Mandisa to release Freedom
Mandisa is speaking truth and encouragement to women worldwide about the freedom she has experienced through her faith and incredible 70+ weight loss in her upcoming album "Freedom," releasing March 24.
Since American Idol, and her debut CD and book, "Idol Eyes: My Perspective on Faith, Fat and Fame," Mandisa has realized how much that experience and everything she learned from it has given her a platform to reach out to others through her music. With her new project, she moves into an even deeper understanding of who she is now and what she wants to communicate.
"These songs are true to me; they're songs I identify with," she says. "I can't wait to start singing them because they reflect my story, the things I've been through and the things I'm still going through now. Each one means something special to me."
Release date: 03/24/09
Single: My Deliverer
Buy at: Amazon
It's hard to believe that it's been just a couple of years since Mandisa shot to instant fame when millions of TV viewers across the nation were captivated by her winning smile and powerhouse vocals as she sang her way into the final rounds of “American Idol's” fifth season. Today Mandisa is a Grammy and Dove award nominee who garnered a multitude of new fans who now simply refer to her as “Mandisa,” and wowed critics with her stunningly expressive voice.
"Mandisa is powerful and has tremendous breath and pitch control, and there's no reason that woman should be working as anything other than a singer," Daily Variety associate editor Phil Gallo told USA Today after watching Mandisa's performances on “Idol.”
Entertainment Weekly also chimed in with praise (“It's all about Mandisa!”), claiming Mandisa turned “American Idol” into a one-woman show. “Following her powerful performance of Chaka Khan's soulful classic ‘I'm Every Woman,'” EW raved, ”if you weren't doing a little bit of couch dancing when 'Disa! cut loose on the piping hot arrangement, then you'd better check the cushions for your soul.”
It was with the release of her debut album, True Beauty, that Mandisa fans finally got what they'd been waiting for: a full-length project that, to no one's surprise, packs a pretty powerful punch. A collection of funky rhythms, gospel-tinged melodies and pure pop power ballads, True Beauty reflects a versatility that few vocalists possess, and Mandisa delivers the goods with an unaffected ease. It became Sparrow Record's highest chart entry for a new artist in the company's 31 year history entering at No. 1 on SoundScan's Christian/Gospel and itunes Christian/Gospel charts, continuing to prove that you don't have to win American Idol to be a winner. This ‘Idol' alum's chart entry also marked the first debut album by a female solo artist to open at No. 1 since this chart converted to Nielson SoundScan back in 1995, as well as making Mandisa the only female solo artist to land at No. 1 on the Top Christian Albums chart with a debut album in the 27 years since Billboard began tracking Christian album sales in March 1980.
“Only the World”, the album's funky, energetic first single, landed her at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Singles Chart for five consecutive weeks as well as shot to the top of Christian radio charts. It captures Mandisa's joyful spirit with the message that our life here on earth is temporary. “We all have difficult days we wish we didn't have to go through, but it gives you so much peace and joy when you realize that it's only the world we're living in, and one day we're going to go to a much better place,” she says of the song's theme. “This song makes me want to roll down the window, turn up the volume, throw my hands up and release my cares!”
The desire to live free of society's expectations sits at the heart of the messages interwoven throughout True Beauty. Issues of self-esteem and self-worth are front-and-center among those that most young women struggle with today, and Mandisa admits she is no different. “My struggle with my weight has been the biggest struggle of my life. Rather than turning to alcohol or drugs when I was going through emotional times, I turned to food. As a result, I've become unhealthy—and it's a day-to-day process to overcome.
It is this very message of breaking free from strongholds that permeates Mandisa's follow-up album Freedom. “God has been taking me through a refining process that has been painful at times, but necessary for my deliverance. The journey is difficult but the final destination is worth it. Now as I sing the familiar words of ‘Shackles' that says ‘God has broken every chain', I can really claim it because I'm seeing Him do it!” Look for Freedom March 24, 2009.
In the meantime you can ring in the holidays with Mandisa's full-length Christmas album available now. Building on her 4 song Christmas Joy EP last year, It's Christmas is a stunning seasonal collection of original songs (featuring Matthew West and Michael W. Smith), traditional favorites (such as “Feliz Navidad” and “Silver Bells”), and sacred classics (such as “Silent Night” and “Angels We Have Heard on High”). Produced by Brown Bannister, a veteran of Christmas music who has helmed some of the best-selling holiday recordings of all time, the album has all the elements of a classic-in-the-making.
“Brown is a Christmas king,” Mandisa says. “I don't think there's anybody better to produce Christmas albums. He has a special touch. To do It's Christmas with him was a dream come true. He's made me become a better artist; he's helped me to find my voice, to find who I am.”
Since becoming a household name, many doors have opened for Mandisa. She joined musical legend Gladys Knight and other performers such as Lalah Hathaway, Shirley Murdock and The Boys Choir of Harlem on stage at Harlem's historic Apollo Theater at the First Annual Benefit Gala “Back to Harlem,” sponsored by the Ashley Stewart Stores Community Foundation. The premiere event raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for three outstanding charities: the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, Dress for Success and The Boys Choir of Harlem. Mandisa also signed on to be a spokesmodel for Ashley Stewart Stores, the trend-setting fashion retailer that outfitted a number of her performances on “American Idol.”
She has also become a top-selling author of her memoir Idoleyes: My New Perspective on Faith, Fat, and Fame. By candidly sharing her own joys, heartaches, triumphs, and failures, Mandisa shows women that they can be beautiful at any size and that healthy self-esteem and personal beauty come only when they accept themselves as a unique and much-loved woman of God's creation. Mandisa also gives readers a very candid, behind-the-scenes look at life as an "American Idol" contestant.
Her faith plays a major role in her life, a role that was evident to Mandisa's fellow ‘Idol' contestants, the judges and viewers. And even though it didn't always come with positive results, Mandisa never shied away from being true to herself.
“My faith certainly went through some tests of fire,” she shares, “but it's stronger because of that and it's also made me want to know more about it and how to articulate it. I think I came out of that whole experience understanding Jesus better. I'd been a little sheltered in Christian circles for a while and it helped me realize the kind of impact that Christians can make when they actually step out of their boxes and get involved in the world around them. More than just a career, I really want to have a ministry that has an impact on people. I just want to follow through with what is in my heart. I never want to look back and wonder, ‘What would have happened if...'”
"Freedom" by Mandisa - release date: 03/24/09..