apologize for that and I’m not going to play it safe.” It’s sexy; it’s grown up. It doesn’t sound like anything else, and yet it feels like me.
LE: So the singles are being staggered out?
CM: Yeah, I’m doing one a month. So Noise will be released as a record in its entirety at the end, but because each song I think is so special, I didn’t want to put it all out at once and then have people sort of move on. So, once a month I will release a new single. Once a month for nine months– there’s nine tracks.
LE: I saw that India.Arie was someone that you looked up to musically. How was your experience working with her on the Noise album?
CM: She’s a dream. India is such a dream. I’ve known her for a long time. She’s always– I mean, I will never forget hearing her for the first time with “Ready for Love.” I have always been so swayed by her voice and her songwriting, so to collaborate with her on one of my songs where she was so excited to do that is… I’ve had to pinch myself. But I’m not surprised because she is a very supportive artist who always is down to make great music, no matter how hard that might be with her schedule. So I was really honored to have her on it. I cannot wait– that’ll be the third single. I can’t wait for people to hear it.