Few artists have the star power, inventiveness, and deep-seated ability to capture audiences at a young age and sustain career longevity for more than two decades. However, for singer and songwriter, Mýa, mastering the art of reinvention without gimmicks or compromise of her artistry is one of the many reasons she has truly connected with audiences worldwide.
Now in this next chapter, she is determined to redefine success on her terms. As an independent artist, she plays by her own rules with no signs of pumping the brakes anytime soon. The recent release of her new single, "Worth It," solidifies just that. Leaning into a seductive flow with style and sass and hypnotic verses of assurance, such as "Best believe I own it," is an ode to tapping into your higher self.
When asked what the inspiration behind the track was, the DC native said, "The song is all about pushing through. Pushing through obstacles and challenges and defining everything for yourself that ultimately leads to victory in the end."
21Ninety caught up with the GRAMMY® Award-winning R&B star to chat about all things relating to self-love, finding inner peace, ushering in a new distinct sound, and most importantly, finding the strength to keep pressing forward when the chips are down.
Dontaira Terrell: Congratulations on the release of your new song, "Worth It!" You're rapping on this song, so what made you say to yourself, "The time is now for me to flex my bars?" (laughs)
Mýa: I just like to call it, speaking my piece in rhythm because I initially wasn't introduced to the world as a rapper, but as a singer. I love classic hip hop and grew up around rhythm, and as a musician and dancer, it runs through my veins, so the bars flow naturally throughout a lot of my independent projects, so it's not the go-round. But it is the first time I considered releasing my spittin' skills in an actual single. It just felt natural and true to exactly where I am in life. Spiritually ratchet, classy, boss.
DT: This last year with the pandemic has been a different experience for everyone, but what was your biggest takeaway while quarantined?
Mýa: I did have a revelation on how addicted to work I was (laughs). When I finally became stationary in my own house that I'd purchased in 2005, I realized I'd never experienced the wildlife in all my years having the home, as I did during the months that I quarantined there in 2020. But I always found peace. I felt like I was in The Wiz or The Wizard of Oz by finding magic in your own backyard and realizing how special it can be. It was the first time in my entire career I was stationary for that long and able to spend quality time with family. Life passes by so quickly, so it was a nice reality check that I needed, but it was also a nice reset for me to finally sit down away from the road and go within spiritually, for which I'm thankful, so I can also lead better.
DT: In what ways do you continue to nourish your overall wellbeing daily?
Mýa: I like to practice aligning/balancing my chakras, tune into elevating frequencies and meditation sounds, especially at night while I'm sleeping. Daily stretching and making sure that I get some movement in with a dose of sunshine has done me wonders. During the pandemic, I made sure I worked out outside every day to get my vitamin D in, because it's so easy to wallow in your own depressing thoughts, or even the bombarding news, especially during the height of the pandemic. Too much information, especially negative or fear mongering info, leaves us mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausted, so I made it a point and a habit every day to reconnect with more of the natural world by laying outside, playing with my pets, taking walks, even night walks, pulling out the telescope and getting lost in the simple things.
One night I even slept outside on the backyard terrace with my dog. We stargazed, listened to all the wildlife (well he howled) and those types of things bring me right back to God in an instant. Sometimes, we forget all the beauty around us because we're so tuned into society, it's chaotic and backward ways. That box can become our worst enemy. And when I say box, I mean the television, the computer, the devices, or the very limitations we place on ourselves from a fear based or defeated way of thinking. Technology, it can also be an unhealthy addiction, so I made sure I didn't tune in too much but just enough to be aware of what's happening and consciously not become a trauma poster, because it was already tough for all of us, digesting the many things that were happening last year and yet continue to happen.
DT: Do you have any favorite affirmations you tell yourself daily?
Mýa: I'm always creating my own depending on the day. But I make it mandatory to practice gratitude when I first wake up. We hear it all the time, but it works because we can quickly go straight to our phones and emails and start the day with stress before we even give thanks for life itself. So, I've learned to make sure that I spend a minimum of 10 minutes before I do anything to thank the universe, the creator for life and the breath in my body. "I have a family. I have love all around me. I have everything that I need." I must remind myself of these things because the world constantly teaches you that you're not good enough and you’re always lacking something...."You need to look a certain way, change this part of yourself, BUY these THINGS or THIS is what success is supposed to look like, etc."
I'm constantly reminding myself of my own definitions or even redefining... whether it be beauty, success, happiness, because your definition and outcome can be and look completely different than other people's. And there’s nothing's wrong with that, because we're all already different, and operate differently. I certainly don't think everyone's life is supposed to be the same, but we absorb all of these voices daily. But in the mornings, I think about all of the good things in life, and I have a much better day when I allow myself the time to do that.
DT: I aspire to get to your level of patience and spiritual wellness.
Mýa: I've always been a pretty chill, laid-back person. I realized that I would've probably crashed in many areas of my life if I were in a rush. Over time, I've learned time and time again, that taking your time, working on YOUR time, and sometimes not even on your time, but God's time is a healthier approach to life. Of course, there will always be pressures, timelines, and unrealistic or undesirable standards that man has placed over your head. We even do it to ourselves. There’s no experience like life experience and dealing with so many energies all of the time, that will teach you patience. But experiencing bliss and witnessing the beauty on earth has proven to me time after time, that there's another side to this thing called life. Being a creative also helps me tap into another magical world of possibility and harmony that I never want to leave, which is why I think the arts are so important. It's definitely a spiritual experience.
DT: You've spent the last 23 years as an internationally known singer and songwriter. What do you think goes into building a loyal fan base?
Mýa: I think the personal connection with the fans matters most. My core fans that've been riding with me on this independent journey absorb and understand every lyric, follow every interview, and get a little piece of me each time I step out. We've also been able to develop a closer relationship because of social media and all of the new platforms being birthed. I really like communicating with people and that's where the true connection is sometimes, beyond just music. Once people can personally get a human piece of you, I feel like the bond becomes stronger. They can also be inspired or empowered by you, and that's the sauce that really matters.
DT: What has been your greatest achievement so far in your journey?
Mýa: My greatest achievement so far in my journey is finding peace. Every day, of course, is a battle when you step out into the world with the way it’s set up. So...I'm very, very proud of myself for my resilience, pushing through, figuring it out, and making a way or building a door when doors might be closed or when the underestimation is there. The world will have you caught up in a jail. I'm not speaking about literal jail (well that too), but I'm talking about a mental prison, and sometimes those devastations and those obstacles are our ultimate blessings.
I am free as a bird, and I'm healthy, alive, and breathing. I dictate my schedule, what I'm going to invest in, who I allow in my space, what the budget is going to be, etc. While also being able to take care of my family, loved ones, and beyond. I'm a better person when I have control of my life, and I can ultimately lead with love because nobody's abusing my body, mind, freedom, finances, or God given talents. It's all about having clarity so that you can be more connected to your source and utilize your gift for the right things versus sometimes the self-serving agendas of others. And now that I have life experiences and wisdom under my belt, I can utilize that to help people reach their best selves and ultimately live their best lives!