She's been a recording artist, an in-demand songwriter and record producer, a Real Housewives of Atlanta star, a business owner, a restauranteur, an actor (she's starring in Season 3 ofThe Chi), and now the ever-busy mom Kandi Burruss can add yet another title to her profile: winner of The Masked Singer.
The first female winner in the show's short history, Burruss truly outdid herself in the Season 3 finale, belting out Tina Turner's "River Deep, Mountain High" so fiercely she nearly blew the rhinestones off Nick Cannon's hat and shoes. Perhaps overshadowed throughout the season by smooth, sultry pop stylings of Turtle (aka Jesse McCartney), Night Angel nonetheless had a solid, frequently stunning season, wowing the judges and audience with her one-of-a-kind voice. The win -- and her own exceptional singing -- came as a bit of surprise to the the multi-hyphenate, since, as she noted during the competition, she'd lost some confidence in her own abilities.
R&B fans know her from the group Xscape, and as the mastermind behind hits including Destiny's Child's "Bills, Bills, Bills" and TLC's "No Scrubs," which won a Grammy in 2000. As she mentioned in a chat with TV Guide after her win though, less than stellar outings as a solo artist, and the feedback of people in her circle made her pretty much hang up singing solo -- until The Masked Singer helped her regain confidence. Read on to see what Kandi Burruss -- who just dropped a new record "Used to Love Me," with Todrick Hall and Precious -- said about the competition, learning she was in the same league as music royalty, and what the heck a Night Angel is.
Congratulations on your win! I was so moved by your performances, and you being so open about self-doubt, which is something everybody experiences but not everyone talks about. What prompted you to be so transparent about that.
Thank you! A lot of people feel like because they see things I've accomplished they think I am overly confident -- and I am confident in other areas -- but when it comes to my voice, I started doubting myself like "Maybe I don't sing that good." I started in a group and we had a lot of success, but when the group took a hiatus and I did a solo album, it didn't do as well as I'd hoped and it started there. I had written all these records for people..and now that I'm on Housewives there's always negative people throwing stuff at me like, "You can't sing!" The cool part about the show is that they're not judging me, they're judging the Night Angel. I saw the feedback online and though I couldn't respond, it made me feel good. It made me believe in myself more.
That is wonderful. By the way, what the hell is a Night Angel? I mean, it's a great costume but like, what is it, exactly?
Burruss: [Laughs.] She's a mystery. She's got somewhat of a Mardi Gras mask...they showed me other options and I was into those but when they came back with that I said, 'That's me!' She's got the angel wings, she's larger than life, and then she has a dark side.
OK settle something for me. One of your clues was "the boy is mine" -- a clear reference to the Brandy and Monica song -- and I don't think you wrote that did you? Some outlets were saying you did, and I know you obviously have extensive roots in the R&B world and the Atlanta music world, but I couldn't find any evidence you actually wrote that song.
No. They come up with clues purposefully to throw people off. So for "the boy is mine" that was to throw people off, but it could also relate to me like "the boy is mine," talking about [her son] Ace.
Ah, clever! What were some of the guesses that made you laugh or think 'How'd they come up with that?'
Burruss: When they said they thought I was Lil Kim ,I thought that was funny. I love Lil Kim and I feel like I have swag, but I don't have that swag! Stevie Nicks, that was amazing, and Taraji P. Henson, I was like, "That's a good guess," because I know she can sing and she has kids, and she's a boss on Empire. When they said Tamar Braxton I laughed because that's my girl, but I know she was like "Have several seats."
Did your Real Housewives of Atlanta co-stars figure it out? Did you lie to them?
: I didn't respond to their texts. Kenya [Moore] would text me like, "You killed it!" I just didn't respond [and was prepared to be like] "Girl, I didn't even see that text." My kids knew. I tried to avoid people when I came to LA; I didn't tell anyone I was in town because I didn't want them asking why I was in town. People still found out I was in town! I have no idea how they knew.
How did you even fit this in, with all the stuff you have going on?
This has been a crazy year. We started taping Housewives in June through in October. I started The Chi in September. My daughter was born in November and then I came back to Chicago..that's when I found out I got The Masked Singer, and I came back [to Atlanta] to do pick ups.
Good Lord! Do you ever get tired?!
Burruss: I do. But, I love what I do and when you love what you do, you figure it out!
The Masked Singer airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on Fox.