Christian singer Mandisa dies at 47

(Screenshot: MandisaVEVO/YouTube)
(Screenshot: MandisaVEVO/YouTube)

A Christian singer and former “American Idol” contestant has died at 47, causing the Christian music industry to reflect on her musical talent and story of overcoming the challenges associated with depression. 

The Christian radio station K-LOVE reported Friday that Mandisa, a Grammy Award-winning artist who appeared on season five of the reality TV singing competition “American Idol” in 2006, died at her home in Nashville, Tennessee, on Thursday. After her tenure on “American Idol” concluded with securing a spot in the top 10, Mandisa released five albums and collaborated with noted Christian musicians, including TobyMac, Michael W. Smith, Matthew West and Kirk Franklin.

“Mandisa loved Jesus, and she used her unusually extensive platform to talk about Him at every turn,” said K-LOVE Chief Media Officer David Pierce in a statement reacting to her death. “Her kindness was epic, her smile electric, her voice massive, but it was no match for the size of her heart.”

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Pierce added, “She is with the God she sang about now. While we are saddened, Mandisa is home. We’re praying for Mandisa’s family and friends and ask you to join us.”

While the singer’s cause of death remains unknown, Pierce noted that “Mandisa struggled, and she was vulnerable enough to share that with us, which helped us talk about our own struggles.” Mandisa elaborated on what Pierce characterized as her “struggles” in a 2022 interview with The Christian Post, which coincided with the release of her book, Out of the Dark: My Journey Through The Shadows To Find God’s Joy

Mandisa told CP she began struggling with depression and anxiety after one of her best friends died of breast cancer. “I isolated myself, I didn’t want to talk about it, and I battled with the shame of feeling like I didn’t have enough faith or that God was displeased with me,” she recalled to CP. 

The singer detailed how she changed her perspective after reading the Bible and discovering that “a lot of these people we read about wrestled with similar things.” She cited as examples Elijah, “who one minute is calling down fire from the heavens and defeating the prophets of Baal, and then the next moment sitting by a tree and asking God to let him die,” and David, “who is very honest throughout the Psalms about the pain he felt internally, and he was someone God called a man after His own heart.”

Mandisa found particular comfort in Psalm 13:1-6, which asks, “How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?” At the same time, the Bible verse declares, “my heart rejoices in your salvation,” and includes a vow to “sing to the LORD, for he has been good to me.”

While she expressed optimism about the state of her mental health at the time of her interview, Mandisa stressed, “I don’t want people to think that I have just overcome and I’m victorious, now I’m great.”

She maintained that “this is very much a journey that I’m still on today,” while remaining confident that “healing comes from walking hand in hand with God.”

The release of Mandisa’s book came six years after she released an album titled Out of the Dark that addressed her mental health difficulties. The singer discussed the topic on her podcast, which was also titled “Out of the Dark.”

Reflecting on the mental health challenges she has experienced, Mandisa pointed to Psalm 40:2 as a source of inspiration. The Bible verse states, “He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.” 

In a 2017 appearance on “Good Morning America,” Mandisa credited God’s intervention for preventing her from killing herself. Her depression caused her to take a hiatus from performing that lasted for more than three years. 

Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at: [email protected]

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