Sugar Ray vocalist Mark McGrath was revealed as the Orca on ‘The Masked Singer.’ He spoke EXCLUSIVELY with HL about why he joined the show, keeping it a secret from his kids, and more.
It’s getting down to the wire on The Masked Singer. Another major celebrity was eliminated during the season 5 Group A finals on The Masked Singer. After coming in as a wildcard in a previous week, Sugar Ray frontman and ’90s icon Mark McGrath was revealed as the Orca.
HollywoodLife spoke EXCLUSIVELY with Mark about why he decided to do the show. He admitted that The Masked Singer is the only singing competition he’ll ever do in his life. The singer also revealed why he’s so “grateful” for the show and what Sugar Ray is up to right now.
Why did you want to do this show?
Mark McGrath: Ironically, the reason why I wanted to do the show is because it scared the living daylights out of me. It scared me. It’s a singing competition. Now, ironically, I make my living as a singer/entertainer. I always throw entertainer on the back because I’ve had an on-off relationship with keying my whole life. I’ve got more of a tone than a technical singer. So if it was just the singing competition with no mask, I would never have entered it in a million years. You have the fact that you could be someone else you, you could become this character, and that was something that was very attractive to me. So I would never enter a singing competition ever in my life, but The Masked Singer worked for me, in that sense. I have 10-year-old twins, and they love the show, so I said I have to do it.
How did your twins react when they found out you were going to be on the show?
Mark McGrath: Well, I kept it from them. They don’t know. They’ll figure it out tonight. They’re little blabbermouths, so I had to keep it from them, which was difficult because it was during the pandemic. Everybody was locked down. They were around. They weren’t going to school, so we had to do a little bit of dodging and weaving. But somehow we made it happen.
I know that the celebs usually have a lot of costumes to choose from, but what was it about the Orca costume that really stood out to you?
Mark McGrath: It’s so funny. It was the first idea they showed me. It was the first articulation of the costume. They couldn’t have nailed it more. It was right on the bull’s eye. I love the idea of the Orca because I grew up in Newport Beach, California. I surfed and all that. I’m a Pisces. I’m a fish sign. I just felt really comfortable right away. Some of the costumes are kind of crazy, like the Baby Alien and stuff like that, which makes the show fun. I really related to Orca. When I saw the artistic design articulation during one of the meetings, I’m like, this is perfect. It was exactly what they showed on the articulation. There’s a reason why that costume department is winning 1000s of Emmys every year. I couldn’t have been happier with my costume.
What was it like performing in the costume?
Mark McGrath: I could move my arms and legs. The tail was a balance issue. It took a little getting used to. The head was really top-heavy, and I couldn’t see anything. I could see the ground in front of me when I was performing, but I couldn’t see the judges. I couldn’t see anything. That was something I had to get used to… performing for the floor. You could feel the energy, but you couldn’t see anything, and even when I was talking to the judges I kind of just had to go with where their voice was. There was definitely a sight factor that limited your movement a little bit, especially my first performance when there was a lot of choreography going on. It was like a Ziegfeld’s production. It was so amazing. I came down with an anchor. It was unbelievable. There were some choreography moves that I had to do, or at least points that I had to hit, that got a little difficult with the costume but “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” was just more straightforward. With my costume, I felt an emotional attachment to it. In fact, I felt like I let Orca down when I got eliminated. Taking that mask off for the last time, I felt sad because it the last time it was going to be a living, breathing thing. [The last time] to give it a heartbeat, some emotions, and character. As I was taking it off, I felt like I let Orca down. I got such an attachment to the mask.
You dedicated your last performance to your dad. How were you feeling during that emotional performance?
Mark McGrath: What The Masked Singer loves to do is keep you in the dark. You don’t see anybody else. I didn’t see the clue package before I performed in front of the judges. They were super emotional, Robin [Thicke] especially was because he lost his father. He’s got young kids, so he knows what that’s about. It turned really emotional, and I didn’t understand why. You do so many interviews or pre-interviews with the production so they can really dig into history and put these wonderful packages together. I didn’t see the package until the show. When I saw the package I started crying before I started performing. When I was on the show, I said like, “Oh my God. I didn’t know I’d be in an Orca costume shedding a tear.” I meant that at the time because it got really emotional very quickly. I didn’t understand, and that’s because they saw this wonderful package. I’m so grateful to them because my dad was fortunate enough to see the twins being born. He was able to hold them as babies, but my kids have no memory of him. But now they have this wonderful documentation, and that little package that shows how much their dad loved them.
The past year has been a crazy year for everyone. In addition to The Masked Singer, is Sugar Ray working on anything right now?
Mark McGrath: We’re always working. The band does two things if you’re fortunate enough to get to that position: you play live and release music. Obviously, we play live a lot more, and that’s something that’s more visual because I’m promoting it on social and stuff like that. There really isn’t a medium anymore for selling music. My band comes from the years of when we sold millions of records, and then they’d give you a million dollars to go make a record. That was the dawn. But thankfully, we love to write songs, so we always keep releasing new material. And if you want to hear it, it’s going to be available for you. And if you don’t, we fully understand. We are always integrating new songs into the set. We know no one wants to hear new songs, we get it. We’ll always play the hits that we hope some people want to hear, but we also enjoy being creative with writing. It’s fun to do something like The Masked Singer because I always have my day job Sugar Ray to go back to. It’s really fun to get to step outside that and be the Orca, and then come back to Sugar Ray.
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