In the ‘90s and early ‘00s, Mýa was ranked alongside R&B heavy-hitters, Brandy, Monica and Aaliyah. Although boasting the looks, moves and voice, Mýa somehow her footing in the industry–like many of her cohorts.
Idolator recently caught up with the Grammy-winner, where she revealed that following the “Lady Marmalade” collaboration, she kept in touch with Lil’ Kim and bonded with Pink creatively. There was no mention of Christina Aguilera. She also spoke on going independent, the current state of R&B and her accidental success in the Japanese market.
What do you think of the current state of R&B?
I love where music is because you can make fusions, you can fuse genres together but you can also go in different lanes. Usher’s doing dance music. A lot of urban or R&B artists have crossed over and taken those risks. It’s just world music. It feels good. People wanna party!
What happened with your unreleased fourth album?
I moved to Motown from Interscope Records in 2005 and I started working on Liberation in 2006. It was supposed to come out the same year, but the release date was pushed back a couple of times. On the final change of the release date, it was not held back in Japan, so it was accidentally released and from there it leaked everywhere online.
That prompted you to go independent?
My lawyer told me, you can either spend time in court suing them and spend more money — more time and get a headache, or you can go independent. It’s just a little detail that was overlooked that cost years of transitioning from a label to another label. All that work in the studio was gone.
That had to hurt.
It hurt, but at the same time it brought about so much new opportunity on an independent basis. It’s been a blessing in disguise, and I think it was meant to happen. I’m not bitter about it. There was a little dark time, but only for a couple of months. It was a hard time, but I thought there are two ways I can go – the positive side or the negative side. I’m a role model, whether I like it or not, and a teacher. So drugs and alcohol were not an option for me but in any other circumstance it could be really easy to take that route.
Can you explain your Japanese connection?
Well, that fourth album was leaked in Japan and they loved it. That was the only territory that had it. But they wanted to know why there were no videos, and how come there’s no support? So there was a company in Japan called Manhattan Records that responded to that and wanted to know what I was up to and asked for an exclusive album with me. I said sure. I put it together in my basement studio and that was the first independent project I released. It was very catered to their market sonically. It was called Sugar & Spice and came out in 2008.
How did your current album come about?
In 2010 the Japanese label approached me again about doing another album and I called it K.I.S.S. [Keep It Sexy & Simple] and it was released in 2011. It was such a good album because I’d been sitting on all of these great songs. I thought, this needs to be shared with the rest of the world. So I started with the States in December 2011. K.I.S.S. is a gift to my fans. I put the album together myself.
So would you consider another major label deal after all you’ve gone through?
Yes. A huge transition happened in the industry last year. There were a lot of mergers, a lot of lay-offs and a lot of flip-flopping of staff, so everything has changed at the companies. I thought I would wait until they get settled. With the expertise that I’ve acquired in this independent phase, I have a lot more to bring to the table as an artist and as a businesswoman. It’s a perfect time for that. I know my fans want the videos. People have expectations from me and I never want to do anything underneath those expectations. They wanna hear me, they wanna see me. I want to give and do that in an impactful way – and you need a major label to do that. I’ll be entertaining that immediately.