Misha B in Manchester, 2012
|Birth name||Misha Amber Bryan|
10 February 1992 |
Manchester, England, United Kingdom
|Associated acts||The X Factor Finalists 2011|
Misha Amber Bryan (born 10 February 1992), known by her stage name Misha B, is a British singer, songwriter and rapper. Born and raised in Manchester's Moss Side and Longsight districts, she entered music by studying a Vocal Artist course at Trafford College, as well as taking part in busking and open mic nights. Misha B rose to notability as a semi-finalist on the eighth series of The X Factor, after which she signed a record deal with Relentless Records.
In April 2012, Misha B released a free mixtape entitled Why Hello World; it contained a sample of her debut single "Home Run", which in July peaked on the UK Singles Chart at number 11. Misha B released her second single "Do You Think of Me" on 4 November 2012, which peaked at number 9 on the UK Singles Chart. In Autumn 2012, she supported American rapper Nicki Minaj on the United Kingdom leg of her Pink Friday: Reloaded Tour and was nominated as Best Newcomer at the MOBO Awards. In 2013, she released her second mixtape Knock Knock and her third single "Here's to Everything (Ooh La La)" which peaked at number 35 on the UK Singles Chart. Misha B is also involved in activism and serves as the joint patron of the UK's annual National Diversity Awards.
Misha B was born Misha Amber Bryan on 10 February 1992, to Florence Bryan (a former heroin addict) and an unknown father. She is of Jamaican heritage. From three months old Misha B and elder sister, Monique, were raised by their maternal aunt Lily, living between Longsight, Hulme and Moss Side amongst the more impoverished areas of Greater Machester. Misha B spoke of her upbringing, "I will always look upon Lily as my mum, I've never had that relationship with my birth mum... we don't know each other. But I respect the fact she carried me for all those months, but when it comes to my mum Lil...she's a great role model in everything she does."
As a teenager Misha B attended Trinity C.E. High School in Hulme, where she played football for the Manchester United under-16s. Her first entry into a music career came when she began writing poetry, moved on to rapping and then progressed to singing. Misha B began to take her vocals abilities more seriously aged fourteen describing music as her only outlet and singing assisting her self-understanding. In 2010 she started a Vocal Artist course at the Manchester Music Base, at Trafford College in Manchester. There, she was coached by Leanne Brown, who had a hit with "Flowers" in 2000 as part of UK garage duo Sweet Female Attitude. Misha B entered the Manchester open mic circuit aged eighteen, and busked outside Manchester's Arndale Centre.
2011: The X Factor
Misha B's breakthrough into the music industry came following her appearance on the eighth series of The X Factor. In her first audition, she sang Aretha Franklin's cover of "Respect". The Voice recounted her performance as being "confident" and "show-stopping", and as a promising sign of Misha B's future in the competition. In a review of the series, The Daily Telegraph picked her performance of "Rolling in the Deep"(Adele) as one of the highlights of the series, saying she "oozed star quality from the start... Like a 21st century Grace Jones or an urban Lady Gaga, the teenager seemed like a proper pop star already."
Noted for her "Lauryn Hill-like rap-singing style", she was mentored by American recording artist Kelly Rowland and finished fourth. Misha B was involved in a controversy during the third live show when judge Tulisa Contostavlos accused her of making "mean comments" and judge Louis Walsh accused her of being a "bully" backstage. Both later apologised. The other two panel members and several contestants defended Misha B during and after the show. Judge Gary Barlow later said he believed the wrongful allegations had ended Misha B's chances of winning the competition.
The Daily Telegraph and bluesandsoul.com identified Misha B as one of the most gifted singers and BBC 1xtra regarded her as one of the more credible artists to emerge from the show, a "break from the traditional X Factor contestant" and that Misha B could be noted for her "show-stopping performances". In reference to her time on the show, Misha B spoke to grammy.com in 2013, saying "I experienced not only highs but my share of lows on The X Factor, but it has set me up with the thick skin needed for this industry... I will always be grateful for my time on the show. I mean, it got me to where I needed to be."
Misha B's performances during The X Factor
|Show||Song choice||Theme||Save Performance|
|Auditions||"Respect" (Aretha Franklin)||Free choice||None (Advanced)|
|Bootcamp 1||"Born This Way" (Lady Gaga)||Bootcamp challenge||None (Advanced)|
|Bootcamp 2||"Survivor" (Destiny's Child)||Free choice||None (Advanced)|
|Judges' houses||"Fly" (Nicki Minaj featuring Rihanna)||Free choice||None (Advanced)|
|Live show 1||"Rolling in the Deep" (Adele)||Britain vs America||None (Safe)|
|Live show 2||"Would I Lie To You?" (Charles and Eddie)||Love and Heartbreak||None (Safe)|
|Live show 3||"Purple Rain" (Prince)||Rock||None (Safe)|
|Live show 4||"Tainted Love" (Soft Cell)||Halloween||"Use Somebody" (Kings of Leon)|
|Live show 5||"Proud Mary" (Creedence Clearwater Revival)||Floorfillers||None (Safe)|
|Live show 6||"Born this Way" (Lady Gaga)||Lady Gaga vs. Queen||"Who You Are" (Jessie J)|
|Live Show 7||"I Have Nothing" (Whitney Houston)||Movie Week||None (Safe)|
|Live Show 8||"Girls Just Want To Have Fun" (Cyndi Lauper)||Guilty pleasures||"Out Here on My Own" (Lesley Gore)|
|"Killing Me Softly With His Song" (Roberta Flack)||Heroes|
|Semi finals||"Dancing in the Street (Martha and the Vandellas)||Motown||Leaving Performance "Who You Are" (Jessie J)|
|"Perfect" (P!nk)||Songs to get you to the final|
2012: Why Hello World
Shortly after Misha B left The X Factor, she performed a live freestyle F64 for SB.TV on 24 December 2011. In February 2012 it was announced that she had signed a record deal with the Relentless Records; Charlene Grant from Modest! Management became responsible for her management. She then began touring as part of The X Factor contestants from 25 February to 4 April. Whilst on the tour, Misha B spent time working on her first mixtape, Why Hello World, mixed by DJ Stylus and released for free download on 27 April. The following week it became BBC Radio 1Xtra's mixtape of the week. The mixtape features a collection of original material including samples of original songs – "Big Dreaming", "Last Forever" and "Home Run" (plus covers of "Rolling in the Deep", "Mirror", "Unpretty", "Run the World", "Crew Love" and "Climax"). The mixtape received positive reviews and gained over 16,000 downloads and 25,000 streams.
Her debut single "Home Run", co-written and produced by British songwriter MNEK, was released on 15 July by Relentless Records and charted at number 11 on the UK Singles Chart. The music video for the single which was directed by Rohan Blair-Mangat, premiered on 15 June. An accompanying EP was released, with remixes from artists including Kat Krazy and Zed Bias; and she recorded various performances of "Home Run", including an acoustic version for i-D magazine and for SB.TV on 11 July. Misha B performed "Home Run" at both the nominations and awards ceremony for the MOBO Awards. She also performed "Home Run" at the BBC 1Xtra Live 2012 concert at the Manchester Apollo, singing Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" and a new song "Runway"; duetting with Daley on his single Remember Me covering for Jessie J.
Misha B headlined Manchester Pride on 27 August with crowds of 150,000 to celebrate LGBT culture. Misha B also toured as Nicki Minaj's supporting act for her United Kingdom leg of the Pink Friday: Reloaded Tour, which took place 21 October to 7 November.
Her second single, "Do You Think of Me", co-written by herself, Ayak Thiik and TMS and co-produced by herself and TMS, was released on 4 November, and the music video was released on 8 October. "Do You Think of Me" peaked at number 9 on the UK Singles Chart on 11 November. The Official Charts Company recorded that the single reached numbers 3 and 2 on their 1Xtra Singles Top 40 chart and VH1 Urban Chart Top 20, respectively on 10 November. In October, performed an acoustic version for Trevor Nelson's 1Xtra Live Lounge, plus a cover of Labrinth and Emeli Sande's "Beneath Your Beautiful". Misha B also performed an acoustic cover for MSN, plus a Halloween-themed acoustic cover of Michael Jackson's Thriller.
"Ride or Die", the B-side to Angel's "Time After Time", featured Misha B and was released on 29 November, with a music video published a week later on 6 December. The track was composed by Misha B, Sirach Charles (Angel) and Kassa Alexander. 4music described their joint work as "pretty impressive, pretty soulful and pretty darn emotional too!”
2013: Knock Knock
In January, Misha B headlined the half-time show for the American National Basketball Association (NBA) game between the Detroit Pistons and New York Knicks in London. "Here's to Everything (Ooh La La)"—her third single from her forthcoming debut album—was premiered on The Hits Radio in February. A lyric video and an official video followed in February and March, respectively. On 12 February, she released her second mixtape, Knock Knock, which contained six snippets of original songs (including "Here’s To Everything", "Alien Avenue / I Need a Dollar", "Ugly Love" and "Silent Cry") and two covers Otis Redding's "Respect" and an a cappella version of American girl-group SWV's song "Weak".
During 2013, Misha B performed at various locations including Club Sauce in the Royal Vauxhall Tavern, at the 2013 Young Scot Awards at the Glasgow Crowne Plaza and Clyde Auditorium, the 2013 Birmingham Pride Festival, the farewell party for Lord Mayor Gavin Robinson and the JLS Foundation and Cancer Research UK fundraiser in London. She also performed her first non-European gig at the NRJ Music Tour 2013 in Beirut, Lebanon. She continued performing, including at the Yahoo Wireless Festival, V Festival and Manchester Pride Festival. On 10 August, she sang the National Anthem at Wembley Stadium for the annual FA Community Shield fixture.
On 21 July, Misha B duetted with British singer Charlie Brown on "Floodgates Part 2" was released on to iTunes. On 21 August, she released a free freestyle rap called "MishStyle". that revisited her "fiery" rap roots, while "proudly showcasing her versatility". In September, Misha B supported Krept and Konan in an acoustic session for SBTV of their "disturbingly evocative" autobiographical rap "My Story" from their UK top ten album charting “Young Kingz” mixtape.
On 25 July 2013, her second single "Do You Think of Me" was included in The X Factor's "ultimate mash-up" (a video trailer for the show's tenth series) of tracks by 13 former contestants chosen to represent a decade of The X Factor's influence on the UK charts, and her first two singles were included on The X Factor - The Greatest Hits compilation.
Leading up to the release of a EP called Room 303, she released a video of a jam session of herself and some of her 'BombSquad' performing "Swimming Pools (Drank)" by Kendrick Lamar. In an interview with on BBC 1xtra Misha B informed CJ Beatz that intended to release her debut album after her fourth official single release. For the album she has collaborated with Emeli Sandé, MNEK, Mr Hudson, TMS, Cutfather and Naughty Boy. In an interview for 4Music she said that the album will be "eclectic" and for MTV that the album will feature her rapping, but not excessively. On 4 March 2014 it was announced that she had left her old label and had set up her own label and brand called Emboom under which will release her EP Room 303. Once established, she also intends to sign other acts once it is established and a fashion clothing line.
Musical style and influences
Misha B has noted the musical influences on her of growing up in Moss Side (especially during the local carnival and parade season) and the influence of Michael Jackson and various artists including Stevie Wonder, Tina Turner, Missy Elliott, Lauryn Hill. Misha B has said that her music style can best be described as "free", and that she does not want to be boxed in by any one style. SBTV considered Misha B capable of performing in any genre. Regarding her own releases Home Run is a fusion of multiple genres – R&B, hip-hop, grime, dance, pop, soul, reggae, drum and bass, combined with Misha's 'soulful vocals'. Do You Think of Me is an up-tempo R&B track that fuses urban and dance music, with its "90′s club-meets-tribal-flavour". While her third release fused R&B with reggae, pop, drum & bass elements. In separate interviews she has said "one thing that's the same in all my songs is that drum beat, that kick" and "drums and rhythm are a real priority to me".
Misha B has been compared to several female artists, including Missy Elliott, Chaka Khan, Jennifer Hudson, Nicki Minaj, Tina Turner, Grace Jones and Eartha Kitt; grammy.com noted that her singing and rapping abilities were similar to Lauryn Hill. SoulBounce described her vocals as "stylistically speaking... falling in line somewhere between Missy Elliott's quirkiness and Lauryn Hill's raw soulfulness". Misha B has noted the comparisons to Missy Elliott, but considers them to be artistically different.
Misha B's has been described by 4 Music as having "powerful and soulful vocals",  and "powerhouse R&B vocals". BBC 1xtra said she had a "huge soulful voice". The N.M.E reviewing Do You Think of Me noted her "stupendous" vocals. The backstagepass. biz described Misha B as "a completely unique and diverse artist", and that "hidden depths are revealed as her exceptional vocals connect with instrumental rapture." The Redbrick student publication reviewing Misha B’s live performance on the Nicki Minaj tour said "It was great to hear that her voice, which sounds powerful on recordings and post-production, was just as good, if not even better, when performing live."
Misha B frequently performs covers; in September 2012, she covered Alicia Keys' track "Girl on Fire" described by one critic as that "awkward moment when someone sings your new song better than you", the following month she covered "Diamonds" (Rihanna song). Misha B has said that while soul was the 'foundation', that she loved combining singing and raping; and is noted for adding her own raps to covers, including her take on Aretha Franklin's "Respect", Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" and Cyndi Lauper"Girls Just Want To Have Fun" while she was on The X Factor; and later on covers of Jay Z and Kanye West's "No Church in the Wild", and Drake's "Started from the Bottom".
Awards and nominations
Misha B has received three nominations for her work in music, including Best Newcomer at the 2012 MOBO Awards.
|2012||MOBO Awards||Best Newcomer||Herself||Nominated|
|4music Video Honours||Best Breakthrough Artist||Nominated|
|2013||Official Mixtape Awards||Best Female Artist of 2012||Nominated|
The following causes have been supported by Misha B:
- Misha B, alongside Jody Cundy, Peter Norfolk, Peter Tatchell, is a joint patron of the UK's National Diversity Awards, an annual event which recognises positive role models and organisations who are connected to diversity in the United Kingdom (including race, gender, gender identity, disability, sexual orientation, religion and/or age). In 2013 she was been quoted as saying that the awards were a "great opportunity to recognise and celebrate diversity in all its glory" and that she looked forward to on the long term help raise the profile of this "awesome cause". 'It’s my honour to continue celebrating diversity in all its glory during 2014’ 
- In December 2012, Misha B appeared in "The Taking Care of Christmas" on 4Music (as part of a partnership with youth charity vinspired) which highlighted the benefits of volunteering for a good cause and how it can make job applicants more attractive to prospective employers.
- Noting that "busking played such an important part at the beginning" of her career Misha B helped London Mayor Boris Johnson launched Gigs 2013 London's annual busking competition in March 2013 which attracted 4,500 entrants.
- With a relevant childhood and family experience herself, Misha B supported the launch of a new initiative by The Children's Society on the 19th November 2013, that seeks to tackle the high levels of poverty and neglect faced by an estimated 150,000 vulnerable children and young people living in the Greater Manchester area.“I can relate to what some of these young people are going through and now, I’m in a position to raise awareness of the issues behind problems." "I know that, like me, they can escape the poverty trap if they have the right support, and if services work together more so that less children slip through the net." In 2013 Misha B also designed a cushion for BBC Children in Need annual children's charity event.
|Why Hello World||
|Title||Year||Peak chart positions||Album|
|"Do You Think of Me"||9||—||57||11|
|"Here's to Everything (Ooh La La)"||2013||35||7||—||36|
|"—" denotes single that did not chart or were not released.|
As featured artist
|Single||Year||Peak chart positions||Note|
|"Wishing on a Star"
(as part of The X Factor finalists 2011 featuring JLS and One Direction)
|"Ride or Die"
(Angel featuring Misha B)
|2012||—||—||—||Time After Time (Remixes) – EP|
|"Floodgates (Part 2)"
(Charlie Brown featuring Misha B)
|2013||—||—||—||Floodgates (Remixes) – EP|
|The Ultimate X Factor Mash Up (featuring Misha B)||2013||—||—||—||–|
|"—" denotes single that did not chart or were not released.|
|"Wishing on a Star"||2011|
|"Home Run"||2012||Rohan Blair-Mangat|
|"Do You Think of Me?"||Ben And Nicole|
|"Ride or Die" (Angel featuring Misha B)||Adam Deacon & Paul Akinrinlola|
|"Started From The Bottom (Drake Cover)"||2013||Joshua Reeves|
|"Here's to Everything (Ooh La La)"||2013||Justin Dickel|