Spend five minutes with Mandisa and one thing becomes crystal clear—she is utterly incapable of taking a bad picture. The smile, the hair, the eyes (not that I’m jealous!)…plus her svelte figure, resulting from over 100 pound weight loss, all of which were fully on display during our CCM cover shoot with Mandisa and her close friend, practically a sister, Laura Story.

But with Mandisa, it’s not the external that draws the attention of everyone around her; it’s a joy that is so alive, deep and bubbling over that captivates people. But if you ask her, it’s the love of her Savior, Redeemer, Healer, Father, Overcomer, that in every sense of the word steals the show.


CCM: You and Laura goof around like kids! Which is particularly funny because I don’t know if I’ve ever seen two women more different from each other! Tell us about how you two met and became such great friends.


Mandisa: Laura and I started touring together two years ago. It was an instant friendship. ‘Glam and granola, bling and Birkenstocks!’ The body of Christ is called to unity. Not uniformity. When I heard about the chance to do the photo shoot with her, I was so excited!


CCM: I don’t think that’s the only thing making your so happy right now. You seem to have an effervescent love of life…like you’re living from a place of joy.


Mandisa: I am! I’ve never felt closer to the Lord or been in a more secure place. I’m in a place of contentment and am enjoying my life. I’m also enjoying the benefits of being single.


CCM: It’s amazing to see your transformation over the years—physically and spritiually. You’ve lost over a hundred pounds,, your music career couldn’t be hotter…and you’re an inspiration to so many including Robin Roberts! What is it like to be a part of her journey and that of so many others?


Mandisa: My journey of weight loss has been very publicized. It’s not because I’ve made it, but because I get up everyday and choose to fight. I was a friendship with Robin Roberts and gave her a copy of my What If We Were Real album. She ended up asking me to sing ‘Stronger’ on the day she returned to Good Morning America following her cancer treatment. I have another friend who was pregnant and battling breast cancer. Both women and faced such battles. But they’re all fighting. They are overcomers. Everyone is if they have Jesus.


CCM: On that note, the album is amazing and so inspiring! How did you go about finding the songs for this project?


Mandisa: For every album, we hold a writer’s breakfast and I prepare a word document with different song ideas and give those to the writers. I share my heart. I’m so analytical! Administration is one of my spiritual gifts!


CCM: I’ve never heard another artist do something like that but it follows suit. You’ve got such a unique story anyway. How did you begin this wild ride you’re on now?


Mandisa: I became a Christian when I was 16 and joined my first church at 18. I studied music at Fisk University and graduated with a degree in vocal performance. But most of my training has come from listening to Christian music. Coming from American Idol, I’ve made no qualms about the fact that I’m a Christian artist. The last two and a half years God has pumped up my life in the best way possible. I’m learning and I’m enjoying being with Him. That’s enough for me.



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