I decided to post the last part of my Q&A with the fabulous Mandisa a little early, because she is after all on Regis & Kelly later this morning, and I wanted to remind you of that.
I’m also thinking that her experience with them will be slightly different than her experience with, you know, me.
Because, you see, they are professionals. On the television. With microphones and cameras.
I, on the other hand, am a “writer.” On the interweb. Who goes by the VERY DIGNIFIED name of BooMama and talks way too much about fried chicken.
So clearly I am a beacon of journalistic accomplishment, illuminating the blogosphere with my klassy credentials and professional demeanor.
And on that note, I give you Part Two (part one is here if you missed it).
What are some behind-the-scenes things about American Idol that might surprise people? Is it as competitive as we might think it is?
It is definitely as competitive as one would think. As the seasons have gone by, the stakes are higher than ever, which results in the contestants being as desperate as ever. Everyone knows that you don’t just have to be a good singer and performer, you also have to be a good personality. People vote for who they like.
What would you say to young kids who think that a little fame and fortune will solve all their problems?
I would say, “DON’T BELIEVE THE HYPE!” I co-wrote a song on my album called “Only You” about this very thing. When I got off of the AI tour I had money, a new car, a new house, and relative success in the eyes of the “world”. But I spun into the deepest pit of my life after my elimination and strayed away from the Lord and everyone else who loves me. Interesting? I had never had more…but I felt completely empty. It was then that I realized that the physical and tangible things of this world do not satisfy. When I get to the end of my life I won’t be boasting about the number of albums I sold or how much money I have. You can’t take it with you! What I will be focused on is my relationships with friends and family. And most importantly I will want to be able to look into the face of Jesus and say “I lived my life to its fullest by Your guidance and strength. And now I’m ready to come HOME!” That is what life is all about. Our time here on earth (and all of its possessions) are temporary. What comes after is forever. I’m choosing to live my life in light of eternity.
Most of the people who read my blog are women, and I think they’d probably like to know about the women who have influenced you the most. So, what women have had the most significant impact on your life? What have they taught you?
I have so many women in my life who have influenced me! Needless to say, Beth Moore is one of them, as I have already mentioned. Certainly another is my mom, Ruby Berryman. She is the strongest woman I know. She raised me all by herself after my parents divorced when I was 2. I applaud her, and all single mothers, for not only molding their children, but providing for them as well.
Most of the women who read my blog also love to laugh. What movies or TV shows just CRACK YOU UP? Do you have any favorites?
I am a movie buff! My favorites are romantic comedies like “Sleepless in Seattle”. But the last comedy I saw that really made me laugh was “Wild Hogs” starring John Travolta, Martin Lawrence, Tim Allen, and William H. Macy. I am also a self-proclaimed reality TV junkie so I can’t say that I watch very many comedy TV shows. I used to be into “Home Improvement” big time, though! Tim Allen is so crazy!
What about music? What’s on your iPod right now?
I love all types of music. Of course I have all of my Idol buds on there including Taylor, Katharine, Elliott, Chris, Paris, Kellie, and Bucky (and I am so proud of all of them). I also like new school soul like India.Arie and Alicia Keys. I LOVE old school soul though so I have plenty of Chaka, Aretha, Whitney, Otis (I could go on forever). I listen a lot to Christian music in all forms. All time favs are CeCe Winans, Yolanda Adams, and Kirk Franklin. My most recent adds would be TobyMac, Ayiesha Woods, Britt Nicole, Austins Bridge, Fred Hammond, and Casting Crowns. I also highly recommend any Lakewood Live praise and worship cds, Jonny Lang’s “Turn Around” and Rita Springer’s “I Have to Believe”.
If you wanted to perform a song that you can just BELT OUT LIKE CRAZY, what would you pick?
My biggest “belting out” song is probably Chaka Khan’s “I’m Every Woman”. I do a soul medley in concerts sometimes that includes that song, “Respect”, “Stop in the Name of Love”, “Proud Mary”, “The Greatest Love of All”, and “I Will Always Love You”. Those are some of my all-time favorites and I love to hear the audience singing along with me. So fun!
Do you have any family in Nashville? And if not – how do you get your “family fix”?
I do have some cousins in Nashville but both sides of my family have reunions every other year (and they alternate which is perfect for me) around the 4th of July. I just got back from my Dad’s side in Kansas City recently. My family has been so supportive of me and they are so proud!
I have loved reading your blog. I was particularly moved by the post where you had run across a couple of negative comments on iTunes – and you were so hurt by them, despite the fact that those comments were surrounded by ten times as many positive ones.
Does it get any easier to cope with the more harsh, more brutal side of the music industry? With the “criticism” that can sometimes amount to personal attacks? Because I think that, for me, would absolutely be the hardest part of the kind of success you’ve experienced in the last eighteen months or so. How do you deal with it?
That is, without a doubt, the most difficult thing about fame. Behind the anonymous wall of a computer screen, people can say some pretty mean and hurtful things. I have sworn off “googling” my name anymore or reading reviews because I end up with a broken heart. It is a shame that with 99 out of a hundred positive comments I leave dwelling on only the 1 negative. I certainly hope it gets easier with time but I have only been dealing with it for less than a couple of years so I don’t have much to go by. Like I wrote in my blog, I am learning to just pour my heart out to the Lord and find comfort in His word when I encounter attacks like that. He knows how to ease my pain and I find that the hurt stings a little bit less with time.
Do you ever wish that you could sneak into the background in a church choir, sing with no one knowing who you are, and just praise your heart out? Do you ever struggle with being in the spotlight?
Absolutely! Thankfully, I can worship anywhere. I don’t have to be in the four walls of a church. I have praise and worship services in my house all by myself at times. I will say though, there is something powerful about the body of Christ joining together to worship the Lord. I never get tired of leading people in worship. I always pray though, that the audience would focus not on me, but on our Savior.
Last thing: let’s say you have a whole day with absolutely nothing on your schedule – not a single, solitary thing. What would you do?
I wish that I could say that I would charter a jet out to Hawaii or something but I’m an introverted, movie buff, reality TV junkie. It’s a shame but I would sit at home, all by myself, rent a couple of movies, and veg out on my stored up TiVo shows! Pray for me…LOL!
I can’t even tell y’all how much that last answer warms my soul.
I’ll be back mid-morning to announce our giveaway winners – thanks so much for such great participation!
And needless to say, a thousand thank-yous to Mandisa for being such a great sport. She is absolutely inspirational – a ray of pure sunshine – and I am so grateful that she took the time to answer my questions. She is the best pretend-BFF a girl could ever hope for.
Along with Nichole and Christy, of course.
My pretend-life, it is full.