We live in a time where being married for 30 minutes is an accomplishment. 30 days, weeks, or months, may be extreme for some. But what does it take to sustain a marriage, family, careers in the entertainment industry, and still smile and love through it all? These two would know.
David and Tamela put out a book and a CD celebrating their love for one another while also giving the new generation of lovers some advice on what to do when love is not enough.
David and Tamela are in their home on a dry Texas day. They have been traveling a lot and promoting the project and I was able to catch them on an off day.
Rashod: I didn’t know that you guys were friends with Kirk Franklin in high school before any of this gospel world started. What’s that like to be able to look back and see the growth that you all had been a part of?
Tamela: Amazing. It’s almost like living in a dream. Like, you never would have thought.
David: We started off just around town, you know when you’re local famous. That’s what you call it… “local famous”. When you go to every musical, everything that’s happening at every church, and everybody knows you. You never could have imagined that this thing could turn into something that you make a career out of. I mean it went from singing on the weekends for maybe a little offering or some chicken to making a great living.
Tamela: Or sometimes it’s a “Bless you. God gonna bless y’all”. And He did. But, then sometimes we just needed some gas money. We were kids and riding around in Darrly Blair’s car. He also played with us in the beginning. Actually, it was those three. It was David, Kirk, and Darryl, who is our pastor now. So everybody has really succeeded. I mean it’s just the grace of God and you know, we’re all still right here together… in the faith together.
Rashod: What was that like in the early days for you guys? With developing, not only personal relationships and friendships but learning how the industry works. What did that feel like for you?
David: you know, for us (David and Tamela) it kind of naturally evolved into the friendship stuff. It was, it was like we met and I mean we hit it off as friends because we just, we enjoyed each other as people. Not even as it relates to a couple, as boyfriend and girlfriend. We enjoyed each other’s personality as people and who we were as people and to see that grow into this business model and start evolving into, what people know as the brand of “The Mann’s” or whatever/however you call that. For us, that’s uncomfortable because it just started glorifying self and we don’t do that (laughing). But you know, to see how God started blessing, maneuvering, and putting us in the right places in the right season. That’s the thing. It was like in the right season with Kirk Franklin and The Family, the right season with Tyler Perry to do the plays, the movies, and television, in the right place for Tamela to do solo projects. And you know, it just, God has always put us in the right place.
Tamela: I felt that! God is real and has shown up (speaking in tongues and laughing.)
Rashod: The first time I remember hearing both of your voices was on the Kirk Franklin track Now Behold the Lamb. Then, I heard Kirk say “sing David”. And I was like…Hold up….that’s Mr. Brown from the Tyler Perry play, I Can Do Bad All By Myself. Then, Tamela, I heard your voice on the track Lean On Me. If you could get a Grammy for a piece of a verse in the song, you would have gotten it for that song. I was like, I don’t know who she is, but she is singing to my spirit. For you guys, at this point, people recognize you. When did you say, wow, we’re actually doing this for real?