On-Air Highlights

Breakout star Chris Mann in concert with guests Martina McBride and Mindy Abair

Written by witf | Feb 22, 2013 8:11 AM

In 2011, Chris Mann faced a make-or-break moment in his blind audition on NBC’s singing competition, “The Voice,” when he took the stage to perform Andrea Bocelli’s song, “Because We Believe.” Mann blew everyone away with his stunning classical voice and landed on a team coached by Christina Aguilera, who told him, “I feel the heavens open up when you sing.” America agreed, and Chris Mann became one of the breakout stars of season two with his heavenly voice and dynamic live performance.

Now Mann has found a home on PBS, singing a collection of classical-crossover favorites filmed live in concert with two very special guests – four-time CMA Female Vocalist of the Year and 14-time Grammy nominee Martina McBride and best-selling contemporary jazz saxophonist Mindi Abair. CHRIS MANN IN CONCERT: A MANN FOR ALL SEASONS is part of special programming premiering on witf on March 1 at 10:30 p.m., March 2 at 3 p.m., March 7 at 9:30 p.m., March 8 at 2:30 a.m., March 9 at 6:30 p.m., March 11 at 9:30 p.m., March 12 at 2:30 a.m., March 18 at 9:30 p.m., and March 19 at 2:30 a.m.

Influenced by Pavarotti and vintage Sinatra, Mann’s blend of classically trained tenor and contemporary pop vocals is a sound that’s rare in music today. Said Cee Lo Green, “He is by far one of the most incomparable vocalists I have ever heard.” By the time his season of “The Voice” ended, Mann had landed not one, but two songs on the iTunes Top 10 Pop Singles Chart. A few months later, he signed with Faircraft/Republic, a new label formed by renowned producer/music executive Ron Fair, and began recording Roads, his major label debut. That album, a bold reimagining of the classical-pop genre, hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Heatseekers Chart and No. 5 on the Classical Album Chart. The aptly titled album represents the culmination of a long and challenging journey for this gifted and dedicated young artist. In addition, Mann also recorded Home for Christmas, a holiday album exclusively for Walmart, which rocketed to No. 1 on the chain’s Best-Selling Album Chart and entered Billboard’s Classical Crossover Chart at No. 12.

In his first PBS concert, which is produced by Grammy executive pProducer Ken Ehrlich with music under the direction of Michael Bearden, Mann performs an exciting and eclectic blend of songs, ranging from “Ave Maria” to Willie Nelson’s “Always on My Mind" to Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now.” He also performs an updated version of “My Way,” re-written for him by Paul Anka, as the new voice of the classic song. Anka tweaked the lyrics so that instead of looking back, this new version is from the point of view of a young man looking hopefully ahead. That Anka would, for the first time ever, reconsider Frank Sinatra’s masterpiece means a great deal to Mann. His late grandfather had once headed to Los Angeles in an attempt to make it as a Sinatra-influenced crooner, only to abandon his dream, return to Wichita, Kansas, and start a family. “I was raised on Sinatra by my granddad, so I have a strong connection to him as I’m pursing my own dream,” says Mann. “If he’d known that I’d one day be working with Paul Anka, and that I’d be recording the only other official version of ‘My Way,’ he would be so proud and excited.”

With a voice rich in tone and soulfulness, Mann performs each song in a way that can be appreciated by music lovers of all generations. He has the astounding ability to make timeworn standards fresh, while taking a modern pop song and performing it with classical elegance. Mann also introduces original music, which he co-wrote and sings with timeless musicality and passion, including “Cuore,” based on Bach’s “Air on a G String,” and the contemporary ballad, “Falling.” With his charm, personality and inspiring voice, Chris Mann is destined to be a PBS fan favorite.

Watch a preview of the show below.

During the show, we'll be offering special Chris Mann themed thank you gifts for your donation to witf. For your contribution of $60, you will receive Chris Mann in Concert: A Mann For All Seasons CD. For your contribution of $90, you will receive Chris Mann in Concert: A Mann For All Seasons DVD. For your contribution of $150, you will receive both the CD and DVD.

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