Chris Mann’s first North American tour will bring him to Port Washington later this week, but it won’t be the Kansas native’s first trip to “Port.”
Mann’s music career has taken off since he earned a spot on Team Christina Aguilera and finished fourth last May on Season 2 of NBC’s hit singing show, “The Voice.” While still searching for his big break though, the Wichita-born Mann would frequently ride the Long Island Railroad from Manhattan, where he was living at the time, to Port Washington to practice with his keyboardist.
“It was such a nice, peaceful break from the city,” said Mann, 30, of his visits to “Port” between 2006 and 2009. “Seeing all the boats heading out of the docks, the wildlife, the birds ... the quaintness of it all was so refreshing to me.”
Mann also developed a fondness for downtown Port Washington, particularly the restaurants on Main Street. He said he’s looking forward to indulging in the local fare when he returns to Port Washington on Friday night to perform at Landmark on Main Street’s Jeanne Rimsky Theater.
“It will be an intimate evening of music,” said Mann of the 8 p.m.concert.
Mann will perform a collection of upbeat ballads that he said are appropriate for all ages. The set list will include “fan favorites” from Mann’s run on “The Voice,” some numbers he performed in his PBS special, and songs off his debut album “Roads.” There will be a few covers and new material that audiences have not heard from him yet, but he plans to close out the show with a version of “My Way” that Paul Anka wrote exclusively for him.
Sharon Maier-Kennelly, executive director of Landmark on Main Street, said even big name performers enjoy playing at the 425-seat Jeanne Rimsky Theater because of the intimate setting, which allows them to really connect with the audience.
“We also have great acoustics, so they know they are going to sound good,” she added.
Mann has spent the past year in the studio recording “Roads” and a Christmas album sold exclusively through Walmart. In addition to his PBS concert, he’s also performed at the televised tree lighting at Rockefeller Center and “Christmas in Washington.” Although he described the experience of singing for the president of his country as “a huge honor,” he’s looking forward to being on the road.
“I’m excited to get out and meet people and perform,” said Mann. “I’m better live, because no show is the same and I love to interact with the audience.”
Mann’s success thus far can be attributed to taking risks and being true to himself. He quit his job working on the show “Glee” to try out for “The Voice,” and when he sang an Andrea Bocelli song at his blind audition, Mann said some of producers thought it wasn’t a good idea.
“The whole purpose was not to apologize for what I love about music and sing the kind of music I like,” said Mann, who describes his style as “pop classic.”
“It says a lot that people really enjoy the type of music that I enjoy,” he added. “It’s really easy to conform, but if you do what you do best, no one can do that better than you.”
Tickets are still available for Chris Mann’s concert at Landmark on Main Street. Prices range from $20 to $30. Contact the box office at 516-767-6444.