October 30th will see the release of ROADS, the highly anticipated debut album from classical crossover artist Chris Mann. ROADS arrives via Faircraft/Universal Republic, a new imprint headed up by multi-platinum producer and veteran A&R executive Ron Fair (Mary J. Blige, the Black Eyed Peas, Fergie, The Pussycat Dolls, Il Volo, Christina Aguilera), who also served as the album’s executive producer.
ROADS boasts a wildly eclectic assortment of songs, including covers of Willie Nelson’s “Always on My Mind,” Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now” and Damien Rice’s “The Blower’s Daughter” (from the movie “Closer”) with the latter featuring a special guest appearance by multi-platinum superstar Christina Aguilera. It’s the first collaboration for these two vocal powerhouses since last season on the hit NBC-TV series “The Voice,” when Aguilera chose Mann to be part of “Team Christina,” telling him, “I feel the heavens open up when you sing.” For the season finale, the duo gave an electrifying performance of Andrea Bocelli’s “The Prayer,” which can be seen here: http://youtu.be/a6ywKOzGxsY
About “The Blower’s Daughter” and singing with Chris, Aguilera says, “It’s a beautiful song and I really respect the way he’s expressing himself on the album. Everything from his tone, to his richness, to his soulfulness comes through loud and clear.”
The album’s musical journey begins with its beautiful lead single, “Roads,” which was given to Mann by Keith Thomas (Charlotte Church, Luther Vandross, Vanessa Williams), who also produced the track. “I connected to it immediately,” says Mann. “The concept is about how life can throw you a curveball or it can change everything overnight, but either way you have to stay on this road and it will lead you home. That’s exactly how my road has been—a marathon that’s brought me to this new beginning.”
Among the album’s endless highlights is “Cuore,” a song co-written by Mann based on Bach’s “Air on a G String,” and a new take on the classic hit “My Way,” which legendary songwriter Paul Anka reworked specifically for Chris, altering the perspective from an older man to a younger one looking ahead—a notion central to the theme of ROADS.
That Anka would, for the first time ever, massage this Frank Sinatra-associated standard for him to sing means a great deal to Mann, whose late grandfather had himself once headed to L.A. in an attempt to make it as a Sinatra-influenced crooner, only to shelve his dream, return to Wichita and start a family. “I was raised on Sinatra by my granddad, so I have a strong connection to him as I’m pursuing my own dream. 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.”
Mann and Fair created ROADS with a stable of A-list producers, including the aforementioned Keith Thomas, Walter Afanasieff (Josh Groban, Andrea Bocelli, Celine Dion, Mariah Carey), Marco Marinangeli (Josh Groban, Il Divo), Marius de Vries (Madonna, U2, Josh Groban) and Bleu (Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato), along with arranger/conductor Joel McNeely (Seth McFarlane).
As a finalist on the hit NBC television series “The Voice,” Mann captured the hearts of millions with dynamic live performances and powerhouse vocals. When the show ended, he had not one, but two songs on the iTunes Top 10 Pop Singles Chart. Influenced by Pavarotti, Robbie Williams and vintage Sinatra, his blend of classically-trained tenor and contemporary pop vocals is a sound that’s rare in music today. Said “Voice” coach and multi-platinum artist Cee Lo, “He is by far one of the most incomparable vocalists I have ever heard.”
Over the course of the past few years, Mann has toured with Grammy Award-winner India.Arie and Tony Award-winner Idina Menzel. He’s also performed at high profile events including the Sundance Film Festival, the Academy Awards Young Hollywood Party, the American Film Institute Awards, among others. Chris was also featured in “David Foster and Friends” at special events in Los Angeles and Washington D.C, performing “The Prayer” with Katharine McPhee and David Foster. His voice has also been featured in films such as Avatar, Glee 3D, Letters to Juliet, Tangled, Sex and the City 2, The Smurfs, 2012, and many more.