A Californian gospel singer with a powerful, smouldering voice and a beaming outlook, Mandisa found fame as a contestant on 'American Idol' in 2006 before winning a Grammy Award for her album 'Overcomer' in 2014. Raised in Sacramento, California, USA, she suffered abuse as a child but had a natural love and talent for singing Whitney Houston and Chaka Khan songs and later found support and solace in the church. She graduated from Fisk University in Tennessee with a degree in music and sailed through the auditions for 'American Idol' with a stunning rendition of Alicia's Keys' 'Fallin''. However, when the show was aired, it featured Simon Cowell making jokes about her weight. When they next came face-to-face sparks were expected to fly, but instead Mandisa kept her cool and forgave Cowell, going on to finish fifth in the competition. After the show ended she performed with Gladys Knight, tobyMac and Kirk Franklin, before her debut 'True Beauty' topped the Christian Album Charts in 2007, including her cover of Mary Mary's hit 'Shackles (Praise You)'. The following releases 'Freedom' and 'What If We Were Real' established her as a well-respected praise singer, but her biggest success came when 'Overcomer' made the US top 30 and won the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Christian Music Album in 2014. Her ongoing struggles with her weight and depression led to time out of the spotlight, but she made a welcome return with 'Out of the Dark' in 2017.

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