Grammy Winner Mýa Celebrates 20 years of Music, Drops New Single & Chats Exclusively With Us!

Mya
By Mwabi Kaira

We were introduced to songbird Mýa in 1998 as a young 18-year-old when her platinum self-titled debut album hit the scene. She established herself as a triple threat with her beautiful voice, killer dance moves and acting chops. Over the years, we have seen Mýa on both the big and small screen in In Too Deep, Shall We Dance, Dirty Dancing Havana Nights, Chicago and Dancing With The Stars where she came in second. Longevity is not easy to come by in this music business and Mya has managed to stay the course and release 9 studio albums, including her latest, T.K.O. (The Knock Out), in celebration of her 20th year in the industry.

Speaking to Mýa is nothing short of delightful. She drops gems and you just want to write them down so you can revisit them later when you need to feel empowered. Here are 6 facts I learned about Mýa that you should know.

Mya via her IG
She is Still a Triple Threat 
Mýa trained in jazz, tap (she trained with renowned hoofer Savion Glover), gymnastics and was a majorette. She was one of the Teen Summit dancers before she got signed and became a platinum recording artist. Mýa has acted in several projects including her latest, playing a single Mom in the 6-episode series, 5th Ward, on the Urban Movie Channel. She says, “My role on 5th Ward was very emotional and challenging since I am playing a single Mom, but I was ready for it.” Asking her to pick her favorite when it comes to singing, dancing and acting is like asking her to pick a favorite child. “I’ve been singing, dancing and acting for a long time and they will always be part of me. My favorite roles are ones where I can showcase all three.” 

She is A Grammy Winner and Two-Time Nominee
Mýa joined vocal powerhouses Christina Aguilera, Pink and rapper Lil Kim on the Missy Elliot female-empowerment song Lady Marmalade which won the grammy for pop collaboration with vocals in 2002. Mýa was previously nominated for a grammy in 1999 for her collab with Pras on Ghetto Superstar. She was nominated for a grammy for her independent 2017 album Smoove Jones, and says, “To still be recognized for my music by the Grammys was already amazing, but to be an independent artist and knowing how much work it takes to deliver this music, and running the ship the way I want and having my ideas and work recognized, was a very proud moment for me.”

Photo Via Mya's IG

Her Vegan Lifestyle Has Kept her looking Gorgeous
Take a look at Mýa’s pictures from 1998 and compare them to her recent pictures and you’ll find no difference. She looks amazing. July marks her 5th year as a Vegan. “I had put on weight after a relationship and I needed something to jumpstart my weight loss, I needed a will power challenge. I was also experiencing inflammation and becoming vegan changed all of that for me,” Mýa says. Being vegan has seeped into all other parts of her life as well; she uses natural products for her body, hair, and face. She makes her own avocado hair and face masks and makes scrubs as well. She put me on to a simple scrub, “Just put some sea salt in coconut oil and you instantly have a scrub.” She stopped drinking soda and using alcohol products. Mýa created a Vegan guide that is available at her website for download and she puts on challenges that come with prizes. 

Planet 9 is Not Just Her Record Label But Also Her Way Of Life
After Mýa left her record label and before forming her record label Planet 9 and going independent, she went to a deep spiritual place. She explains, “I found a place that became my own world, my own universe where I refuse to be rushed, where I create what I want to create, where there are no unrealistic deadlines, where I won’t be on other people’s schedules on when to do things like have children. I do everything in my own time and only do what feels good to me. I escape to my own planet to not be bombarded with expectations.” She calls the place Planet 9 and named her label the same. I’m all for making personal planet 9’s for all of us.

She Uses Social Media as a Way to Connect With Her Friends
For Mýa, social media is a place to cultivate a positive space for her to engage with her friends and have good dialogue. She asks her friends what they like and don’t like and listens to their ideas and wants. “I asked my friends what they wanted from the new album and they told me good old R&B and to see me dance. I gave them both. They have picked the singles off the album as well,” she says.

Album artwork
She is Confidence Goals and Knows What She Brings To The Table
On keeping up with the times, Mya says, “I feel no pressure to keep up, I am not a part of that system that concentrates on image. I’m not a new artist and I know what works for me.” She has been in the industry for two decades and sees the #MeToo movement as an aftermath and consequences of what’s been happening all over the world for a long time, but because Hollywood and entertainment is male-dominated, the spotlight shines more brightly on the industry. “It can be very uncomfortable, but it is a result of the system,” she says. 

Official video for 'Damage' 
Mýa just dropped a new video for her song Damage this week. You can keep up with Mýa at her website and her IG @myaplanet9

*****

What do you think about Mya's 20 years in music?
Mwabi Kaira is an African girl navigating her way in an American world.  She is of Zambian and Malawian heritage and moved to the USA in 1993.  Writing has been her passion since she could put a sentence together on the page. Mothering her sons is her pride and joy.  She has been an avid runner since 2013 and has run 10 half marathons and a full marathon.  Keep up with her athttp://africanbeautifulme.blogspot.com

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