Mirroring the origins of his wife and professional partner Tamela Mann (who often appeared opposite him in musical and dramatic contexts), David Mann grew up in the Bible Belt, with a childhood and adolescence spent in the Texas heartlands. The product of a strict, disciplinary Pentecostal home, David began singing in the church choir at an early age and later joined then nascent gospel ensemble Kirk Franklin and the Family, where he both obtained stardom as a recording artist (thanks in no small part to the group's eponymous multiplatinum debut) and met future wife Tamela.
Mann gravitated to acting around the age of 15, initially via comedic roles in high school productions and community theater. He later embarked on a professional acting tenure, first with a popular turn as the gangster Forty Ounce in David E. Talbert's play He Say? She Say? But What Does God Say? (subsequently adapted for television on UPN) and then via a series of stage and screen collaborations with popular African American playwright turned writer/director Tyler Perry, in whose films David and Tamela often costarred. Their efforts together include the 2008 Tyler Perry's Meet the Browns and the 2009 Tyler Perry's Madea Goes to Jail.