I have been a fan of Mya dating all the way back to her first entrance into the music industry with “It’s All About Me” featuring Sisqo.
The Washington D.C. native has piqued our interest in her in the years since by churning out hit after hit all while expanding on what it is to be an entertainer.
She’s dipped her toes in the world of acting in movies like Chicago as well as embarking on a culinary journey that is often featured on her wildly popular social media pages.
Mya chatted with Instinct Magazine about all of that plus career beginnings, her new single that is set to come out in less than 48 hours, and so much more.
Is it hard for you to believe that your debut single came out almost 25 years ago and that you’ve been in the industry now for that long?
Yeah, that is a little wild. First of all, when you’re a kid growing up, you think 18 is really old and then 21 is super old, much less 30, and then 40. So to have a 25 year old single it’s really interesting, quarter of a century when you put it like that it sounds almost ancient.
It’s also a blessing to still be doing what you love to do and doing it even better. And being able to connect with people at the end of the day because that’s what it’s all about. I’m truly grateful.
What has been the biggest shift that you have seen since you started out many years ago in the music industry?
Well, I think since I’ve started I’ve obviously witnessed the technology change. My first album and singles were on cassette tape and there was vinyl back then plus CD’s and record stores are now obsolete. So to kind of see everything turn into digital and streaming has been a transition for myself and of course the labels and we figured it out.
So here’s a new world and cheers to that because now I’m independent and I can actually release music at any time without a record store, even though I still manufacture vinyl and CD jewel cases. Hey, I might even go back and do a cassette tape for nostalgia.
You’re also dishing foodie tips online that has created a huge following. What inspired you to start this whole culinary journey on top of already being such a music icon?
Well, I don’t know if I’m in the culinary arts per se but I love to eat, so therefore I have to cook. And then I want to share as well. So friends have definitely requested plates, et cetera. And then on the big picture I’ve had to prepare my meals and I began sharing them online. Many of the beauties of social media, which I forgot to mention. I’ve also been in the ages of birthing projects and also new communication into social media from not having the internet at all when I first started. But I conduct these challenges online and it’s simply was sharing food and what I’ve been up to and, oh, my vegan journey.
And that’s how the challenges were birthed and now people come on board and a part of the challenge is they’re posting daily meals in collage or slide format. It’s been really fun. I might even be cooking during the holidays and hosting a cooking session online, which I’ve been requested to do. So, I just fell into it probably because I love to eat.
You’re also starting 2021 off, which hopefully will be a much better year for all of us, with a transformational detox series that I think is going to be fantastic. Can you tell us a little bit more about that? And what it will be?
I have linked with holistic wellness expert Queen Afua. She started reading up on me and what I was doing with my vegan challenges. She mentioned to me that she was really impressed in regards to what I was doing with my followers and community. And she thought we should collaborate and what she already does and what I already do to bring my followers to another level.
So her detox kit and program is for seven days though she does have a 14-day and 21-day one. We find that the shorter days and turns are more accessible and motivational for people so they don’t get discouraged. And I thought it was perfect alongside her free workshops during the detoxes and her kit. And her team made a website called Myadetox.com, where you can order everything for 50% off.
And then obviously when you sign up, you get access to the workshops online. We have a kickoff orientation where she shows us how to use the products. And in the detox kit, there’s a chart for grocery lists, meal plans, suggested meal plans, ingredients and why and when you should eat what you should eat. So I did it in November and lost 11 pounds in seven days and curved my appetite to crave the healthier things with more juices, fruits and vegetable.
Also we should probably take into consideration that 2020 has been a rough year. And we’ve just been exposed to so much that can affect our immune systems. So what better way to start 2021 than to arm and prepare yourself and your bodies to fight?
You also have a new single coming out before the end of the year! Can you tell us more about that?
I’m going to drop it Christmas Eve at midnight. Usually all the releases come out on 12:01 AM. So technically it comes out Christmas Day but it’ll be midnight, just one minute past midnight on Christmas Eve. I’m really excited that it’s a powerhouse ballad. I don’t think I ever released a single like this in my career. I can’t wait to share those vibes with people on Christmas Day of course. And it’s an uplifting song, something we all need right now. And I’ve been sitting on it since like 2016.
When did you know, during your career, how beloved you were in our community? Was there a particular moment, anything that comes to mind?
I think the turning point was the Moodring album. Also “Lady Marmalade” for sure. But there was also a solidifying solo moment. A couple of years later at Pepsi Smash I performed “Whatever Bitch”, and “My Love Is Like… Wo” and brought the queens and the kids out on stage. And we vogued down and my record company hated me for that.
I paid for all of it because they were like, “No, we don’t get it. It’s not necessary.” I said, “It’s necessary.” And I will never forget the reaction from the crowd. But it’s a big request at all of the pride festivals.
What advice would you give to anyone that wants to shoot to the top of the charts like you have throughout your career?
Well, success can be defined by everyone differently. And so I would first say, what is it that you want? You have to check that list. How do you want to get there? What is it that you want to be? Do you want to be famous? Do you want to chart? Is it record sales that’s success to you? If you’re going to put on great music, you can do all of those things. But as far as charting, it takes quite a bit of funding and usually a record label, not always, but most times a major record label deal of some sort or at least investment to get your record pop nationwide or even international. And I’m talking about millions of dollars here. So it’s really investment and funding. You don’t just make a record in the studio and throw it out in the universe and think that it’s going to chart.
That’s not how it works. So to know that, if your goal is to do that, then you must prepare and follow the steps accordingly to get signed to a major label with no guarantees. And to hopefully make you a priority with funding. But you must stand out above the crowd or at least get the train going yourself. So that then they have some motivation and inspiration to hop on board. Which is not always fair, but that’s a good thing if they want to support something that’s already moving. And that’s usually what you have to do prior to. So just define success first of all, and what that means to you, because it is different for everyone. And then if it is jarring, well, get your package together. Get your songs together, make sure they’re mixed and mastered properly.
Are there visuals? Are there, maybe not the whole music video bank, but some visuals to represent who you are. So people get it because you are selling and pitching, while you are un-signed. If that isn’t your goal then that’s not necessarily the only way to do it. There are many ways to do it and build your fan base first and foremost right online. You can do that these days.
So that would be my piece of advice. And I think your enthusiasm and your passion will determine your longevity. If that’s also something that you want, but you can also get in and get out, get your bag and leave as well. Not everyone wants a longevity and that’s okay too.
And where can we go to keep up on all things Mya?
Well, everyone, you can find me on social media at MyaPlanet9. That’s M-Y-A P-L-A-N-E-T, the number nine. And then my website is Myamya.com. It has everything in there. My wine, my free vegan starter guide is in there, the new albums, all the singles that I’ve ever released, what I’m up to in the events section, all kinds of stuff. I hope everyone has a happy holiday season and you enjoy the new single and take care of yourselves out here.