*When most people think of Kandi Burruss, the first thought is as a “Real Housewives of Atlanta” cast member or award-winning songwriter and singer.
Last week, however, Kandi added another major accomplishment to an already crowded list … the first female winner on Fox’s hit show, “The Masked Singer.”
Kandi as “Night Angel” took home the first-place prize, beating out Bow Wow as the Frog and Jesse McCartney as the turtle.
EURweb’s Jill Munroe spoke with Kandi about gaining her confidence back, if she has thought about taking a break from RHOA and is a #VERZUZ battle in her future.
JILL: What was it like being the first woman to win “The Masked Singer?”
That’s the best part. In my mind there will never be another first. There has never been a woman to go past first place, so my plan was we are changing that. There were more men on the show than women this season, and we were dwindling fast.
JILL: What was your favorite performance? I heard you stayed away from songs that would have you sing in your signature deeper register.
Rise up was one of my favorites. I felt really confident after that song. I don’t know if it was the lyrics, it felt like I was almost singing to myself. That song motivates you. It gives you that extra something that you need.
I also felt good about the Lil Wayne (ironically Wayne was eliminated in the first episode of the season as “The Robot”) song, “How to Love.” In the beginning, I definitely tried to stay away from any song that took me in my lower register because people know. Xscape songs, and I felt that would be a dead giveaway, but after we got far into the season, I said if I win, it’s far enough into the season that it doesn’t matter.
JILL: I know you didn’t get to see any other performances beforehand. When you watched at home did you know Bow wow was the frog? You guys have such a long history and connection through Jermaine Dupri from the So So Def days.
I found out when we were there. He was the one person I figured out while I was there. What happened was, they tried to keep us separated. When it was time for soundcheck one day, they were walking me to the back. He was still on stage rapping, he was practicing Kriss Kross’ “Jump,” you know the part that goes, “I’m the miggity miggitty mack” I was like, “that’s Bow Wow”
I know him, I know that voice and everybody can’t do that part. So, either you’re Kriss Kross or Bow Wow.
I never said anything, we have our own producers that we deal with on the show we deal with directly. I told them, “I know who frog is.” Sometimes I would be standing next to him, and I know he didn’t know who I was and I wouldn’t say anything. But I was thinking how cool is this that we have So So Def up here.
JILL: How was performing in costume … a confidence booster?
It definitely was. Anytime you see people online, dogging you out – saying you can’t sing, I hate her voice, etc. I’ve seen those types of comments prior to doing the show.
So, it made me have some self-doubt. I thought, maybe I can’t sing anymore or maybe they didn’t like my voice in the 90s. Being in that mask and performing, it helps you because people aren’t judging Kandi. They are judging the Night Angel. And just that performance. There’re no feelings attached to it because of how they feel about me on ‘Real Housewives,’ or from me being in Xscape. Whatever preconceived notion they had of me, they are only judging me based on that moment.
I also loved how positive and loving the judges were each night. It just helped rebuild my confidence.
Jill: Did you learn anything new about yourself through this?
I knew that I was lacking confidence, this helped me reinvent myself. I had shied away from the mic over the last years. Even when I would go places, sometimes out with my friends and they would be doing Karaoke or something. They would say jump on the mic and I would be almost scared to do it. Even if it was a small group of people. And even if I did it, I would hold back. Thinking I don’t want to crack, I don’t want people to drag me on the internet so let me not do too much. I knew that was there. But rebuilding my confidence, I will be forever grateful to this show for that. Plus, everybody knows me … I go hard or go home, but performing in those costumes, it was so hot I was about to pass out. So in order to get used to it, I had to order a ski mask, to practice with so I could feel that same heat and get through it. And looking back at the show, I wish I would have done more. Even now after leaving the show, I’m taking vocal lessons. I’ve never done that before, our group we could just sing, so we would jump up and sing. There was no science or practice to it. After being on the show and working with the coaches on the show, I decided this is something that I want to continue with. I want to improve as a performer and get better and stronger. This is something that I have been missing. I said I was going to add some dance lessons, cause y’all know I can’t dance… so basically, it’s never too late to get on top of your game.
Jill: Speaking of music. With your history as an artist and songwriter, I think you would be perfect for #Verzuz – that’s the IG live music battle that Swizz Beats and Timbaland put together where artists, songwriters and producers put selected hits from their catalog up against another artist. Who would make a good match up for you?
I do not want to do #Verzuz. I feel like I have had a lot of success as a songwriter, but I don’t know if it’s enough to do a battle.
People have reached out about possibly trying to do something. But when you hear “battle” I don’t want to battle anyone over our accomplishments. I can’t say who I would even feel comfortable doing that with.
Jill: Have you ever considered taking time away from “RHOA?”
I would take a hiatus. I am constantly preparing myself for the day that it might happen. They make the decision on who comes back. My contract has run out before and they renewed it. But in my mind, I tell myself the day could be coming soon that I have to do something else. I’m prepared either way. I do so many different things, I’ll just be on to the next… but I have been part of this show for so long. I would feel weird, but everybody takes a break.
Check out Kandi’s new single, “Used to Love Me.”