Mann was born Tamela Jean Johnson in Limestone County, Texas the youngest of 14 children. She and her siblings grew up in a very spiritual home grounded in the Church of God in Christ (COGIC). They were reared by their mother, “Mother Eppe,” who believed in and exercised solid biblical principles.
By the age of 12, Mann was singing in the church’s adult choir and was often selected to sing solos. Although she was bashful, she blossomed in the local church and high school choirs.
Mann’s musical career began when she joined the Kirk Franklin and the Family. She has also enjoyed collaborating and performing with artists such as Yolanda Adams, Excell Amos, Mary J. Blige, Al Green, Celine Dion, Bono, R. Kelly, and Fred Hammond. She went on to join the gospel musical cast of David E. Talbert as he directed the stage play He Says… She Says… But What Does God Say?
Mann began acting in 1999 when she was discovered by Tyler Perry. She debuted in the stage play I Can Do Bad All By Myself.
She went on to act in Meet the Browns, Madea’s Family Reunion, Madea’s Class Reunion, Diary of a Mad Black Woman, and What’s Done in the Dark. She has appeared on television shows including The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, BET Soundstage, the 1999 Grammy Awards, the Dove Awards, the United States of America World Olympics, Tyler Perry’s House of Payne, and Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns, in which she portrays Mr. Brown’s daughter.
She has appeared in movies, including the 2001 comedy Kingdom Come, Diary of a Mad Black Woman and Meet The Browns. She also had a role in 2009’s Tyler Perry movie Madea Goes to Jail. Mann appeared in the 2012 film Sparkle, a remake of the 1976 film of the same name, alongside Whitney Houston and American Idol winner and R&B singer Jordin Sparks, making her film debut.
She is currently filming a new cooking show with her husband David, Hanging with the Manns. Also their show on BET “It’s a Mann’s World”
In 2005, Mann and her husband David created their own label, Tillymann Music Group, which they have released several projects through. In 2005 her solo album, Gotta Keep Movin‘, was released. In 2007 she released her first live album, The Live Experience. Mann’s explosive songs “Father Can You hear Me” and “Take It To Jesus” can be heard in the movie and on the soundtrack album of Diary of a Mad Black Woman.
In 2009 her second studio album, The Master Plan, was released. It peaked at number 2 on the Billboard Gospel Album Chart, and peaked at number 97 on the Billboard 200.
Mann’s third studio album, Best Days, was released on August 14, 2012. It debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top Gospel Albums chart, and #14 on the Billboard 200.
Tamela Mann won Stellar Award’s “Best Female Gospel Artist of the Year” in 2014, as well as Best Gospel Artist at the 2014 BET Awards.
In 2018, Mann released a duets album with her husband entitled, Us Against the World: The Love Project.
In 2019, Billboard announced that Best Days was the Gospel Album of the Decade.
Tamela is the wife of actor David Mann, known for his role as Deacon Leroy Brown in some of Tyler Perry’s plays. In the Madea TV shows and movies, she plays Mr. Brown’s daughter, Cora. They have always worked together professionally.
David and Tamela renewed their 25th wedding vows in the spring of 2013. They raised four children together: David’s daughters Porcia and Tiffany, from a previous relationship; their children together, David Jr and Tia; and Tamela’s niece, Sonya, whom the couple raised. David and Tamela also have eight grandchildren.
In January 2015, a reality show about their family, It’s A Mann’s World, premiered on BET. David and Tamela are devout Christians, and in this program are able to show how they have a fun-loving, balanced family, centered in godly principles and coping with real-life obstacles. In 2019, Tamela joined the WW International family as a weightloss ambassador. Recently on July 23, 2019, Tamela had double knee surgery just a couple of months after starting her weight loss journey. She recovered quite quickly and went on to lose 100 lbs of weight by January 1, 2020.