Mandisa Lynn Hundley (born October 2, 1976), professionally known as Mandisa, is a Grammy and Dove Award-nominated American singer and was the ninth-place finalist in the fifth season (2006) of American Idol.
Born Mandisa Lynn Hundley on October 2, 1976, she grew up in Citrus Heights, California area. After graduating from high school, she attended American River College in Sacramento where she studied Vocal Jazz. Then she studied at Fisk University in Tennessee and graduated with a bachelor's of music degree with a concentration in vocal performance.
She auditioned for the United States reality/talent show American Idol in Chicago. She referred to herself as "just Mandisa", and was billed simply as Mandisa, without a last name. She was a backup singer for famed Christian author and speaker Beth Moore. She has stated her musical influences run the gamut from Whitney Houston to Def Leppard.
Idol judge Simon Cowell made several comments about Mandisa's weight during her audition. When he first saw her, he quipped are we "going to have a bigger stage this year." Later, when Paula Abdul commented that Mandisa had a "Frenchie" growl to her voice, Cowell responded that a more apt comparison would be to France itself. These were among comments that drew the ire of the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance, and would be one of the reasons Mandisa would entitle her 2007 album True Beauty.
When Mandisa presented herself to the judges prior to the final cut-down to the season's 24 semi-finalists, she told Cowell: "what I want to say to you is that, yes, you hurt me and I cried and it was painful, it really was. But I want you to know that I've forgiven you and that you don't need someone to apologize in order to forgive somebody. I figure that if Jesus could die so that all of my wrongs could be forgiven, I can certainly extend that same grace to you." Cowell told Mandisa that he was "humbled" and apologized to her immediately.
On the March 7, 2006 Idol show, she stated in her pre-performance video that she sucked her thumb until she was 24 years old. She performed a rendition of Chaka Khan's "I'm Every Woman" which drew praise from all three judges. She was among the 12 contestants chosen on March 9, 2006, as a finalist in Idol's fifth season.
During "Stevie Wonder Week" of the show Mandisa performed "Don't You Worry 'Bout a Thing". Randy commented that her performance wasn't as great as her rendition of "I'm Every Woman", but he said she was the best so far. Paula said Mandisa can sing anything. Simon said she was the best so far.
On "1950's Week" Mandisa sang the 1954 classic "I Don't Hurt Anymore"; the judges praised her performance.
Mandisa was eliminated from American Idol on April 5, 2006, in the Top 9, having never previously been in the Bottom 3 (she was there with Paris Bennett and Elliott Yamin, neither of whom had been in the bottom 3 either). Mandisa revealed that, when the first group of Taylor Hicks, Kellie Pickler and Chris Daughtry was sent back to safety, and Mandisa, Elliott and Paris were on the stage on one side and the other group of Ace Young, Katharine McPhee and Bucky Covington on the other side, she told Paris and Elliott that it was most likely their own group in the bottom three, as she remembered how the same thing had happened in American Idol (season 3), when the three divas landed in the bottom three, and was sure that it would probably be a "shocker" like that one as Ace, Katharine and Bucky had all been in the bottom three earlier. She, like most eliminated contestants, appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno one day later.
Mandisa performed the song "I Don't Hurt Anymore" at the TV talk show, Live with Regis and Kelly. Mandisa sang with Gladys Knight at the Apollo Theater in Harlem and collaborated with tobyMac and Kirk Franklin on tobyMac's recent album, Portable Sounds.
Her book IdolEyes (with Angela Elwell Hunt) was published by Tyndale House in May 2007. She performed on American Idol Extra with her song "True Beauty". There is a line in the performance that ran, "You can keep all your red high heels and your open toed shoes; I'm good in my barefeet." This line likely refers to Mandisa's belief that she does not need to dress provocatively or appear half-dressed, like many of today's female performers, to be a singer or sell albums. Some viewed the line as a playful reference to fellow American Idol Season Five finalists darby Pickler and Katharine McPhee, who recorded songs titled "Red High Heels" and "Open Toes," respectively, for their debut albums.
Mandisa's first full-length album True Beauty was released on July 31, 2007. She released her first single, "Only the World," on May 22, 2007. The song had a successful debut on the Billboard Hot Singles Sales chart, which tracks commercial single sales, debuting at #2 and reached #1 the following week. It is also getting major airplay on Christian radio stations. The track is available for purchase on ITunes along with the album track "True Beauty". Written by Matthew West, Sam Mizell and Clint Lagerberg, "Only The World" captures Mandisa’s joyful spirit well. “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. West would go on to co-write three of the songs on True Beauty, as well as Mandisa's highest-ranking single to date, "Christmas Makes Me Cry".
True Beauty debuted at #1 on the Top Christian Albums charts, making it the first time a new female artist has debuted at #1 in the charts 27 year history. It also debuted at #43 on the Billboard 200, an unusually high debut on that chart for a Christian artist. She also garnered a Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album nomination for True Beauty in December of the same year. Showcasing Mandisa’s stylistic range was the task set before the five sets of producers who lined up to work with her on the album—top-notch names like Shaun Shankel (Beyoncé, Natalie Grant); Brown Bannister (Amy Grant); Christopher Stevens (TobyMac); Drew Ramsey and Shannon Sanders (India.Arie, Johnny Lang); and Double Dutch, the team of Robert Marvin and Josiah Bell (Matt Kearney, Matt Redman). Mandisa also spent personal time with the album’s writers before the songwriting process began, sharing her vision for the project and what she hoped to communicate through the songs. The end result is a seamless flow of tracks that create a diverse landscape for messages of hope, inspiration and faith.
Mandisa's cover of "Shackles" features a horn section provided by LiveHorns.com with Tommy Vaughan on trumpet, Rodney Mills on trombone, and Shane Philen on sax. They also appear on Mandisa's performance of "The Right Thing" on the VeggieTales soundtrack for The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything.
Her second single "God Speaking" was released to Christian radio in October 2007. A third single, "Voice of a Savior," written by West, was serviced to Inspo radio in mid-2008, where it peaked in the Top 5 of Radio and Records' Soft AC/Inspo chart.
In November 2007, Mandisa released a holiday EP, Christmas Joy EP, which features the song "Christmas Makes Me Cry", a duet with frequent collaborator Matthew West. Earlier that year, Mandisa also recorded "Christmas Day," a duet with Christian recording legend Michael W. Smith. "Christmas Makes Me Cry" peaked at #2 on Billboard's Hot Christian AC chart, stopped from reaching #1 by her duet with Smith,"Christmas Day." It was the first time in the history of the Christian singles chart that a solo female artist was featured on the top two singles at the same time.
On October 14, 2008, Mandisa released a full-length Christmas album, It's Christmas. All songs from the Christmas Joy EP were featured on It's Christmas, as well as several new tracks.
Her second album, Freedom was released on March 24, 2009.
There have also been reports that Mandisa will be releasing "We Are Family" which is a Bonus Track on Napster on April 14, 2009.
Mandisa currently resides in the suburban Nashville community of Antioch, Tennessee. Since her appearance on American Idol in 2006, Mandisa has made efforts toward health and weight loss. The title of her second album, Freedom, was inspired by her experience of overcoming an "addiction" to food. As of March 2009, she has reportedly lost 75 pounds and hopes to lose a total of 100 or more.
Artist descriptions on Wayango are editable by members. Feel free to contribute! All user-contributed content on this page is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.
rate this artist