It hit number one on the Billboard Christian album chart, marking her second number one album and her fourth album to crack the top five on that chart.
It went on to earn a Grammy Award, making Mandisa just the fifth former Idol contestant to do so.
But soon after, Mandisa fell into a deep depression that had nothing to do with music or her past success.
She had a pregnant friend who was battling cancer. Mandisa prayed that the friend’s child be born healthy. And he was.
But she also prayed for the friend to overcome cancer. She expected God to answer those prayers as well.
A year after her son was born, the friend passed away.
“That was just not the way I thought the story was going to end,” Mandisa said in a recent podcast interview. “It shook the foundations underneath me in a way I did not expect. The result is that I was angry at God.”
So she stopped going to church, reading the Bible or listening to Christian music. She holed up in her home for the better part of three years. She gained back 125 pounds she had lost and gained another 75 on top of that.
Then she finally left her home to go to the movies.
When she came out of the theater, her car was covered with sticky notes from friends who were concerned about her. So concerned, they launched an intervention right there in the parking lot.
Mandisa says she wasn’t happy about it at the time, but now realizes it marked a turning point in her return from the dark place she’d decided to live.
Now she’s released a new album called, appropriately enough “Out of the Dark.” The songs are filled with messages of hope.
She’s also back on top of the charts. “Out of the Dark” debuted at number one on the Billboard Christian albums chart; it’s now number three.
And the lead single “Unfinished” has been on the chart 13 weeks. It’s now sitting at its peak position so far, number eight.
Another turning point in Mandisa’s path out of the dark came when her brother, John, was saved. That’s something she’d been praying for for decades. In fact, she wrote a song about it on “Overcomer.”
In July of 2016, when she was still in a depression, her brother called and said he was ready.
“I led my brother to the Lord, while in a deep pit of despair,” Mandisa says in that enlightening podcast. It led her to think “Oh, God, you do hear my prayers … Maybe your are listening to me.”
And it became a song too, called “Good News.”
Good news for folks who’d like to hear Mandisa’s new music live — she’s planning an Out of the Dark tour, which will also featured two other former American Idol contestants, Danny Gokey and Jasmine Murray. You can head to her Facebook page to recommend tour stops.
Here’s one of my favorite tracks from Mandisa’s new album.