Queen of Hearts details her first studio album in 7 years and what winning The Masked Singer means to her
Warning: This article contains spoilers about the season 6 finale of The Masked Singer.
Another winner has been crowned on The Masked Singer.
That's right: After belting out tunes across all different genres (and languages!), Queen of Hearts bested Bull (revealed to be Todrick Hall) to officially reign above all. When it was all said and done, everyone but Ken Jeong correctly guessed that the giant red heart was four-time Grammy nominee Jewel.
Ahead of her TMS coronation, EW spoke with Jewel about the surprising way she pulled off a French-language song, what to expect from her upcoming album, and the touching reason why winning the Fox singing competition meant so much to her.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Congrats on winning it all! What made you say yes to doing the show?
JEWEL: It checked multiple boxes. One, is just a really practical box that may not be very sexy to talk about, but I don't know why women don't talk about it more — it's hard to be a mom in the music business. The industry is not very kind to moms, mainly just because of the lifestyle. We tour and we promote maybe for a year at a time. And that's obviously hard as a mom when your child is in school. So it's a really difficult transition, I think, for women, and not a lot of women are talking about it. But for me, the show, obviously my goal was to be a great, engaged, present mom, but I am also an artist. And so finding opportunities that allow you to be an artist that don't take all your time, to help you promote your music, and help you develop as an artist in ways you haven't done before, that's really valuable. So the show really checked that box for me. It didn't take a lot of time, it let me push myself vocally, which was the second reason I did it. I've never written for my voice. I've always written for the story, and for some reason just never really showcased how technically good I was as a singer. And so the show let me focus just on my technical ability. And I really challenged myself. There were multiple times on stage where I was like, "What am I doing? I don't know if I'm going to sing this the way I want to." So that was really fun.
And all of your performances were so different. Was there one that was the most difficult for you to pull off?
"La Vie en Rose" was definitely the most difficult. I don't speak French, and that song is iconic. I think that I put a lot of pressure on myself. I imagined that if Edith [Piaf, the original singer of the song] was there, would she be proud of me? And not knowing French and not being able to have a teleprompter was hard. So I actually spoke the French onto a track that I had in my in-ears. I had a track speaking the French, and then I would hear it and be able to sing it in time. It was very strange to do. If people could have heard what was happening in my ears, it was very off-putting, but I got through it!
Would you say that you set out to win it all or was it just for fun for you?
Both. I think anybody that does the show wants to win, and you want to go far and it'd be terrible to get kicked off the first episode. But it's also not a linear race. There's not a finish line where somebody crosses it first. It's art, and art is really subjective. And everybody's talented, or most people are on the show. [Laughs] So it's not that I'm better than Todrick Hall or David Foster, you know, it's just everybody's talented at a certain level, and it comes down to a subjective thing. And so you can't focus on the things that are outside of your control. You can only focus on the things that are in your control. And for me that was just focusing on my singing, and how was I trying to connect to people, and then you just have to let it go because it's so out of your control.
This was the first time on The Masked Singer where the finalists had never shared the stage before on the show. Did you have any idea what to expect from your competitor at all?
I didn't. I didn't even really know I was up against Todrick. Obviously, I mean, you don't know who anybody is, you don't see anybody sing, you don't see anybody perform. You have no idea who anyone is. I did hear once we came back for the final that it was a Bull, but that's all I knew. So they're very top secret on the show.
The panel and viewers were surprised I think by the Hilary Swank clue and video she sent in. How did that come about?
Yeah, I know! We live in the same town. We both live in the mountains. So we got to know each other that way. I just thought it might be a good way of throwing the judges off.
And I know you're releasing an EP of the songs you sang on The Masked Singer. Why was that something you wanted to do?
I love every song I did. I admired the writing of every song, and worked really hard on the arrangement, and loved the versatility. I did not think of making an EP at all when I was doing the show, but once I got done, I was like, "I loved those songs and those performances." And I wanted to have it to where I recorded them, and people, my fans, could have them. I knew my fans would want those. And so I decided to do an EP really last minute. We just had a lot of fun doing it. I have a studio here in my house, so it was really easy.
You also have a new album and tour coming up. What can you tell us about that?
Yeah, I have an album coming out. It's called Freewheeling Woman. It will be out soon-ish. And I'm on tour this summer. With the album, a goal was to push myself vocally, but I wrote the songs, and it's a new genre. I always like to try new things. It's more of an official full pop album, so writing in that style, and pushing myself vocally while not compromising the lyrics, for me, was a lot of fun.
What did winning the show mean to you?
It was just an incredible experience. I think the thing I found most surprising about the show was I have a mental health foundation, and I work with kids, and I tell the kids a lot that our worth has to be innate and intrinsic, you know, we can't base our worth outside of us. We can't place our worth on our job title, or our names, or where we're from, or whether we had a successful record or not. And so the show actually in a really interesting way, even though it's such a fun, silly pop show, I feel like allowed me to show so sincerely and authentically who I was, that most essential thing, which to me is my heart. And it wasn't about my name, and it wasn't about my story, or where I was from or my accent or all those things that aren't really you. So even though it's so game-ified I just felt like I really sincerely got to be myself, and stand for what I stand for, which is heart and feeling and emotion and connection. And so I found that to be the most surprising thing and what I really enjoyed the most.
Celebs compete in this reality-singing TV show while wearing elaborate costumes to conceal their identities. Can you guess the celebrity behind the mask?