Ukrainian Eurovision royalty Jamala has changed tempo with her latest release — the upbeat, English-language single “The Great Pretender”.

A world away from the breaking beats power ballad that won her the Eurovision crown in 2016, Jamala has changed course with great effect. What starts off seductive and slow soon morphs into a synth-pop number, showcasing Jamala’s incredible vocal range. True to form she laces it all with subtle musical references to jazz, funk and even 70s disco.

In the video, which she released today, we see a newly blonde Jamala looking like a cross between Lady Gaga and a sequinned 80s siren dancing in an empty auditorium. But she’s not the only one experiencing transformation. The video also features the story of a young man fighting his inner demons to become a silver-studded, red-lipped woman.

It’s a statement on living your best life on your own terms, but also a solemn meditation on the pain people so frequently suffer without anyone else ever knowing. As Jamala sings: “No one can really understand, you look so whole but you pretend.”

The song comes from her fifth studio album, Kyrla (Wings), which was released on the 12th of October.

“The Great Pretender” lyrics — Jamala

Bright room, dark shades
Smokey eyed, no shame

You wish you could explain

Broken hearts, silly dreams
That help you to believe

This insanity

Begging a smile if they all knew
What you are going through

You’re the great pretender

Your game, your strain
Clean up your communication

You have died inside

No one can really understand
You’re not that whole but you pretend
No one can really understand
You’re not that cold but you pretend

Can you still play the game your way
You’re the great pretender

Heavy brow, crack a smile
Live your life, you’re numb

There is no sensation

Feel weak, falling deep
Crave to be free

Just wanna feel like a woman

Bright room, dark shades
Smokey eyed, no shame

Oh you, you wish you could explain

Broken hearts, silly dreams
That help you to believe

This insanity

No one can really understand
You look so whole but you pretend
No one can really understand
You’re not that cold but you pretend

No one can really understand
You look so whole but you pretend
No one can really understand
You’re not that cold but you pretend

Can you still play the game your way
You’re the great pretender

What do you think? Are you enjoying Jamala’s transition from ballad goddess to dancefloor diva? Would you like to hear her sing more upbeat anthems? Leave your comments down below!

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Charli Cheer Up
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Charli Cheer Up

Love her new album. I’m glad she’s going back to singing fun and upbeat songs again like in her early material, For Every Heart. The world deserves to know the real Jamal. Not just that sad girl who sang 1944!

Dual Lipper
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Dual Lipper

Jama who??

Kris
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Kris

She is amazing! One of the best ESC winner!

miles
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miles

My favourite winner so far…she really elevated ESC to higher level

Ern
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Ern

Jamala is very talented.

BUT, looking back, I don’t think she should have won that year. Maybe 3rd place, but Australia and Russia were stronger entries.

José
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José

The only good thing about Australia’s entry was Dami Im’s vocals. The song itself was generic ballad. About Russia, it was all about the amazing staging. The song was too generic and we already had similar winner in 2015 anyway. So the only logical choice for win was Ukraine. Nice staging, perfect vocals and a song with an important message.

James
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James

Ukraine was my pick for the win but I knew that it would be a blackhorse in the competition. I didn’t wanna see Russia winning that year though. The numbers we’rent simply there.

Idan Cohen
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Idan Cohen

She won fare and square. Russia had no musical contribution what so ever. it was a pure staging performance. the song is outdated and blad. Australia featured a very good song, but very predictable and Eurovision-y in the bad sense of it. a song that talks about love, starts quietly and finishes loud and high. Jamala won fare and square. not only 1944 is a great song with real emotions and interesting, even mystical composition, it’s different and creative, the song wasn’t written and composed only to win Eurovision or “to crack the Eurovision formula”. Jamala is a real musician… Read more »

Mr. Vanilla Bean
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Mr. Vanilla Bean

You are all sort of right. Neither of those three should have won that year. 😛

HBau
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HBau

As an Aussie, I’d’ve loved to see Dami win – but Jamala deserved it. 1944 was the best song of the year, Sound of Silence certainly wasn’t. Both are brilliant singers, but one entry had more depth and that was the one that won.

vf99
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vf99

Jesus, it has been 2½ years. Get over it.

Jo.
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Jo.

I’m glad Jamala won over those two highly overrated songs.