Thousands go but, only a few are called â a phrase that truthfully applies to American Idol alum Mandisa who says it was God who allowed her to make it through American Idol despite being embarrassed in front of millions when judge Simon Cowell expressed his disdain at the singer’s weight. Moving forward in 2009, Mandisa is charting new territory with the recently released album “Freedom” and an empowering outlook she hopes to share with women worldwide.
Chatting with Singersroom’s Njai Joszor, Mandisa shared not just the story behind the music presented on “Freedom” and her American Idol run but, the reason for choosing to record Christian/Inspirational music instead of taking the R&B route like American Idol contemporaries Fantasia and Jennifer Hudson.
Singersroom: “Freedom” is due for release this month, when you sat down to plot out the album what was going through your mind ?
Mandisa: I have for years struggled with my weight and I knew putting this album together that God was calling me to deal with it once and for all. I knew I couldn’t sit up and tell everybody else and still be bound by what’s been a lifelong addiction for me to food.
So, I don’t think I set out to necessarily make this album about being set free. It just so happens that the songs I was being drawn to and writing were all dealing with freedom, deliverance and victory. It is reflective of what God’s been doing in my life.
Singersroom: That is beautiful. Now you made the decision after American Idol to take a more Christian/inspirational route, Why did you choose to go in that direction instead of trying out R&B/soul ?
Mandisa: I remembered seeing Randy Jackson from American Idol on Larry King Live and he was talking to Taylor Hicks and Katherine McPhee who won first and second place on my season of Idol. What he said to them was do the music that comes most natural for you.
While I grew up on Chaka Khan, Whitney Houston and Aretha Franklin, that is the sound that comes most natural for me but the word that comes most naturally for me is encouraging people that are believers in the body of Christ and also just bringing glory to god.
I knew that by going in to Christian music that I could still have some of the soul sound that I grew up on but also make the music about the most important person in my life and that’s Jesus!
Singersroom: Now out of all the songs that you recorded for Freedom, is there a song that you feel is the most inspirational or relatable to today?
Mandisa: I would call “Definition of Me” one of my favorites. It kind of takes on the theme of my last album which was “True Beauty” and it’s basically saying that I’m not going to be defined by my outward appearance. It says that I’m going to find that finish and that value in my worth and what’s going on in the inside trying to being the person that God has called me to be.
Singersroom: I respect that selection. Now “Leave It In The Valley” is a song that stood out to me simply because it is relatable in ways to our economic situation right now. Tell me about that record?
Mandisa: It is a song of encouragement for people. The main theme is God setting you free from anything that’s holding you captive. Secondly it would be the whole message of God being with you no matter what you’re going through. I just think that’s a very timely message these days. I think there’s a lot of people struggling in areas with our economy. A lot of people are pressured. I think that song is an encouragement that: no matter what you’re going through that we are in a relationship with a God that says he will take all of our burdens on him and in turn he will give us a likeness that comes from a relationship with him.
Singersroom: Great. You have a tour going on called “Women of Faith” with Sandi Patti and spoken word from industry greats like Steven Curtis Chapman… how has that experience been thus far ?
Mandisa: Yeah. And Lisa Whelchel who was Blair on “The Facts of Life.” Did you watch that show Njai?
Singersroom: Honestlyâ¦no. I believe that was before my time.
Mandisa: You didn’t aw…That show was a staple of my childhood. The fact that I’m on tour with her is pretty amazing. It’s been a great time because I think especially in this day and age with so much going on the world people just need a little “pick me up.” I feel like “Women of Faith” does that.
There are so many stories. You are laughing one minute till your stomach hurts and the next you are weeping or you feel like you cannot cry another tear. And I feel like God meets every single person at their deepest need. He certainly has been doing that for me and I’m on the platform.
I just think that if your kind of in a rut and you just need to hear some encouragement or hear God speaking to your situation I could not more highly recommend attending Women of Faith. It is definitely that and more.
Singersroom: That sounds great. Now that runs through this summer?
Mandisa: We’ve got them every weekend for the most part. It’s actually going through December now. You can visit Womenoffaith.com or mandisaofficial.com has the one’s that I’m at.
Singersroom: Great. I definitely appreciate you taking the time to speak with us at Singersroom.
Mandisa: Thank you. I appreciate it.
—— By: Interview By Njai Joszor