Overcomer, the new album from Mandisa, debuted last week atop Billboard‘s Christian Albums chart, also reaching #29 on the cross-genre Billboard 200 albums chart. But before the album’s debut, the former American Idol contestant told ABC News Radio that she won’t measure the success of the project by its sales numbers.
“It’s a strange dichotomy to not want to define success by the numbers, especially because I do Christian music that is about so much more than the numbers,” she says. “I definitely want people to feel entertained, but more than that I want their lives to be impacted because I’m singing about somebody who can do that.”
In fact, the album’s title track was the result of the kind of inspiration that Mandisa sees as the real payback for her work. Good Morning America host Robin Roberts has credited Mandisa’s music with helping her through her recent medical leave for cancer treatment, and in turn the singer explains that Robin inspired the title track.
“Robin between her cancer and bone marrow transplant and the death of her mother, I feel like she’s an overcomer,” Mandisa says. “She’s an example of somebody who is not an overcomer because she’s arrived, but I feel like even while she was fighting through it all, she was an overcomer then.”
“The theme behind that song in particular is no matter what battle you’re facing, you keep fighting and know that you’re an overcomer right here, right now,” she says.
Meanwhile, as a former contestant, Mandisa definitely has an opinion on the direction of future judging panels for American Idol. Although the show has already announced that Jennifer Lopez, Harry Connick, Jr. and Keith Urban will be judges for the upcoming season, with former judge Randy Jackson as in-house mentor, Mandisa liked the idea that was originally floated of having former contestants as judges.
“I actually think it would be great to have a former American Idol contestant,” she says. “Jennifer Hudson, she would bring a lot to that platform.”
The singer adds, “Even somebody like a former winner, like I could see Ruben [Studdard] coming back and doing something or Chris Daughtry.” Her “preference” would’ve gone to a former contestant “who is considered a success story from American Idol, I think they could bring something to the show that nobody else really could.”
There’s no denying that the singer has benefited from the show. “I think I saw a statistic the other day about American Idol contestants who have had the most number ones and I was like number five,” she recalls. “And I’m thinking ‘Are you kidding!?'”
But Mandisa credits her success to more than herself or even a TV show, adding, “I always just think that its God’s favor and faithfulness that I’m still doing what I love for a living and I’ve found some relative success in it.”
Mandisa will premiere the video for “Overcomer” on ABC’s Good Morning America tomorrow, Thursday September 5.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio