The former girl group member won season 3 of the Fox singing competition

By Dana Rose Falcone
May 27, 2020 10:30 AM

Winning season 3 of The Masked Singer meant Kandi Burruss took home the Golden Mask trophy — and a newfound sense of confidence as a solo artist.

“Years ago when our group separated around 2000, I did my first solo album,” the former Xscape girl group member, 44, tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue. “The overall project didn't do as well as I wanted it to do, so I started having second thoughts being like, maybe I'm not supposed to just be doing a solo album, maybe I should just be writing for people or be in a group.”

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Kandi Burruss as Night Angel
Michael Becker/Fox

Burruss continued writing hits for Destiny’s Child (“Bills, Bills, Bills” and “Bug a Boo”), TLC (“No Scrubs”) and Alicia Keys (“Jane Doe”), joined Real Housewives of Atlanta in 2009 and opened Atlanta restaurant The Old Lady Gang with her husband Todd Tucker. She and Xscape had a short-lived reunion in 2017, but Burruss largely pushed her solo career aside as she focused on her other ventures.

“As the years passed by then I got on Housewives, so many people are so negative on social media,” the mother of three says. “People will say things like, ‘Oh, she can't really sing.’ I guess I just started allowing them to get in my head.”

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The positive feedback she received while performing as Night Angel on The Masked Singer, though, got Burruss out of her head. “Being a part of this show was really uplifting for me and it really did a lot for my self-confidence because when you get on the stage, nobody knows who you are. You're just getting on the stage and they have to judge based on your performance that you did,” she says. “The judges are so positive and uplifting. They make you feel good.”

Despite the plastic purple costume, a few of the “Used to Love Me” singer’s Bravo peers recognized her.

“Obviously I had to get permission from Bravo to be able to do these episodes, so Andy [Cohen] knew from the beginning,” Burruss says of the Housewives producer. “When I told him that I won, he was so excited for me.”

Kandi Burruss (left) and Marlo Hampton
patas griffin/getty

Burruss didn’t tell her costars she would be appearing on the Fox singing competition, but she didn’t have to. “The girls on the show, I had not told them anything,” she says. “A few of them that kept texting me, like Kenya [Moore], Marlo [Hampton], they’d be texting me like, ‘Hey girl! I know it's you. I know you can't say anything, but you sounded good.’ ”

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