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Pine Island's Bobby Mann places 12th in national Talent Quest competition

October 14, 2014
By ED FRANKS ( ) , Pine Island Eagle

Pine Island resident Bobby Mann recently earned a top finish in the national Talent Quest competition.

Talent Quest is an annual nationwide karaoke contest to name the top karaoke singers in the nation. The contestants first enter a local talent contest held at various small venues across the state. For Floridians, the finalists move up to the regional contest held in Tampa and then the national contest held in Laughlin, Nev.

Mann placed 7th in Tampa and 12th in the nationals.

Article Photos

Pine Island's Bobby Mann performing at Talent Quest finals.


"I've always loved music from the time I was a small boy in southern Indiana," Mann said. "I went to Catholic school and sang in the choir. When I was a teenager I joined a band and when I was 23 or 24 I went to Nashville hoping to start a singing career. But everything's locked down in Nashville and unless you know somebody you can't get in the front door. I started singing karaoke about this time."

Mann drove semi-trucks for 20 years and then went with UPS in Louisville, Ky.

"I was forced to retire on disability with neck issues," Mann said. "I had pain for years and just thought everybody had it. As it turned out, I have degenerative disc, joint disease, Celiac disease, and after seeing the UPS doctor, they wouldn't OK me to go back to work and forced me to retire. I was bedridden for almost a year.

"I came to Florida to be with my college sweetheart about 5 years ago," Mann said. "Back in my college days we were together for about three years and then after college we each went our separate ways. About five years ago we reconnected on Facebook, I moved to Florida, and when we were out in Nevada for the finals we got married."

He went on to explain how he got into singing karaoke.

"It seems like karaoke found me on Pine Island," Mann said. "Loretta at Cap'n Con's was having problems with her karaoke equipment and she would ask me to come up and fix it for her. After four or five times getting her system 'realigned,' I said, 'I could just handle this for you.' So now I'm at Cap'n Con's every Friday and Saturday from 7 to 11 p.m. I'm also at the VFW once a month.

"I grew up with a mix of all kinds of music," Mann added. "Oldies, rock and even rap. I learned to love country when I was driving and now that's what I mostly focus on. After performing at the VFW for awhile, a friend of mine suggested I look into competing in the Talent Quest competition in Tampa. This was the regional competition. They lave local competitions and then the winners go to the regionals and then to the national competition in Laughlin, Nev.

"I self-sponsored because it was in Tampa and wouldn't cost that much."

Singers are judged on three major factors.

1. Vocal performance, Intonation and pitch, strength and range of voice. How accurately does the singer stay in time with the music and their background vocals. Diction and annunciation of the words they are singing (can everyone understand what you are saying). Mic control (are you using the mic properly? Do you adjust placement of the microphone to eliminate distortion and regulate your vocal volume). Breathe Control (are you holding your notes long enough, do you have enough are to finish your notes etc.).

2. Appearance: Judges are looking at everything from, if your outfit matches your song. Are your outfits clean and pressed or ironed. Did you add something to your outfit to sparkle it up. Is your outfit appropriate for all viewing ages.

3. Stage Presence: Facial expression and body gestures. Confidence and relaxation on stage? Command of the audience. Engaging the audience, command of your stage during the performance.

"After I finished 7th in the regional state competition, people at the VFW wanted me to go to the national competition," Mann said. "That's when they did a fund-raiser for me to go. There was also a second group that held a fund-raiser at Cap'n Con's. Between the two I was able to go out to Laughlin, Nev., for the nationals.

"Coming out of the state competition and finishing 7th was a real confidence booster," Mann said. "I felt good about entering the nationals. I've always felt comfortable on stage and would have been happy to finish in the top 20. When I finished 12th place I felt that I accomplished something special for Pine Island.

"I really want to thank everyone on Pine Island, that not only encouraged me, but helped me get to Nevada," Mann said. "I don't think I every would have done something like this without them behind me. I just didn't want to let them down."

"I've heard that America's Got Talent" is going to hold auditions in Tampa on Nov. 2," Mann said. "I think I'll enter that competition just to see what happens."



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