Mandisa Biography: Age, Height, Education, Personal Life, Husband, Family, Career, America Idol, Awards and Nomination, Cause Of Death 2024

Mandisa Biography: Age, Height, Education, Personal Life, Husband, Family, Career, America Idol, Awards and Nomination, Cause Of Death 2024
Written by Ask AllBioHub

Mandisa Lynn Hundley, also known as Mandisa, was an American gospel and contemporary Christian recording artist.

Born on October 2, 1976, she gained recognition as a contestant on the fifth season of American Idol, finishing in ninth place.

Her album Overcomer secured a Grammy win in the Best Contemporary Christian Music Album category, making her the fifth American Idol alum to achieve this honor.

Read Also: Vontae Davis Biography 2024: Age, Net Worth, Family, Relationship, Height, Education, Personal Life, Career and Cause Of Death

Background information
Birth name Mandisa Lynn Hundley
Born October 2, 1976
Citrus Heights, California, U.S.
Died April 18, 2024 (aged 47)
Franklin, Tennessee, U.S.
  • CCM
  • gospel
  • R&B
Years active 2004–2024
  • EMI
  • Sparrow

Early Life

Mandisa Hundley, born on October 2, 1976, in Citrus Heights, California, and raised there as well, embarked on her musical journey after completing her education.

Having graduated from El Camino Fundamental High School, she pursued her passion for vocal jazz by enrolling at American River College in Sacramento.

Later, she transferred to Fisk University in Tennessee to further enhance her vocal performance skills, ultimately earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in music.

Prior to launching her successful solo career, Mandisa gained valuable experience as a backup singer for renowned artists like Sandi Patty, Shania Twain, and Trisha Yearwood during recording sessions.

As An American Idol

In 2005, Mandisa auditioned in Chicago for the American Idol talent competition television show.

Despite introducing herself as “just Mandisa”, she was later billed on the show simply as “Mandisa”.

When discussing her musical influences with the show’s producers, she mentioned a wide range from Whitney Houston to Def Leppard.

During her successful audition, Idol judge Simon Cowell made remarks about Mandisa’s weight, jokingly asking if they needed a bigger stage that year.

When Paula Abdul commented on Mandisa’s voice having a “Frenchie” growl, Cowell suggested that a comparison to France itself would be more fitting.

These comments, among others, sparked criticism from the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance (NAAFA) and influenced Mandisa’s decision to title her 2007 album True Beauty.

Prior to the final cut-down to the season’s 24 semi-finalists, Mandisa addressed Cowell directly, expressing how his words had hurt her but that she had forgiven him without needing an apology.

She extended grace to him, drawing a parallel to Jesus’ forgiveness of all wrongs. Cowell promptly apologized, admitting that he was “humbled” by her words.

During the March 7, 2006, episode of Idol show, Mandisa revealed in her pre-performance video that she had a habit of sucking her thumb until the age of 24.

Her rendition of Chaka Khan’s “I’m Every Woman” received high praise from all three judges.

On March 9, 2006, she was selected as one of the 12 finalists in the fifth season of Idol.

Unfortunately, Mandisa’s journey on American Idol came to an end on April 5, 2006, when she was eliminated in the top nine.

Surprisingly, this was her first time being in the bottom three, unlike her fellow contestants Paris Bennett and Elliott Yamin.

Following her elimination, like many other contestants, she made an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno the following day.


Week Theme Song Order Result
Audition Free Choice “Fallin'” N/A Advanced
Hollywood Group Performance “Band of Gold” N/A Advanced
Top 24 (12 Women) Free Choice “Never” 1 Safe
Top 20 (10 Women) Free Choice “Cry” 10 Safe
Top 16 (8 Women) Free Choice “I’m Every Woman” 7 Safe
Top 12 Songs of Stevie Wonder “Don’t You Worry ’bout a Thing” 4 Safe
Top 11 Hits of the 1950s “I Don’t Hurt Anymore” 1 Safe
Top 10 21st Century Hits “Shackles (Praise You)” 5 Safe
Top 9 Country Music “Any Man of Mine” 2 Eliminated

Music Career

On July 27, 2007, Mandisa performed the song “I Don’t Hurt Anymore” on the TV talk show Live with Regis and Kelly after being eliminated from American Idol.

She also participated in the benefit concert “Back to Harlem” at the Apollo Theater alongside Gladys Knight and others to raise funds for various charities.

Mandisa collaborated with Kirk Franklin on tobyMac’s song “Lose My Soul” from his album Portable Sounds (2007).

Mandisa’s debut full-length album True Beauty was released on July 31, 2007.

The album made history by debuting at No. 1 on the Top Christian Albums charts, marking the first time a new female artist achieved this in the chart’s 27-year history.

Additionally, it debuted at No. 43 on the Billboard 200, a notable achievement for a Christian artist. The album received a nomination for Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album.

The production of True Beauty showcased Mandisa’s versatility, with five sets of producers working on the album.

Mandisa collaborated closely with the album’s writers to convey her vision and message through the songs.

Her first single, “Only the World,” was released on May 22, 2007, and quickly gained success on the Billboard Hot Singles Sales chart, debuting at No. 2 and reaching No. 1 the following week.

The song, written by Matthew West, Sam Mizell, and Clint Lagerberg, received significant airplay on Christian radio stations.

Mandisa collaborated with for her cover of “Shackles,” where Tommy Vaughan played the trumpet, Rodney Mills played the trombone, and Shane Philen played the saxophone.

These musicians also contributed to Mandisa’s performance of “The Right Thing” on the VeggieTales soundtrack for The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything.

In October 2007, Mandisa released her second single, “God Speaking,” to Christian radio.

Following that, she released a third single called “Voice of a Savior,” written by West, which gained popularity on Inspo radio and reached the Top 5 of Radio and Records’ Soft AC/Inspo chart in mid-2008.

During the holiday season of 2007, Mandisa released a Christmas EP called Christmas Joy EP.

This EP included the song “Christmas Makes Me Cry,” a duet with Matthew West. Additionally, she recorded a duet with Michael W. Smith called “Christmas Day.”

The EP performed well on Billboard’s Hot Christian AC chart, reaching No. 2, with her duet with Smith, “Christmas Day,” preventing it from reaching No. 1.

This marked the first time in the history of the Christian singles chart that a solo female artist had two singles in the top two positions simultaneously.

On October 14, 2008, Mandisa released a full-length Christmas album titled It’s Christmas.

Her album Freedom was released on March 24, 2009.

There were also reports that Mandisa would release a bonus track called “We Are Family” on Napster on April 14, 2009.

This song was briefly available on as an addition to the album Freedom, labeled as “Freedom + Bonus Track.” It debuted at No. 83 on the Billboard 200 chart.

Mandisa was honored with the Best Contemporary Christian Music Album award for Overcomer at the 56th Grammy Awards.

The title track of the album also received the Best Contemporary Christian Music Song award for songwriters David Garcia, Ben Glover, and Christopher Stevens.

Despite her success, Mandisa chose not to attend the Grammy Awards, citing her struggles with worldly temptations.

Her fifth and final album, Out of the Dark, was released on May 19, 2017, featuring the lead single “Unfinished” which peaked at No. 8 on the Billboard Hot Christian Songs Chart.

Additionally, a collection of her top hits, Overcomer: The Greatest Hits, was released in February 2020.

Personal Life

Mandisa resided in Franklin, Tennessee, a suburban community in Nashville.

Following her participation in American Idol in 2006, she dedicated herself to improving her health by focusing on weight loss.

Her second album, Freedom, drew inspiration from her triumph over what she described as a food addiction.

By March 2009, she had successfully shed 75 pounds, and by February 2011, she achieved her goal of losing 100 pounds.

However, in 2014, Mandisa faced a devastating loss when a close friend succumbed to breast cancer.

This tragedy caused her to regain much of the weight she had previously lost and plunged her into a state of depression, anxiety, and even thoughts of suicide.

Feeling betrayed by God and overwhelmed by grief, she withdrew from the public eye.

In May 2017, Mandisa made a courageous return to the spotlight.

She openly discussed her battle with depression, appearing on podcasts and penning a memoir titled “Out of the Dark: My Journey Through the Shadows to Find God’s Joy”.

This memoir marked her first album release in three years when it debuted in 2017.


On April 18, 2024, Mandisa was found dead at her home in Franklin, Tennessee, at the age of 47. The Franklin Police Department announced the following day that they had opened an investigation into her cause of death.


Studio albums

  • 2007: True Beauty
  • 2008: It’s Christmas
  • 2009: Freedom
  • 2011: What If We Were Real
  • 2013: Overcomer
  • 2017: Out of the Dark

Awards and nominationsedit

Grammy Awards

Grammy Awards
Year Category Work Result
2008 Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album True Beauty Nominated
2010 Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album Freedom Nominated
2012 Best Contemporary Christian Music Album What If We Were Real Nominated
2014 Best Contemporary Christian Music Album Overcomer Won
Best Gospel/Contemporary Christian Music Performance “Overcomer” Nominated

GMA Dove Awards

Dove Awards
Year Category Nominee / Work Result
2008 New Artist of the Year Mandisa Nominated
Female Vocalist of the Year Mandisa Nominated
2009 Female Vocalist of the Year Mandisa Nominated
2010 Female Vocalist of the Year Mandisa Nominated
Pop/Contemporary Recorded Song of the Year “My Deliverer” Nominated
Short Form Video of the Year “Lose My Soul”
tobyMac, featuring Kirk Franklin & Mandisa





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I'm Emmanuel, A JavaScript Developer and UI UX Designer with 5 years of experience who graduated from Cape Coast University Ghana Studying Computer Science.

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My ambition as a child was to become a Lawyer, but life took me to where I am today.

Blogging became one of my hobbies when I was 16, and I turned it into a profession when I was 22.

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