Tamela Mann recalls getting advice from Whitney Houston for "Best Days"
The two were on the set of the film, "Sparkle," and the singer/actress decided to see what Houston thought about her new songs "I'll Hold On" and "All to Thee."
"I asked her, 'Would you listen to something?' And she's like, 'Yeah, yeah.' She invited me to her trailer," Mann said of the late singer, who died Feb. 11, 2012. "She was like, 'This is great.' She really liked 'I'll Hold On.' And she's like, 'When you get to the chorus, just ride it. Just take them there.' For her to take out the time with me, I was just really happy about it."
Mann acted alongside Houston and Jordin Sparks in "Sparkle," a remake, currently in theaters, of the 1976 film of the same name about a 1950s girl group.
Portraying Houston's best friend Sara Waters in the film was a bit intimidating for Mann at first. But Houston made it easy, she said.
"We talked about family, we talked about God," Mann told CBSNews.com, adding, "She came in and was wonderful. She was very pleasant to work with. Very easygoing and very helpful to everybody just around her. Very inviting."
Many months later, the two songs Houston heard surfaced on Mann's new studio album, a gospel set that also includes both pop and urban tracks.
The Dove award-winning singer says she set out to "inspire hope" with her latest project, released this month.
"'Best Days,' which is the title of this album, is to let you know that your best days are yet to come and your worst days are behind you," Mann said. "It's a hope and a faith thing that's working together that things will get better. I wanted to give hope to the people -- hold on, hang in there and it's coming."
The Texas-based songstress says she has really enjoyed the testimonials she's been hearing and reading about the new music.
"One lady was saying how she wanted to give up on her life but then she heard the song ["Take Me to the King"] and she was like, 'I rethought everything,'" Mann, 46, said.
Mann plans to tour behind "Best Days" for a good part of this year, but she and her husband, David Mann, are also shopping around a cooking show.
And there's always a chance Tyler Perry could call. Mann has appeared in a series of the filmmaker's movies, taking on the reoccurring role of Cora Brown.
"Working with Tyler, things pop up," she said. "He'll just call you and say, 'We're going to do this.'"
So until that happens, Mann remains focused on her music and getting it out to as many people as possible.
"I'm kind of in awe that it's happening the way it is," Mann said. "But I'm happy that it is because that's one thing that I hoped and dreamed that I could just reach the masses and not just my culture but to be able to do cross-culture."
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