R&B singer Mya has been a force in the music game for ten years strong. We all can remember the “It’s all About Me” video and how hot it was when it dropped. Since then she has continued her career working with top artists like Lil Kim, Lil Wayne, Missy Elliot and Christina Aguilera. It’s obvious that she has earned a respected name in the music industry as a persistent force. With that said, we all know the singer Mya. We soon will know the actress Mya. What we don’t know is Mya – The grown woman. Like every other women she has likes in men as well as dislikes. She also has her own special way of venting when she is angry. Finally, Mya has made her own plans to continue to impact the entertainment industry. But not just how you would assume. Get personal with Mya.
Singersroom: Your new album ‘Liberation’ is about liberation as a woman. As women we all go through the phase where we are trying to find ourselves. How do you think you developed that in yourself?
Mya: I give credit to time, experiences and life; just going through the most negative experiences that you go through and also the positive ones. You have to go through some things to know some things. We hear it all the time. To know what you want and to be able to know yourself and know what you will settle for and what you won’t. I think realizing at the end of the day that life is too short for the tears and the drama. Take one day at a time to be happy.
Singersroom: Most negative situations are the ones that you learn from the most. When you are experiencing it and you’re going through it, it’s like “Oh I hate it. When will it be over?” But when it is over then it’s like oh okayâ¦
Mya: Now I understand why I went through it.
Singersroom: Exactly. Tell me about the Mya Arts Foundation.
Mya: The Mya Art’s Foundation was developed as a non-profit organization in Washington D.C. and it caters to kids five years old to thirteen years old but we are expanding. We are working closely with Duke Ellington School as well for the music program. They have an incredible dance program; it operates strictly in the summer. I am a teacher there; I teach sound engineering. We teach African dance as well as step and procession. We now offer Art Photography and a life skills course. There is now a website www.TMATF.com. That describes all its courses, times and schedules. I am really happy to be doing this again and to be there with kids.
Singersroom: Do you think there will ever come a time when you are doing this throughout the school year?
Mya: Definitely. We are working on developing curriculums and workbooks so it can run throughout an entire school year. We want to make it so it’s not just at the school that it’s operating at right now but in many schools. We can’t do that until we get the proper funding and grant money for my own location.
Singersroom: You have done theater, modeling, dance, and singing. What do you enjoy the most?
Mya: (laughing) Someone just asked me that question today. You know what? I like it all.
Singersroom: (laughing) Greedy.
Mya: I don’t like to do one thing. I like to do new things too and experiment. I get really really bored easily. So, I’m all over the place. I can’t make a decision. I never really considered myself a model. That would probably be last on the list. I like to be active.
Mya: I’ll get in the ring and go boxing.
Singersroom: Really? Youâ¦boxing?
Mya: I’m in the gym doing all kinds of stuff. I do the training that boxers do. It keeps me in shape.
Singersroom: (laughing) You mean to tell me, that sweet innocent looking Myaâ¦
Mya: (laughing) Everybody has something that they need to get out. I have my hands in everything and that’s what keeps me balanced.
Singersroom: You say you get bored easily. So with the modeling, which is one of the newer things, what is it like?
Mya: It’s pretty natural. I know how to walk. I know how to walk from being on stage. So the runway is something I was too short for. I’m only 5’5 and usually you have to be 5’10 and up to be considered a model. But modeling includes many things you can be a hand model, a foot model or it can be simply representing a product that you believe in.
Singersroom: You are modeling for wigs too right?
Mya: Oh yeah, and I wear wigs. I love wigs. I go out in wigs. I get into character and cut them sometimes.
Singersroom: I know that you and I are about the same age and at this point this is the time in our lives when we start thinking about the future and husbands. What kind of qualities do you look for in men?
Mya: Uh, I’m not looking right now but I’m really different from what I was in high school. In high school I can tell you I was looking but now I’m looking into myself. I won’t ever find the man that I want unless I’m secure with myself. All the things that I learned that don’t work is insecurity from a guy; a guy that is controlling. One thing that I cannot accept is cheating and lying, that will put me out of the door. Some of the qualities that I love and admire is a man that loves his mother and respects women. He is very aware of life and knows how to handle himself in the most detrimental environment but also knows how to speak properly. I love a guy with swagger, a guy that knows how to take care of a situation and take care of me but also does not have to be the center of attention and is a chameleon. He can adapt to any environment.
Singersroom: Okay, I’m with you on those qualities. Now, your new album is titled Liberation, do you have a release date on that yet? I understand that it was pushed back.
Mya: Yeah lots of artists have pushed their albums back. My release date is Sept 18th.
Singersroom: I have seen some videos, one with you and Lil Wayne. I can remember seeing “It’s All About Me” when I was about sixteen. What do you think it is that you do to remain prominent? There are so many singers who have a hit single and then their gone tomorrow.
Mya: I know that this is a multimedia world especially in the entertainment business, sometimes if all you have to offer is music then that may not be enough. Technology is key. I really can’t tell you a formula. I definitely paced myself. Sometimes you need to leave them wanting more. I haven’t even really begun to serve the audience or my fans. I really don’t know. It’s a blessing. I have stayed as multimedia faceted as possible.
Singersroom: Okay, I know that when you first came out with “It’s All About Me” you were about sixteen or so.
Mya: (laughing) Yeah.
Singersroom: Yeah because I know I was about the same age. That’s like almost ten years ago. You have been around for a while.
Mya: Yeah, I want to be like Patti Labelle, Dion Warwick, and Celine Dion. They stay on the road like 300 days of the year. They have what I call longevity, ten years is not really that much in this business.
Singersroom: You also have co-written some of your songs. Which song(s) would you say is one of your favorites?
Mya: It depends on the day and what’s happening. I have a lot of favorites on this album and they coincide with one another. I really really love “Switch It Up.” Especially when I’m in a foul mode with a guy (laughing). I love being in that peaceful state of mind with “Life Is Too Short.”
Singersroom: Okay. You seem very down to earth!
Mya: I definitely put myself in check. I thought I wasn’t supposed to have issues. I felt that things had to be perfect for me to be happy. Perfect for me to share with my girlfriends. Especially if I knew I was being played. If I felt I was then I wouldn’t discuss it.
Singersroom: Yes, we will keep some things to ourselves because we do not want to hear our friend’s mouths. You made a statement that “guys will just go out and do something but females will just talk about it a lot. You said I don’t care if I break a nail.”
Mya: I learned that really early on. It’s changing to be a woman in power. I understand that the trait of the man is to be heard. Sometimes that’s not acceptable or lady like. You can also be heard without being a bitch, you do have to put your foot down and sometimes that is translated into being a bitch. You do have to be heard and sometimes it is in your approach. That’s what I mean because it’s expected and accepted for guys to be assholes.
Singersroom: Sometimes when we are being that way then we are being bitchy or pains in the ass.
Mya: I was scarred to receive that title but now I feel that if I’m doing something right then the bitch crown will be given to me. (laughs)
Singersroom: (laughing) You have to speak up for yourself or people will trample on you. They will criticize you no matter what.
Mya: Yeah, and then there will be some fingers pointing at you like oh she didn’t have her sh*t together.
Singersroom: Do you think that women in the music industry are demanding the respect they deserve?
Mya: It really just depends on the person, like you said everyone is going to have an opinion. There are a lot of compromises that you have to deal with especially when you are a brand new artist. Not all of them are going to be something that fits into your standards or morals for that matter. It’s like I don’t think me performing in front of 10 people is a good move. That’s wack, how is it going to make me look. But sometimes you have to pay your dues to get in front of 1,000. I think a lot of females are on the come up and are definitely being acknowledged as queens because of their work ethic and talent. I haven’t seen so many entrepreneurs back in the day, and that’s for males too. Young folks are learning how it works. Sometimes respect boils down to money.
Singersroom: What is one of the most important lessons you have learned since being in this business?
Mya: (laughs) That is so hard, I would have to say balance. Maintaining balance in your life is the key to sanity, which will be the key to longevity and production. Not letting certain things lead to self destruction, which it can in any field. Sometimes you have to say that this over here is not that important for me to loose the reputation that I have worked for, just for me to say that I got ahead. You have to define what is acceptance to you. Keeping those family members close. Going to Crispy CrÃ¨me when you deserve it! You gotta even it out.
Singersroom: Do you get to spend a lot of time with your family?
Mya: Yes I do. My transition from Cali to Maryland can knock out five birds with one stone. I can work in my hometown.
Singersroom: What about the band that resides in your hometown?
Mya: I put my entire band together in my hometown. I can have my work and play gigs in my hometown. New York is a hop skip and a jump away. I love California but sometimes I need to see trees. My entire family resides in Maryland. —— By: Interview By La’Juanda Knight