Stephanie and David Mann
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Stephanie and David Mann

Valdosta, Georgia, United States | SELF

Valdosta, Georgia, United States | SELF
Band Christian Gospel

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Apr
02
Stephanie and David Mann @ Jim Miller Park

Marietta, Georgia, USA

Marietta, Georgia, USA

Apr
01
Stephanie and David Mann @ Jim Miller Park

Marietta, Georgia, USA

Marietta, Georgia, USA

Dec
16
Stephanie and David Mann @ Young at Heart Morningside Baptist Church

Valdosta, Georgia, USA

Valdosta, Georgia, USA

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Music

Press


By Dean Poling

The Valdosta Daily Times



VALDOSTA — Lowndes County musician couple David and Stephanie Mann have released a new CD of Christian music under a new name.

For their debut CD, “More Than Anything,” the Manns went by their names. For the recently released “Savior To All,” they use the name Mann Alive — a play on words and an expression that fits what may be many listeners’ reactions to these new songs.

As with the first album, “Savior To All” features songs written by the Manns. David plays guitar. Stephanie sings. The original album was good, but the new album shows how much the Manns have grown as songwriters and musicians. Stephanie’s voice sounds like a young Carly Simon on some tracks.

On this album, the Manns are joined by Chip Tanner on guitar. The frontman of the Brooks County-based band TannersLane went to high school with David. Tanner joins Darlene Ray and Kari Ray on background vocals, Carl Albrecht on drums, Harrell Mann on trumpet. Tanner and Darlene Ray also play other instruments on the CD, which was recorded at Valdosta’s Breakthrough Music Services.

Together, the Manns, the musicians and producers weave a magical and spiritual spell.

As with the first album, the Manns share spiritual messages in their lyrics — powerful lessons of faith and redemption, blessings and finding the way.



The Times conducted an email interview with the Manns. Excerpts:

THE VALDOSTA DAILY TIMES: One of the most noticeable immediate differences is the new name. Instead of going simply by David and Stephanie Mann, you call yourselves Mann Alive. Perfect name. What led to making this change?

THE MANNS: “Concerning our name change, our pastor came up with that one. Stephanie says she loves to hear him say ‘man alive’ about things that inspire or surprise our pastor, Glen Gray, in a delightful way. We liked the double entendre effect in that we are ‘alive’ in Christ, and of course the play on our name, Mann. In the beginning, (David) had just wanted to name the group Stephie, or Steph, or just Stephanie Mann, since she is the lead singer. But as a compromise, we named ourselves, Stephanie and David Mann. But the new name seemed a better compromise and a better fit, especially if we were going to tour and add more band members.”



THE VALDOSTA DAILY TIMES: Like your last CD, ‘More Than Anything,’ this new CD, ‘Savior to All,’ features songs written by the two of you. Has it been difficult to keep finding the inspiration to write new songs? Or do they keep flowing from your pens?

DAVID MANN: “It has not been difficult at all for me to find the inspiration to ‘start’ to write new songs; it’s just the ‘finishing’ of them that is holding up any new material lately. We have finished song No. 51 and have over 30 more ‘starts’ to new material. These ‘starts’ are snippets of new ideas we have recorded into a Sony Voice Recorder and later can come back to them in order to develop and finish the song. So in that regard it has been rather easy. Our main focus as of late is that we’ve started a new project which consists of a sing-a-long book for children based on the song ‘No Other Way’ from the second album.”

STEPHANIE MANN: “It just depends on what the Lord puts on our hearts, and that’s what we write about.”



THE VALDOSTA DAILY TIMES: You share very personal insights in your songs. Which is more difficult, putting those thoughts and experiences into words or performing them?

DAVID MANN: “When we are able to start and finish a song, sometimes the words just flow in writing new material. They seem to just fall right into place. At other times, we kind of get stuck for a day or so and have to come back and look at it again. We have come to the conclusion that God may be teaching us some things in this process about ourselves, and He has shown us that it’s really all about him, anyway, like our song says. We can really feel when ‘the Spirit moves us,’ and some of the songs have come relatively quickly, being completed in about an hour or so.”

STEPHANIE MANN: “Putting songs into words is more difficult to me than performing them because I enjoy the performance aspects more. David is a better writer than I am. I mostly help him do the finishing touches. I have written a few of our songs completely, but it has to be a ‘God thing’ for me to do it.”

DAVID MANN: “As far as the performance aspect goes, we have found it to always be a growing and learning process, and in some ways more difficult than the writing. Perhaps it is the ‘unknown’ factor, such as playing to a large event, like we did in April in Marietta at the Southeastern Power Sports and Outdoor Expo, which was sponsored by ATV Ministries. But we did fine and had a great time there.”



THE VALDOSTA DAILY TIMES: Your songwriting seems stronger than ever with this album, but so do your musicianship, David, and Stephanie, your singing. Have you been performing more since the release of the first album? Have you continued working to hone your skills?

DAVID MANN: “This second album was an effort to ‘be all that we can be,’ and was definitely a step up in the learning curve. ... Just by sheer osmosis, or whatever, I think skills are developed as one plays more and more and is exposed to more and better musicians. It’s sort of like playing tennis: If you want to get better, hang out with the folks you want to be like.

“Different things motivate me to get better. It is still very surreal to get in my car, turn on the radio, which stays tuned to WAFT 101 FM here in Valdosta, and to hear one of our songs. One day that happened, and I thought to myself in the first few seconds ‘that song sounds sort of familiar.’ And then it hit me, ‘THAT’S one of OUR songs!’ And I did laugh out loud! WAFT did a follow-up interview for our second album, which was way cool! That in itself is a great motivator to continue becoming better as a musician. I hope to one day be able to play ‘live’ for Bill and Terry’s (Tidwell) morning show called ‘Jumpstart’ on WAFT. Now that would be fun!”



THE VALDOSTA DAILY TIMES: How often do you perform? And where do you perform? Are you traveling for concerts now?

DAVID MANN: “Not nearly as much as we would like! At first, when we were still a bit of a novelty, we had quite a few offers to play. But not so much in recent months. Maybe I haven’t done as good a job as I would have liked in getting the word out. It takes a lot of work to promote music. And I would really like a manager/agent to get the ball rolling in that area and let me and Steph just have to deal with the creative part. But touring is where it is at if one is going to make it in this industry.



THE VALDOSTA DAILY TIMES: How have the two of you been doing? Still with Cherry Creek Baptist Church?

DAVID MANN: “We’re doing like most folks, having our share of ups and downs. We are still members of Cherry Creek Baptist Church, our biggest fans and most loyal supporters. That’s where a lot of our original inspiration and encouragement came from and still does.”

STEPHANIE MANN: “I’m still at Cracker Barrel. I have been, however, studying to become a medical transcriptionist this past year, and will be finished with my coursework by November. My retail manager just left to be a full-time homemaker, but before she left, she encouraged me to contact corporate at Cracker Barrel to see if their stores will carry our CD. She thought it would be cool to have a cashier selling her own CDs in the Cracker Barrel store!”



Mann Alive’s “Savior to All” is available in Valdosta at the Potter’s House, or can be ordered on CD Baby, iTunes, Amazon.com. Mann Alive will be playing soon at the Baptist Village in Lake Park. More information: Visit www.mannalive.net






- Valdosta Daily Times


(please listen to the interview through the link listed below). - WAFT 101.1 FM in Valdosta, GA


VALDOSTA — David and Stephanie Mann cannot really explain how the past year has led to the exceptional music on their contemporary Christian CD, “More Than Anything.”

They have both had a nearly lifelong interest in music. Stephanie as a singer. David as a drummer for 37 years.

They have been married for nearly seven years, having met at the end of 2002 while working at the Doctor’s Laboratory. A whirlwind romance led to a June 2003 wedding. He now works as a registered nurse. She’s a cashier at Cracker Barrel.

They both attended Lake Park United Methodist Church until a couple of years ago when they moved to Cherry Creek Baptist Church.

Yet, this knowledge of music and the strength of their marriage doesn’t really explain the creative, artistic and performing steps they have taken during the past year.

In that time, the Manns have written more than 40 songs. He’s gone from knowing little about playing guitar to regularly playing the instrument in concerts and in their recordings. They penned all 12 of the songs on “More Than Anything.” Church members helped fund the recording session for the CD. They have been invited to perform at several area churches.

Given their faith, the Manns say, the explanation is simple.

It’s all from God.

David Mann had suffered from clinical depression. He took medication to battle this condition. Wanting to overcome his depression, he prayed.

“I prayed for a heart like David,” Mann says, referring to the biblical King David who, as a boy with only a stone and a sling, stared down the mighty Goliath.

David Mann prayed for the other David’s strength, but King David was also the warrior poet who wrote the Psalms.

David Mann’s prayers were answered through the strength of songs.

Songs have come to him ever since. Some come in the middle of the night. He rises to compose. He keeps a small Sony recorder with him at all times.

David often writes the basics of the song, the medley, the words. He calls Stephanie “the finisher.” She steps in to compose the bridge, add an additional lyric or chord change to make the song whole.

In recent days, the Manns completed their 41st song and were already working on the 42nd. Listening to their songs on “More Than Anything,” Stephanie sings the majority of the tunes with her soulful, rhythmic voice. The words speak of great faith of overcoming despair, of finding hope and redemption, of a never-ending love.

They present these themes in tunes that are both complex in their musical influences while emotionally powerful in their melodic simplicity. David and Stephanie Mann create and perform songs that will have listeners searching their souls while tapping their toes.

The musicianship is solid. David laughs, referring to himself as a drummer. He mentions the old band joke: What do you call a guy who hangs around a bunch of musicians? A drummer.

In late 2008, David Mann received a Gibson Hummingbird guitar as a gift. The drummer began playing his songs on guitar, and he has become accomplished in performing and recording on guitar.

The Manns’ lives have been reaffirmed in the past year. Reaffirmed and changed.

David says since beginning to write songs, he has been relieved of his clinical depression. God has shown him a heart like David.



• Stephanie and David Manns’ “More Than Anything” is available at The Potter’s House; or by contacting them through their Web site: www.stephanieanddavidmann.com



- Valdosta Daily Times


Discography

More Than Anything (Album)
Savior to All (Album)

Photos

Bio

Do you have a broad range in musical taste? If so, you will certainly like the music that these two seasoned pros will bring your way. They both come from a wide background of musical genres that include The Platters, Patsy Cline, The Moody Blues, and BTO.

WAFT 101.1 FM in Valdosta, GA has added them on their artists section, and their songs in the rotation. (http://www.waft.org).
WAFT took up an interest in the Mann's and also aired two interviews with them.

Stephanie and David have written 51 songs so far and have more on the way! David - a lifelong drummer (Allstate, 1st Chair solo percussion) was given a Gibson Hummingbird guitar as a Christmas gift in 2008. In February of 2009 he began to write songs that he was "hearing" in his head. Stephanie would help him finish these songs and began to write some herself. Stephanie has been singing ever since she was a little girl, jumping up and down on her bed and strumming a tennis racquet, and singing along with songs on the radio.

In recent years, they have both played extensively in church. David played with a 25 piece orchestra and 100 voice choir for almost 10 years, and then a church praise band for 4 years where he met Stephanie. Since that time, they have moved to their current church where they both have been active on the praise team these past 3 years.

The Mann's first album, "More Than Anything", released in December of 2009. The second album has seen their influence expand toward Nashville with the addition of world-class musician Carl Albrecht (who tours with Paul Baloche) on drums. In addition, a local well-known, award winning musician and childhood friend of David's - Chip Tanner - laid down the lead guitar tracks.