Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Lifestyles

August 30, 2013

'Tests of fire'

Despite personal challenges, Mandisa’s career moves ahead with release of 4th album this week

ASHLAND — An “America Idol” favorite will take the stage at the Paramount Arts Center today.

Mandisa will perform at 7 p.m. today. Tickets range from $10 to $30.

The 37-year-old California native is promoting her fourth album, “Overcomer,” which draws on the strength it took to conquer some of more challenging experiences.

The title track, written by Ben Glover, Chris Stevens, and David Garcia, is emotional for her because, she said, it reminds her of her friend, Kisha, who fought breast cancer while the was pregnant and survived.

She said she’s in a good place in her life and felt confident about making the album.

“I came in really knowing exactly what I wanted to say,” she said. “The difference with this album is just where I am with the Lord. I’ve never been better. I feel like I’m definitely walking in a new level of freedom, deliverance and intimacy with the Lord. I’m walking with more authority and because all of my albums reflect what He’s doing in my life, that is reflected in this album.”

Mandisa wrote seven of the 12 songs on the new album.

“There are several songs that are just about rejoicing and worshipping the Lord just for who He is, not asking Him for things,” she said. “A lot of my songs in the past were like ‘Lord help me. I need you. I can’t do this without you’ and a lot of the songs on this album are like ‘God you’re great! I trust you. I believe you. I’m walking out my faith just because you’re good’ so I have three songs that are just purely worship songs, all about just wanting to love the Lord because of how He loves me — ‘Back To You,’ ‘At All Times’ and ‘Joy Unspeakable.’ Those songs are purely worship just because of who He is.”

Born Mandisa Lynn Hundley, she graduated from Nashville’s Fisk University, where she performed as part of the Fisk Jubilee Singers, but gained national acclaim when she placed ninth on the fifth season of “American Idol.”

After her appearance on the talent show, Mandisa signed a recording deal with Sparrow Records and released her debut album, “True Beauty,” in 2007, for which she earned the first of three Grammy nominations. She also has released “It’s Christmas” in 2008, “Freedom” in 2009 and “What If We Were Real” in 2011.

“My faith certainly went through some tests of fire, but it’s stronger because of that and it’s also made me want to know more about it and how to articulate it,” she said.

“I think I came out of that whole experience (American Idol) 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."

LEE WARD can be reached at lward@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2661.

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