Hope you had a great weekend!
Before I get to the Mandisa interview, Eonline reports that the Idols are now lip-syncing the group sing -at least the chorus parts (not the solos). And Justin Guarini on “Idol Tonight” said most contestants hated doing the group sings. (Duh!)
Mandisa’s new album “Freedom” is out tomorrow. (You can get it here at Amazon.)
She has lost about 80 pounds nine months, working through a lifetime food addiction. “I’ve never been happier in my life,” she said. “I’m doing very well.”
Mandisa, 32, who finished ninth season five, spent the past year doing shows every weekend and recording an album during the rest of the week. “I can’t believe this is my life!” she said. “I can’t believe I do this for living.”
She is a bit unusual because she targets her music to the “contemporary Christian” audience (CCM–soft rock/pop) as opposed to gospel. That means she wants to be heard on 104.7/The Fish, not Praise 102.5. “The people in my market are more rock fans or white men,” she said. Oh, and suburban soccer mom types, too. Her music has an R&B vibe but it also feels pop.
“I don’t think I”m a gospel singer,” she said. “I’m a little more pop in nature. So that leaves it a little more CCM.”
She is still a big fan of “Idol” and watches it religiously. “I can’t believe I was there. I can’t believe I’ve experienced it. It’s something that will never go away. I’m really thankful.” She blogs about the show every Tuesday. Her current favorite: Danny Gokey. “His voice is phenomenal. He’s an excellent performer. They vote for personality. Their story. He’s got it all! He had our hearts. I was rooting for him before he even sang. When he opened his mouth, he got it for me.”
Mandisa has no problems with the fourth judge and the wild card. “I love Kara,” she said. “I think she’s been spot on with her comments. She has some of the compassion Paula brings.” She said she was glad she didn’t have to do the semifinals her season. “You got one shot to make an impression. We didn’t have to be the top 3 [in the semis]. We just didn’t have to be in the bottom two.”
She is not a big fan of Adam Lambert. [This interview was done March 4.] “I know people love him but I couldn’t take him screaming. I get it. He’s got a great range!”
Mandisa enjoyed going to the “American Idol” experience a few weeks ago, meeting up with 25 other “Idol” contestants. From her season, she saw Bucky, Ace and Taylor. She missed the girls (no Lisa, no Paris, no Kellie, no Kat.) “I saw a lot of people I hadn’t seen in a long time and met people I hadn’t seen before. I’m a big fan. I was freaking out. I got to stand next to David Archuleta. It’s going to be a great attraction.”
Mandisa has joined the Women of Faith tour, which is in arenas for up to 10,000 people including Philips Arena August 28-29. “It’s my favorite environment to be with a bunch of women,” she effused. Steven Curtis Chapman will be there, too. And Lisa Whelchel (Blair from “Facts of Life”).
Why she titled the album “Freedom”: “I have been set free from food addiction. I’ve kicked it into high gear. I’ve lost 80 pounds!” In the past, “I’d turn to food for comfort.” She hired a trainer and changed the way she thought about food and what she ate. “I’m free to have the Doritos. But true freedom is knowing I don’t have to. I’m not bound to food anymore.”
She has cut out fast food and desserts (only one dessert a month!). But she doesn’t diet per se. “I focus on fiber, whole grains, salads, fruits and vegetables. I found ways so I can enjoy that.”
Mandisa said she’s gotten compliments for her lost weight but she said her goal wasn’t to be on magazine covers. “I was unhealthy,” she said. “Now I feel I have been set free. I’m now on the road to health. That’s the important thing for me.” On stage shows, “I can dance around a little bit more. I don’t feel as bound anymore.”
Her first single is “My Deliverer.”
“It’s the one song that accurately describes how I feel right now,” Mandisa said. “It’s more than exercise, more than diet. The reason is My Deliverer has set me free. That’s kept me captive. It’s my testimony of all the songs on the album.”