Mandisa, the young woman made famous by her strong vocal performances during the fifth season of "American Idol," is on the verge of seeing her latest album, What If We Were Real, become the best selling album of her career. It appears that the release's sales will soon surpass those of her first album, 2007's True Beauty, which sold a little less than a quarter of a million copies. And it only took her a year-and-a-half to do it.
Technically, as of Oct. 5, What If We Were Real went into its 18th month of release. Unlike many former "Idol" finalists, not counting Daughtry and several of the winners, Mandisa's offering didn't stop selling after the first few weeks in circulation. In fact, its initial first week sales total was only 8,000 units, placing her at No. 66 on the Billboard 200 albums chart (and still the peak position for the album). But the 11-song collection simply continued to sell. A thousand here. Two thousand there. Sometimes three thousand. But it sold.
And it is still selling...
Currently the album sits on the Billboard 200 at No. 150, up from No. 191 the previous week, enjoying its 24th week on the chart. Nielsen Soundscan reported a sales total of 214,000 for the last week of September. The sales total of her first album stands at 226,000 copies (although that total comes from a USA Today "Idol Chatter" report in March 2011 and might be somewhat inaccurate by a few thousand units).
True Beauty remains Mandisa's highest charting album, peaking at No. 43 its first week of release.
Freedom, the "Idol" finalist's fourth album, only sold 152,000 copies but received a boost the first few weeks What If We Were Real, her fifth collection, hit the charts.
And the secret of this album's successful sleeper run? Mandisa's nearly non-stop touring schedule and a series of hit songs from the CD. The album finished at No. 18 overall for the year (2011), generating two Top 5 Hot Christian Songs, the No. 1hit "Stronger" and "Waiting for Tomorrow," which made it to No. 3. The third single released was a song featuring Christian rapper TobyMac, "Good Morning." The song peaked at No. 18 in May.
Still, Mandisa's sales continue to accumulate, primarily through the strength of her live performances and strong contemporary Christian and gospel radio airplay. She is currently touring with the Women of Faith's Celebrate What Matters 2012 tour along with Patsy Clairmont, Amy Grant, Lisa Harper, Mark Lowry, and Sandi Patty (the line-up varies from city to city). And it has been announced that she will be part of the TobyMac tour line-up as well after Thanksgiving.
She released a five-song remix EP "Get Movin'" in August that features remixes of "Stronger" and "Good Morning." Two of the songs are from True Beauty, "Shackles" and her first single "Only The World." The fifth tune is "My Deliverer" from her Freedom CD.
But she's not done with 2012. On Oct. 9, the ninth-place finalist from Season 5 of "American Idol" will re-release her It's Christmas album. Called It's Christmas: Christmas Angel Edition, the offering will contain nine of the original albums songs plus three new holiday tunes recorded just for the release.
Mandisa's holiday album's relaunch will precede the release of Christmas with Scotty McCreery, the "American Idol" Season 10 winner, by a week.
"American Idol," the show that launched the contemporary gospel singer's career, enters its twelfth season in January.
(photo credit: Jyle Dupuis, Creative Commons)