Blog/What Happened to Singer Mya?
What Happened to Singer Mya?
7 min read

What Happened to Singer Mya?

7 min read
what-happened-to-mya
Naida AllenOct 28, 2021

Songwriter and singer, Mya – well known for her performance in the 2001 rendition of Lady Marmalade – took a 7-year hiatus back in 2008. Fans were left wondering what happened to Mya, and Thrillz is here to fill in the details. Stay tuned...

Mya: The Life and Soul of Pop

Mýa (born Mýa Marie Harrison) is a Grammy award winner and pop icon from the 2000s music world. A fashion trendsetter – from double denim to low-rise jeans – who also broke through the slew of RnB sounds of the era.

Vogue's Alex Frank famously dubbed her as "interesting and seductive", managing to compete with popular artists like Britney Spears and N'Sync. Nothing dulled her shine against other stars.

(Left to right) Lil Kim, Pink, Mya and Christina Aguilera performing the new sexy rendition of Lady Marmalade in 2001. Image credit: Kevin Mazur/WireImage
(Left to right) Lil Kim, Pink, Mya and Christina Aguilera performing the new sexy rendition of Lady Marmalade in 2001. Image credit: Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Mya performing the rendition of Patti LaBelle's 1974 hit 'Lady Marmalade' at the Grammys boosted her fame; she performed the song alongside other breakthrough artists: Christina Aguilera, Lil Kim and Pink.

The Journey to a Debut Album and Beyond

The singer released her debut album Mya in 1998 with Interscope Records, followed by other studio albums, Fear of Flying (with the popular song "Case of the Ex") and Moodring. In the US alone, Mya had over 3.2 million album sales across her career, winning several awards, including a Grammy nomination, and her songs smashed the top charts.

Mya's self-titled debut album was released in 1998 with Interscope Records. Image credit: Apple Music.
Mya's self-titled debut album was released in 1998 with Interscope Records. Image credit: Apple Music.

Mya's vibe slowly transformed from pop into the R&B club music of its time. She reached the pinnacle of her career with her risqué song "Case of the Ex", pushing herself as a songwriter and singing from the heart. She dropped Interscope Records shortly after her success,  hoping to sign with a new label.

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What Happened to Mya?

In short, life had thrown a few curveballs at Mya. The singer had spoken out about the difficulties she faced in the music industry; from critics challenging her vocal abilities to not having the creative autonomy she desired.

The singer also faced some distressing news that her mum was battling Breast Cancer, so Mya took some time-out to support her.

Mya, the Grammy award-winning sensation, performing live for her debut album's 20th anniversary. Image credit: Sachin Jethwa/Shutterstock.
Mya, the Grammy award-winning sensation, performing live for her debut album's 20th anniversary. Image credit: Sachin Jethwa/Shutterstock.

Unsurprisingly, Mya is a hustler and the results prove it. Her music is her fuel; but she was left disappointed by her label Universal Motown Records and management issues. In 2008, Motown accidentally leaked her album Liberation. Subsequently, Mya then decided to take a break, releasing herself from the recording contract, vowing to work on herself.

From Record Label Lackey to Independent Artist

Despite what happened to Mya, it's not all doom and gloom! When hit with a scandal, Mya took the best approach: go your own way. So with the support from her mentor, J. Harrison, Mya took the plunge to create her own label, and become the record producer of her own music. A true genius.

Before she established her own label, Mya shared with Essence Magazine that "I began to understand clearly that there was my music, there was the art of music and then there was the business – and they were separate things – but they can merge beautifully together if there are no egos involved."

Mya's song "Case of the Ex" was a Top 20 hit smash. Image credit: University Music Entertainment/Interscope Records.
Mya's song "Case of the Ex" was a Top 20 hit smash. Image credit: University Music Entertainment/Interscope Records.

Problems at the Bank

In an interview with Grazia Magazine, Mya shared how difficult it was to be an independent artist. "The biggest challenge is self-financing 100% of everything," she says, "recording costs, studio time, engineer fees, travel costs are all a part of the creation process.”

As Mya stated, she poured her heart and soul into her music – which inevitably resulted in some budget cuts. Paparazzi took wind of the fact that the pop star was allegedly 'broke', having to downsize from her New York City crib to a tiny studio apartment in LA.

"Everything is expensive so I live like a bum on purpose to serve my purpose." Mya says, in response to downsizing to a tiny studio apartment in LA. Image credit: Newspix/Getty.
"Everything is expensive so I live like a bum on purpose to serve my purpose." Mya says, in response to downsizing to a tiny studio apartment in LA. Image credit: Newspix/Getty.

Back in 2018, Mya told Vibe that she had to "downgrade her entire life" because "life is expensive". Girl, preach! The interview also revealed a lot of personal information, from the fact that Mya had stopped dating, inviting friends over, and didn't even bother to buy furniture for her tiny studio apartment.

Mya sugar-coated this frugality by saying "I live like a bum on purpose to serve my purpose." The singer is simply dedicated to her career, and as a woman in the music industry, she slays!

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A Secret Wedding

Mya kept her love life on the down-low, until photos of her secret wedding in Seychelles landed on the front page of TMZ. Mya's wedding gown was every little girl's dream come true; a cloud white wedding gown with a silk tulle skirt, plunging lace neckline, and an elegant sheer veil. 

The singer, Mya, posed against a beautiful backdrop in her fairytale-like wedding gown. Image credit: TMZ.
The singer, Mya, posed against a beautiful backdrop in her fairytale-like wedding gown. Image credit: TMZ.

 

The mystery new husband wasn't revealed, but Mya's smile spoke a thousand words. The phrase "you have to kiss a few frogs until you find your prince" couldn't be more apt; Mya had probably one of the most romantic getaways in showbiz (and fairytales for that matter).

Mya Rising from the Ashes

Behind the scenes, the star had been very busy making new music in her studio. For several years, Mya had been working on establishing herself as an independent artist, creating her own label, songs and also, founded her own business under the registered trademark Planet 9.

Mya pulled another trick out of the bag when she released K.I.S.S (Keep It Sexy and Simple) breaking through the Japanese music market. A totally different vibe to her original content, but it still caught international attention. Suffice to say, Mya will always have the IT Factor.

Mya at the Planet 9 launch for her new plant-based wine "Fine Wine". Image credit: David Livingston/Getty Images.
Mya at the Planet 9 launch for her new plant-based wine "Fine Wine". Image credit: David Livingston/Getty Images.

Her seventh album, Smoove Jones, was the first album released in 2016 under her own label (Planet 9) exclusively for digital download via Apple Music. Smoove Jones received a Grammy nomination for Best R&B album, giving Mya the comeback she truly deserved.

In tribute to her twentieth anniversary, Mya released her eighth studio album The Knock Out (TKO). She's continued to please her long-time fans, performing at New York City's Pride in 2016 and touring the world. 20 years on and Mya's name is still on everyone's lips.

Mya's new single cover art "Just Call My Name". Image credit: Dametreus Ward.
Mya's new single cover art "Just Call My Name". Image credit: Dametreus Ward.

Beyond the Recording Studio

The sassy singer boasts many talents beyond music. Mya regularly advocates for the Vegan lifestyle, prompting her fans to follow in her stead, and has now released a new vegan wine: Fine Wine. Oh BTW, if you want some merch and are keen to keep up with the latest news from Mya, check out her website.

After what happened to Mya, she's much more attuned to her own needs. In fact, the singer strongly believes you should remove toxic people and things that kill your vibe or suck your energy. Mya also promotes the importance of self-love, prioritising yourself and choosing positivity. Something we should all do more of!

While You're Here

Looking for a 'Happy Birthday' message from Mya? Or maybe need some words of inspiration before the wedding day? Well, you're in luck. You can book a personalised message from Mya right here at Thrillz! It's Now or Never...

Naida Allen
Naida AllenCopywriter
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