New CD, What if We Were Real(Sparrow, 2011)
One of the Top 9 Contestants on Season 5 of American Idol 2006
2008 Dove Award nomination for Female Vocalist of the Year & New Artist of the Year
2008 Grammy nomination for Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album
2010 Grammy nomination for Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album
BA, Music, Fisk University, TN
Mandisa: What if We Were Real
The 700 Club
IF HE STARTED THIS WORK IN YOUR LIFE….”
Mandisa grew up in Citrus Heights, California. As a child, Mandisa was molested and when she was 16, she was raped. Some girls turn to men or drugs to numb the pain. Mandisa turned to food.
“Food made me feel comfortable,” says Mandisa. “As I put on weight, men weren’t looking at me.” Growing up, her weight left her open to ridicule. Once when Mandisa performed with her high school drill team, a classmate joked that she made the whole gym shake. “I still remember that like it was yesterday,” says Mandisa.
Throughout her teenage years, Mandisa’s dad and stepmom took her to church every other weekend and she gave her life to the Lord. After high school, she studied vocal jazz at American River College, then went on to Fisk. She graduated with a BA in Music, with a concentration in vocal performance.
Mandisa was a backup singer for best-selling author and speaker Beth Moore at the time she auditioned for American Idol. After making it as a contestant on the show, Idol judge Simon Cowell commented on her weight. Mandisa was hurt. Mandisa had a chance to tell Simon she forgave him prior to the cut-down of the season’s 24 semi-finalists. He was humbled and apologized immediately. (Mandisa was eliminated in the Top 9.)
Since her appearance on Idol, Mandisa has been working on herself. “I just decided one day to lose weight,” she says. Mandisa says she had been working out 5 days a week and eating lean meats and lots of greens. She stepped on the scale and had gained 1.8 pounds. That was the same day she was going in to record “Stronger” for her new album.
“When I went in to record this album, I wasn’t feeling great about life,” says Mandisa, who had been working on her weight for about two years. “It’s the thorn in my flesh,” she says. Frustrated, Mandisa sent a “tweet” to her Twitter friends. “I’m over it,” she said. Something happened when she started singing in the studio. “There’s a line in the song, If He started this work in your life, He’ll be faithful to complete it. At that moment, my circumstances didn’t change, but my perspective did.”
HITTING THE 100 POUND MARK
By the time she woke up the next day, Mandisa says her Twitter friends had sent her countless messages of support. “I was really amazed at the responses I got,” she says. “I realized I was not the only one struggling in this area.” Several months later, the song was released. On the day it was released, Mandisa happened to step on the scale. She had lost 100 pounds! “I can’t think of a better time to have finally lost 100 pounds,” says Mandisa. The song proclaims that God is able to take us through the difficult times.
Mandisa hired her own personal trainer and has worked diligently at eating a very healthy diet. Mandisa, who is in counseling with a professional, is learning to deal with her emotions. “For a long time, I saw crying as a weakness,” says Mandisa. As Christians we put on our masks and pretend that everything is great. Now Mandisa is free. “I’ve always been trained not to cry,” says Mandisa. “But the best thing to do is feel those emotions and let them out. I also learned to turn to the Lord when I was tempted,” she says. Mandisa has over 23,000 Twitter followers (@mandisaofficial). (Mandisa’s mom attended a Beth Moore event and gave her life to the Lord several years ago.)
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