GRAMMY Award-winning musician, songwriter, and performer, Mýa, has been in the music industry for more than 20 years. She first hit the scene in 1998, and singles like “Movin’ On,” “It’s All About Me,” featuring Sisqo and her vocals on “Ghetto Superstar (That Is What You Are)” with Pras and Old Dirty Bastard made her a household name.
Fans may remember “Case of the Ex” as one of her many popular songs. Since its release in 2000, the song lit up radio airwaves, and has been featured in many TV shows and films. As an artist, Mýa’s chapters since then have exemplified strength and growth. And even though it has been 20 years since the release, the song most recently landed in HBO’s highly-acclaimed Insecure. Mýa is no stranger to the award circuit having been awarded a plethora of MTV Video Music Awards, VH1 Music Awards, Soul Train Awards, GRAMMY Awards, and more. The Orchard got the chance to speak to Mýa about her new single “Space and Time” and let us know a new chapter is on its way soon. We’re ready.
The Orchard: How have you changed over the years as an artist? How did the early years morph you into the artist you are today?
Mýa: Outside of being completely hands on with every process of artistry (songwriting, production, engineering, mixing, choreography, wardrobe design, musical arrangement), I’m now so much more knowledgeable about business and ownership. I’d say early hardships shaped me into a person that could relate to struggle and pain, and my discipline as a child of the arts allowed me to believe in myself and persevere, which also made me a better artist today.
Is there a genre you want to try?
I consider music and art to be limitless space to play. I’ve always given myself the artistic freedom to do that. Depending on how I’m feeling, it may be blues one day for me, country music the next day, soul house to trap & b or even spitting conscious bars another day. So while I understand why the world creates categories and genres, I just do what feels right and however it comes out, may fall in a category.
Most recently, your hit “Case of the Ex” was featured on HBO’s Insecure, just in time for the 20th anniversary of Fear of Flying (wow!). What does it feel like everytime you hear the song placed in another show or movie? How does it feel to have your music featured?
Because I’m so used to performing the hit singles as expected, I’m quite annoyed by them (laughs), but always appreciate the placements and however they might be able to compliment another form of art or storytelling. I do enjoy the excitement when others get hype about it and start sharing their memories connected with the songs. That’s the cool part.
Which Mýa do you relate with more “Movin’ On” Mýa or “It’s All About Me” Mýa? Why?
I’d say I relate more to “Movin’ On” Mýa as there have been many points in my life where I’ve had to cut off negative energies, personal/ professional relationships, or even discontinue some of my own ways and concepts that were hindering me instead of growing and building me.
What are some ways you’ve been creative during this stay-at-home period?
I’ve been taking full advantage of the outdoors every day to workout. I also used my own yard to do a photo and video shoot. I’ve also been putting my kitchen to good use to create easy recipes which I’ve added to my free vegan starter guide on myamya.com/lifestyle.
You released your recent album T.K.O. (The Knock Out) in 2018. What did you want people to take away from that album? Is there new music in the works? What can your fans learn from the next chapter of Mýa?
T.K.O. was the official 20th anniversary of my debut album project in 1998, so my intention was to gift the fans with an R&B rooted project commemorating the 20 year journey and staying true to my roots with a contemporary flair. There’s always new music in the works. The next chapter, let’s just say… major growth.
What first got you into music?
I started dance classes at three, majorettes at four, piano lessons at five, violin at 10, with orchestra and gospel choir throughout high school. But I also grew up around musicians being that my dad always had a band over the house to rehearse for his “gigs.” My soul was always drawn to music since the early age of four. I could remember feeling deep emotion during one of my Dad’s rehearsals in a church. I can’t say I know what the first instance was that got me into music. I was literally born into it and surrounded by it.
Who inspired you to make music?
I was inspired by so much 70’s music on Vinyl that my parents would play. From Minnie Ripperton to the funk bands. By the 90’s I got my first job at 14 as a dance instructor, and all I’d do was spend my money on cassette tapes and CDs, studying everything I could get my hands on, writing the lyrics out, memorizing songs, and recording myself on a two-cassette karaoke machine (laughs).
What is your creative process like?
It varies. Sometimes it starts with a concept. Other times it might be a brainstorm of feelings on paper, a poem, a vocal melody or a musical baseline in my head. When working with musicians, a chord progression or just a track, that can spark all of those components at once including visuals. When I’m not creating alone, I also collaborate with other songwriters and that can be an entire process that goes from a convo, a dance move, or a message that sparks a creation. Personal experiences, dreams, films, current events or the experiences of others can all play a part.
Do you sing in the shower? What songs?
Of course! Who doesn’t? “Ribbon in the Sky” (Stevie Wonder), “En Vogue (Hold On) I Need You Now” (Smokie Norful), and a lot of Peter Tosh and Bob Marley.
What do you want people to know about Mýa now?
Excited to announce my new single “Space & Time” recently came out on all digital & streaming platforms. I worked with Chuck Harmony and Claude Kelly of Louis York on this timeless, healing production. I’m also on two cool apps called Cameo – for fans who want personalized video messages. advice, etc. and Candi which allows me to meet and greet with fans every month for 5 minutes each. This month I’m donating all of my profits to Casa 4 Kids (DC Chapter) @casa4kidsdc. You can find me on social media at @myaplanet9. My website is myamya.com for everything you want to know about me, including music, filmography, event dates, lifestyle, etc.
What is one message you would give to your fans?
Take necessary breaks to reassess, rediscover, recharge, but don’t quit or give up on yourself or what makes you feel alive. Define your mission to find your purpose. Plan for the future, but live in the present, and don’t forget to have fun! Try to enjoy the ride while the wheels are still on. Thank you all for keeping me going. The best has yet to come.