BGEA: Many people know you from American Idol a few seasons back. Describe what your life has been like since you left the big stage.
Mandisa: The second I got off the American idol tour, first thing I did was wrote my book, Idol Eyes: My New Perspective on Faith, Fat & Fame. Then I recorded my first album, True Beauty. I’ve been traveling and performing all types of venues. The good thing about having been on American Idol is that I can come to places, like baseball games, and sing Christian music that I wouldn’t have had the chance to sing otherwise. I recorded a Christmas EP, Christmas Joy, along with a Christmas album, It’s Christmas. My latest recording project is my album Freedom, released earlier this year. Most recently, I have been singing at Women of Faith conferences. Women are my core audiences, and I am with Women of Faith almost every weekend.
BGEA: Speaking of “freedom,” you have been very open about the stronghold food has had on your life and how you are in the process of being released from your food addiction. Can you tell us about that?
Mandisa: Well, I was due for a second album and had a writers meeting. The songs I was drawn to circled around the freedom and deliverance theme. So, it was determined that the name of the album would be Freedom. As I was recording these songs, I was living through difficult process of finding freedom. So, I’m pretty much singing these songs to myself! These songs take on different meaning now that I see what He’s doing in my life.
BGEA: You will be performing at An Evening at the Cove later this month. Will you be singing a lot of these songs?
Mandisa: Yes. The audience will hear favorites from both albums. And, I always like to throw some worship songs into the set. I love to do worship songs. They don’t have to be “my” songs; I just want to put the focus on Who is really important.
BGEA: What messages do you most want to resonate with your audiences?
Mandisa: No matter what has you bound – food, alcohol, drugs, sex, whatever – even though it seems like it is overpowering you and it seems like you will never be set free, we have a big God. We think there are limits to His power. We see Him setting everyone else free, but don’t think He will do it for us. We question whether He wants to or if He will. I do know one thing: it is always His will for us to be set free.
BGEA: One last question: besides Jesus Christ Himself, who has had the most impact on you, spiritually speaking?
Mandisa: Beth Moore. I did her Breaking Free study when I was in college. I started working at LifeWay and got acquainted with the rest of her studies. Then, I had the privilege of singing and traveling with her worship team for five years, hearing rich Bible teaching weekend after weekend. It prepared me for where I am today, especially since a big part of her ministry is setting the captives free. I know it’s not a coincidence He had me sitting under her ministry for so long. I’m still applying lessons today that I learned so long ago from her.
Visit The Cove’s Web site to learn more about Mandisa’s Evening at the Cove. Better yet, plan on staying overnight and the following weekend for Voddie Baucham’s seminar, Living in Turbulent Times.
To learn more about Mandisa, her music and her ministry, visit her Web site.