'Masked Singer' Winner Bishop Briggs Says Medusa Costume Helped Her Find Postpartum Strength (Exclusive)
"During the show, I was six months postpartum, so I was pumping and I was performing," the "River" singer tells PEOPLE
Bishop Briggs came back from near elimination to win The Masked Singer season 9 — and she doesn't even consider herself a competitive person.
"I'm not really competitive with others as much as I'm competitive with myself," the London-born singer, 30, tells PEOPLE. "When they chant, 'take it off' for your mask, on TV it looks like maybe 30 seconds, but it feels like hours. That moment before Nicole [Scherzinger] rang the bell, my entire journey flashed before my eyes, and you realize how much you want something. Considering I had time away from my son, it made me want it even more. It made me want to show him the trophy at the end of it all."
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Briggs, who welcomed her first child last August, beat out Gargoyle (Keenan Allen) and Mantis (Lou Diamond Phillips) to rejoin the competition and as a result, gave more performances than any other contestant this season.
"I feel like I really gave my all and put so much of my personal life out there, so the fact that the emotion came across means so much to me," the "River" crooner, born Sarah Grace McLaughlin, says.
The season 9 winner reflects on her journey, balancing pumping and performing, and the song her son surprisingly doesn't like.
What made you want to go on The Masked Singer?
I've been a fan of the show really since it began and I wanted to experience and lean into this idea that it's about the emotion that you're putting across. It's about your vocal and it's not about how you look. It's really about making that connection with the people in front of you. That really drew me to the show.
Why the Medusa costume? In one of your clue packages, you said that it wouldn't surprise your loved ones that you picked her.
Medusa is someone that I feel is really misunderstood and is someone that is multiple things at once. There are multiple different sides to Medusa. During the show, I was six months postpartum, so I was pumping and I was performing, and I really leaned on the Medusa costume to find that strength. That made a huge difference.
Have you had people reaching out to you guessing that you're Medusa?
Yes, I have received text messages and it has been so difficult to not reply — not even with an emoji, which is especially difficult for me.
How did you pick which songs you performed and craft the unique arrangements?
The biggest thing that I wanted to make sure that I had with each song was, would I be proud if I left today? If this was the final performance that I did, would I feel as though I had given all my emotions, given my own take on whatever the song is? That was something that really motivated me with the song choice, and making sure that it would tell a part of my journey and show a chapter in my artist's journey too.
Was there anything that you wanted to perform but didn't?
Oh, I wish that there had been a Motown night. I would've loved to do that. Motown is really where I first got introduced to music, so I would've loved to have had more of those options.
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You do have some new music coming out — what can fans expect from that?
I just released a song called "Baggage," and I have an EP coming out June 23 called When Everything Went Dark. I very unexpectedly lost my sister [Kate, 30, of ovarian cancer in 2021] and so with the EP, it really was my coping mechanism through that time. It's really a past, present and future. I hope that the takeaway that the listener has is that they can keep going, that they can continue on. And from there, I am going on tour, and so I'll be bringing my little baby on tour with me.
Has Medusa influenced you in any way that concertgoers will be seeing on stage?
Yes, yes, yes. Now that I can speak openly about this, I will be going to the grocery store with my snakes. I will be doing all that I can. This is such a cool experience that I got to be a part of. So if I could in any way put a few songs in my set, that would be incredible.
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You talked on the show about sending a message of strength to your son. Did you show him this season of The Masked Singer at all?
Yes, I did show him "New York, New York." That was a song that I grew up hearing my dad sing, so I thought it would be interesting to see his reaction. He had the same reaction as he did to "Baby Shark," which is to say no reaction at all. Stunned silence. Shocked. Drool coming out of his mouth.
He must be the only baby in the world to dislike "Baby Shark."
If I sing it to him when he's in the bath, he enjoys it. But there was something about the visual that was extremely shocking to him. But at the same time, if this was an adult that stood there, silent, drooling, without blinking, I would feel as though I had made an impact. So maybe I'm not giving him enough credit.
The judges didn't bring up your name until the very end of the competition. What do you want viewers to know about you?
The most important takeaway that I'd want people to have is that they feel less alone and know that walking alongside your grief is not easy and you're not alone in it. Even with my shows, that's always something that I want to make sure that people leave feeling — as though we're in it together.
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The Masked Singer season 10 will premiere in the fall on Fox.
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