Mandisa is headed to Lafayette, and she's bringing something special: hope.
The Grammy-winning singer co-headlines the "Rise Out of the Dark" tour with fellow "American Idol" alumnus and Christian singer Danny Gokey. The tour's name combines the titles of Mandisa's latest album (her first in four years), "Out of the Dark" with Gokey's current album, "Rise."
"We felt that it perfectly encapsulates what God is going to do on this tour," Mandisa said recently from Nashville, Tennessee. "Both of us have battled depression recently, and both of us have been brought out of that dark season, and so we really feel like God is going to use our testimonies, our music to bring hope to people who are may be battling a similar thing or even people who aren't. It's going to be a night of encouragement, lots of celebration and dancing. We have a good time."
Mandisa, who finished ninth on Season 5 of "Idol," said she was a big fan of Gokey's when he was on the show's eighth season, finishing third.
"But it was more so what we've gotten to become since then … with Christian music," she said. "There's such a similar theme in his album 'Rise' and my album 'Out of the Dark' that it felt like now was the time. We've done tours before where we've been the opening act for other artists, but this is the first time we're coming together to co-headline this tour."
Mandisa described the 32-city tour that stretches to Thanksgiving week as smaller, more intimate performances than her previous arena shows. In Lafayette on Friday, Oct. 20, they'll sing at Crossroads Church, 150 Verona Drive.
"Lots of churches and theaters, and we really love it that way because what we select we're going to do on this tour, I need to be able to look out and see people," Mandisa said. "I need to see individual faces. We're going to feel like family on this tour."
Adding to the family reunion feel is special guest and Season 8 "Idol" finalist Jasmine Murray, who will open the three-hour show.
"Then (vocal duo) Love & The Outcome will perform, we love them, and then Danny and I will kind of alternate throughout the night, and we'll have a moment together at the end," she said.
Mandisa's previous four years out of the limelight was triggered by the death of close friend and backup singer Kisha Mitchell, who had inspired Mandisa's previous album "Overcomer." Mitchell battled breast cancer while pregnant with son Brennon, who's now 4.
"It just kind of sent me into a tailspin. I was depressed, I was angry at God, sat in my house for the course of two years, and ate and ate because that's what I've always turned to for comfort," she said. "I've been very vocal about my weight-loss journey."
The plus-size singer had lost over 120 pounds after her 2006 stint on "American Idol" but eventually regained that and 75 more pounds during that dark period in her life.
"That is what God has brought me out of. I've never been lower in my life," she said. "I'm down 100 pounds since then. I want to use the comfort I've gotten from God and use it to help other people."
The 37-year-old Gokey became depressed after the death of his first wife, Sophia, from a heart condition just prior to his audition for "Idol." Bouncing back, he founded Sophia’s Heart, an organization for at-risk teens and their families, and has found success in music, winning a Dove Award and KLOVE Male Artist of the Year twice. He's now remarried with children.
Mandisa, meanwhile, hit No. 1 on Billboard's Christian & Gospel Chart and reached the Top 20 on Billboard Albums Chart in June.
"Every day, people are thanking me (for 'Out of the Dark')," she said. "It lets them know they're not alone and that if God did that for me, then he can do it for them, as well, and that makes all of it worth it for me."
'Rise Out Of The Dark' tour
Presented by Food for the Hungry
WHEN: 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 20
WHERE: Crossroads Church, 150 Verona Drive, Lafayette
TICKETS: $26.50; VIP: $49.50 (includes early entry and Q&A with the artists); group discounts available; (800) 965-9324 or itickets.com