Mandisa Hundley, an American Gospel singer and former American Idol finalist has overcome weight struggles to earn second Grammy nomination for her album, “If We Were Real.”
Hundley, whose stage name is “Mandisa,” is a gospel singer from California. She was a top 10 finalist on the fifth season of American Idol and she appeared on the show The Biggest Loser. In 2011, she released her third studio album, “If We Were Real,” which was nominated for a Grammy award for Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album of the Year. In 2008, she was also nominated for a Grammy in the same category for her first album, “True Beauty.”
Mandisa told the Denver Post that she was doing background vocals for another Gospel artist in Nashville until she saw American Idol one day and thought, “what if.”
After winning a radio contest in Georgia, she became a contestant on the show, where her overweight struggle was noticed by judge, Simon Cowell. He made comments about her weight after her first successful audition and the hurtful words led her to name her first album, “True Beauty” in 2008.
She later confronted Cowell, telling him, “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.”
He immediately apologized to her and told Mandisa he was humbled. Since then, she has lost over 100 pounds and she appeared on the show, “The Biggest Loser” in 2011. Mandisa said that her faith was the most important thing in her losing weight.
“I had dieted before, I had lost weight. My faith taught me about obedience in the Lord, and I want my body to be a temple not a hindrance. And my weight has been a hindrance my whole life,” she told the Denver Post.
She referred to a Bible study called, “Breaking Free,” which helped her break her food addiction.
Mandisa has been influenced by Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey and has enjoyed moderate success with her, “If We Were Real” album. The single, “Stronger,” from the album peaked at number one on June 18, 2011 and the album sold over 50,000 copies. She also released two Christmas albums; “Christmas Joy” in 2007 and “It’s Christmas” in 2008.