Mýa

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Not to be confused with the artist M.I.A.
Mýa
Mýa 2009.jpg
Mýa in 2009
Background information
Birth name Mýa Marie Harrison
Born (1979-10-10) October 10, 1979 (age 34)
Washington, D.C., United States
Genres R&B  · hip hop  · soul  · pop  · dance
Occupations Singer-songwriter  · record producer  · dancer  · designer  · actress
Instruments Vocals  · violin [1]
Years active 1998–present
Labels Interscope  · Universal Motown  · Manhattan  · Planet 9
Associated acts Pink  · Dru Hill  · Sisqó  · Lil' Kim  · Christina Aguilera  · Missy Elliott  · Sean Paul  · Silkk the Shocker
Website www.myamya.com

Mýa Marie Harrison (born October 10, 1979),[1][2] better known as Mýa /ˈm.ə/, is an American R&B singer, record producer, philanthropist, and actress. Harrison's eponymous debut album with (through) Interscope Records was released in April 1998. It sold over one million copies in the United States, producing the gold-certified top ten single "It's All About Me" featuring Sisqó.[3] Her second studio album, platinum-plus selling Fear of Flying was released in 2000 and became a worldwide success, with single "Case of the Ex" becoming Mýa's breakthrough hit; topping the Australian Singles Chart for two consecutive weeks.[3][4]

In 2002, Harrison won her first (and to date, only) Grammy Award in the category for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals for her rendition of Labelle's 1975 hit "Lady Marmalade", a cover version she recorded alongside Christina Aguilera, rapper Lil' Kim and Pink for the Moulin Rouge! soundtrack (2001).[5] She released her third studio album, Moodring, in the summer of 2003. The album produced the smash hit "My Love Is Like...Wo" and was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America.[3]

Following a label change to Universal Motown, Mýa's oft-delayed fourth studio album, Liberation (2007), received a download-release in Japan only after her label accidentally leaked the album. With the decision to go independent and a decline in her popularity in the United States, Harrison was offered a recording contract with Manhattan Recordings (a division of Lexington Corp.), a record label based in Japan. Through that label, she recorded two exclusive albums for the Japanese music market, Sugar & Spice (2008) and, most recently, K.I.S.S. (Keep It Sexy & Simple) (2011).[6][7] In between recording those two albums, she launched her own independent record label Planet 9, and competed in Dancing with the Starsseason nine; finishing in second place.[8]

Aside from a music career, Harrison branched out into acting; making her feature-film debut in 1999's thriller In Too Deep starring LL Cool J and Omar Epps. She continued to score supporting roles in films such as Chicago (winning a Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Ensemble Cast); Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights (2004); Shall We Dance? (2004); and Cursed (2005).[9][10] She has endorsed several brands such as Coca-Cola, Gap, Iceberg, Tommy Hilfiger, and Motorola.

Harrison's contribution to music has earned her many accolades in the fields of pop and R&B music categories. In 2009, Billboard listed Mýa as one of their Hot 100 Artists of the 2000s; placing her in the 97th position.[11] As of October 2009, she has sold 3.2 million albums in the United States alone and 7 million albums worldwide.[12][13]

Biography[edit]

Early life and career beginnings[edit]

"The turning point was when I saw Savion Glover in 'Tap'. I watched the videotape and studied steps on the kitchen floor."—Mýa,The Washington Post[14]

Named in honor of author/poet author Maya Angelou,[15] Mýa Marie Harrison is one of three children born to an African American father and Italian American mother. Her father Sherman, a musician and singer, performed with a number of bands in the area; her mother Theresa worked as an accountant.[16] She grew up in suburban Washington D.C. with her two younger brothers Chaz and Nijel. As a child, she imitated Michael Jackson in her mother's high-heeled boots, using a spoon as a make-believe microphone.[14] Mýa took violin lessons throughout her childhood, but dancing was her primary after-school activity. Mýa started ballet lessons in 1982 when she was only two and jazz and tap when she was four.[14] Although she lost interest for several years, her interest waned at about age 8, but at age 12, it was rekindled.[14] Her passion was re-ignited in 1992 when she joined a professional troupe T.W.A (Tappers With Attitude) at age 10.[17] Her tap-dancing skills led to an opportunity to study with one of the best-known tap dancers in the country, Savion Glover of the Dance Theater of Harlem, when he came to Washington DC for a workshop. Glover later chose Mýa for a solo spot in a dance performance at the Kennedy Center[14][18]

With an African-American father and a mother of Italian descent, she sometimes had to endure insensitive comments about her ethnic background, but her accomplishments as a dancer helped her make the transition into adolescence and deal with its peer pressure. As she explained in an appearance on Canada's Much Music television show in January 2001:

There was a time in my life when I wasn't popular and accepted by kids in school. I was made fun of with braces and kinky hair, and being from a multicultural family, etcetera... And it really hurts when you're that age, but later when you get something of your own or you get involved in activities like a sport, you begin to be accepted for what you do, and your personality and who you are, instead of your clothes and how you look and the name designer brands you have on.

As a popular performer, Mýa would later draw from her experiences to speak to girls' groups as part of the Secret of Self-Esteem program for adolescents, addressing issues such as body image, peer pressure, and gender stereotypes. Learning steps from music videos landed her a stint from 1996 until 1998 as a hip-hop dancer for BET's "Teen Summit".[14] She also began teaching a children's hip-hop and jazz dance class in Camp Springs.[14] By age 15, Mýa's musical side took over and her professional-musician father helped her perfect her vocal abilities. When he realised that his daughter was serious about a career in music, Mýa's father began shopping around with her demo tape, eventually catching the interest of University Music president and CEO Haqq Islam.[17] After graduating high school at 16, Mýa took a few classes at the University of Maryland, College Park, but the teenager's primary focus was on the recording studio.

1998–2001: Mýa (debut album) & Fear of Flying[edit]

After signing with Interscope, Mýa spent the next two years recording and completing her debut studio album. The album featured production and collaborations from noteworthy hitmakers such as Missy Elliott, Babyface, Diane Warren, Dru Hill, Darryl Pearson and Silkk Tha Shocker and spawned the massively successful singles "It's All About Me", "Movin' On", and "My First Night with You".[18][19] She released her debut single, "It's All About Me" featuring fellow R&B singer Sisqó on February 14, 1998, which peaked at number six on the Billboard Hot 100 and number two on R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart respectively.[20] The single received a gold certification by the Recording Industry Association of America on June 4, 1998.[3] Her eponymous debut album was released April 21, 1998 in the United States and reached number 29 on the Billboard 200. The album sold 1.4 million copies in the United States and received a platinum certification by the Recording Industry Association of America on October 1, 1998; denoting shipments to US retailers of over 1,000,000 units.[3]

The album's second single "Movin' On", featured No Limit rapper Silkk Tha Shocker and peaked at number thirty-four on the Billboard Hot 100 and number four on the R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart respectively.[20] A third single, "My First Night with You" peaked at number twenty-eight on the Billboard Hot 100 and R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.[20] The album earned Mýa two Soul Train Music Award nominations for Best R&B/Soul or Rap New Artist and Best R&B/Soul Album – Female and a NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding New Artist.[21] In addition to her solo work, Mýa was featured with Ol' Dirty Bastard on Pras' Grammy-nominated 1998 hit "Ghetto Supastar" from the Bulworth soundtrack and "Take Me There" from The Rugrats Movie soundtrack, with Blackstreet, Blinky Blink, and Mase.[22]

Fear of Flying is a metaphor for the ups and downs of life. It's about handling things like an adult, knowing you must have faith to make anything happen.

—Mýa, Billboard

In 1999, Mýa began production on an album that would eventually become Fear of Flying. The title was partially inspired by Erica Jong 1973 novel, Fear of Flying which shared a lot of similarities toward female sexuality and development of second-wave feminism. The album featured contributions from Rodney Jerkins, Swizz Beatz, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Knobody, and Wyclef Jean. The majority of Fear of Flying was co-written and co-produced by Mýa and many of the album’s songs were about female empowerment. Mýa, who did some writing on her 1998 eponymous debut album, was heavily involved in the production of Fear of Flying, from writing and recording to producing, mixing, and mastering.[23]

On April 25, 2000, Fear of Flying was released and debuted at number fifteen on the Billboard 200 album chart with first week sales of 72,000 copies. Upon initial release, the album seemed to be suffering the dreaded sophomore slump. The album's first single "The Best of Me", featuring Jadakiss, under-performed on the charts, not even making it into the pop Top 40.[24]

The album's second single, the confrontational "Case of the Ex", proved to be a different matter and was a dance-heavy jam with attitude on it. Mýa confronts her man about an old lover who will not go away. "Case of the Ex" became Mýa's breakthrough hit topping the Australian Singles Chart for two consecutive weeks.[4] The song reached number two and three in the United States and United Kingdom respectively and in turn solidified Fear of Flying as a hit.[25][26]

With the success of "Case of the Ex", Interscope re-released Fear of Flying on November 7, 2000, with a revised tracklisting featuring two new songs, including the third single "Free" (which was previously on the Bait soundtrack) and a new track titled "Again & Again". "Free" was even more pop-friendly and became quite successful on MTV's TRL and at pop radio. Fear of Flying earned Mýa a Soul Train Music Award nomination for R&B/Soul Album – Female and a UK MOBO nomination for Best Album in 2001.[27][28] The album sold over a million copies in the United States and received a platinum certification by the Recording Industry Association of America on March 28, 2001.[3] Although Fear of Flying was received with mixed reviews, the album was a critical and commercial success; catapulting her career into superstardom. Fear of Flying hit as nearly hard as her debut, staying on Billboard 200 for 52 consecutive weeks.

In 2001, Mýa teamed up with Christina Aguilera (left), P!nk (center), and Lil' Kim (right) to record the global smash Lady Marmalade.

In 2001, Mýa lent her voice to two film soundtrack projects; Walt Disney's Atlantis: The Lost Empire and Baz Luhrmann's Moulin Rouge! soundtracks. On the Atlantis: The Lost Empire soundtrack, she performed and recorded the tender pop ballad "Where the Dream Takes You. The Diane Warren-penned song was featured during the closing credits of Disney's highly anticipated animated feature, and was worked at Top 40 and Adult Contemporary radio starting June 5, prior to the film's June 15 release date;[29] then she collaborated with singers Christina Aguilera, Lil' Kim, and P!nk on the remake of Labelle's 1975 hit "Lady Marmalade". Lady Marmalade was produced by hip-hip producers Missy Elliott and Rockwilder and released as the first single from the Moulin Rouge! soundtrack.[30] The single was a worldwide success. It topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart in its eighth week, spending five consecutive weeks at number one. Lady Marmalade became the third airplay-only track in the history of the chart to make it to the top. Since Billboard changed the eligibility rule in December 1998 to include all songs regardless of retail availability, only Aaliyah's "Try Again" (Blackground/Virgin) in June 2000 and "Angel" by Shaggy featuring Rayvon (MCA) March 2001 have made it to No. 1 without any sales points. Of the three tracks to now achieve this feat, "Marmalade" makes it to the top with the highest audience total (111 million listeners). "Angel" had 105 million in its only week at No. 1, while "Try" had 92 million in its sole week at the top.[31] The song reached number one in over fifteen countries including the United Kingdom and Australia. Lady Marmalade became Mýa's first chart-topper and third non-consecutive top ten on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.[32]

The foursome was invited to perform at the 2001 MTV Movie Awards; the performance was the show's biggest highlight of the night.[33] At 2001 MTV Video Music Awards Lady Marmalade was nominated for six moonmen, but only won two for Best Video from a Film and Video of the Year.[34][35]

In 2002, the quartet performed "Lady Marmalade" again at the 44th Grammy Awards and won a grammy for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals.[5][36]

In 2001, Mýa also paid a tribute to legendary music icon Janet Jackson at MTV Icon. She performed her own rendition of Jackson's classic hit The Pleasure Principle.[37]

2002–08: Moodring, Liberation and Sugar & Spice[edit]

Mýa at the 2003 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City

After the release and success of Fear of Flying, Mýa began to dabble in acting with a supporting role in the 2002 Academy Award-winning musical film, Chicago, in which she would win a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Ensemble Performance. In the following years, she continued appearing in films such as Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights (2004), Shall We Dance? (2004), and Cursed (2005).

On July 22, 2003, after much delay, Mýa released her third long-awaited studio album, Moodring. The album sold more than 113,000 copies in its first week and peaked at number 3 on Billboard 200, surpassing Mýa’s previous effort first-week sales. Originally titled Bittersweet, Moodring display an array of different emotions exploring Mýa’s playful and sexual side. The majority of Moodring was co-written and co-produced by Mýa and was influenced by different subjects and music styling's including techno, pop rock, soul, hip-hop, r&b, quiet storm, etc.The first single, the Missy Elliott-produced "My Love Is Like...Wo" became a smash hit and a summertime anthem for women. The video showcase a more sexier and risqué side of Mýa and became popular at MTV. The second single, the elegant-mid tempo track "Fallen" failed to duplicate the same success but however reached the top forty on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. Moodring stayed on the United States chart for a mere eighteen non-consecutive weeks and went on to be certified gold, selling 589,000 copies to date.[3][38][39]

Mýa was working on her fourth studio album on and off since 2004; she signed a six figure contract with Ford Modeling Agency in 2005. Originally conceived as a project called Control Freak, the album's first version was actually scheduled for a mid-2005 release and involving main production by Scott Storch, Dr. Dre, Lil Jon, Rockwilder and songwriter Sean Garrett.[40] Although she intended to release a dance track called "Let It Go" at a particular time,[41] the singer eventually decided to leave her management and A&M Records in fall 2005 before signing a new contract with Universal Motown.[42] Mýa began consulting a few other producers to collaborate on the album, renamed Liberation, and in mid-2006, a buzz track entitled "Ayo!" was released onto the internet.[43] Due to time-consuming "litigations, court, transitioning from label to label, teaching kids [at the Mya Art & Tech Foundation] and building a [recording] studio" however, the song was never picked up as a single and the album's release was pushed back again.[43] In March 2007, the album's actual lead single "Lock U Down", a Scott Storch-produced collaboration with Lil Wayne, was sent to radio. After its commercial failure, a second single entitled "Ridin'" was released, but as the song saw minor success on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart only,[44] Liberation was delayed once more and eventually bumped from the U.S. schedule. As a result, the album was never released physically anywhere but in Japan.[45] In 2008, Mýa parted ways with Motown. Having worked on new material since mid-2007, she contracted with Japanese R&B label Manhattan Records (a division of Lexington Group, not to be confused with the American adult contemporary label of the same name) to release new material. Her fifth studio album Sugar & Spice received a Japan-wide release in December 2008.[46] Composed of production by less known producers, the album produced a new version of her single "Fallen", a cover of Diana King's hit "Shy Guy", as well as the first and final single "Paradise".

2009–13: Beauty & the Streets and K.I.S.S. (Keep It Sexy & Simple)[edit]

Almost a year later, Mýa re-released her Japan-only album Sugar & Spice. The newer version of the album, entitled Sugar & Spice: The Perfect Edition, was released on August 5, 2009, containing new remixes and a new song titled "Wish You Were Here" featuring Malaysian artist Che'Nelle. During her downtime Mýa started her own independent label, entitled Planet 9 and inked a deal with J. Prince's Young Empire Music Group.[47] She released her first mixtape called Beauty & The Streets Vol.1 on September 29, 2009. The mixtape's first single, "Show Me Somethin'" featured Houston-based rapper Bun B and was sent to iTunes in August.[48][49] The mixtape entered at number fifty-five on the Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums chart.[50] Mýa was invited to be a featured guest vocalist on We Are the World 25 for Haiti. In 2010, Variety reported Mýa currently has already completed 10 tracks for her next studio effort with producer Junior Sanchez. No release date has been set yet but think an electro-dance-rock vibe. Mýa says, "Working with Junior Sanchez is an incredibly creative experience – he and his team are true musicians, and we have been having so much fun in the studio – the sound is brand new and completely fresh." The songstress was also gearing up for the launch of a brand new single "Love Is the Answer", with Cedric Gervais. Originally, the track was scheduled for release late 2010 but however pushed back into next year. The song appeared on Gervais' album "Miamication" via (Ultra Records).[51]

In early 2011, E! Online gave an exclusive first-listen preview of "Love Is the Answer".[52] The track was released February 8 worldwide via iTunes.[53] She released a new track called "Fabulous Life" in Japan on January 19.[54] It was the first single from her second studio album titled K.I.S.S. (Keep It Sexy & Simple) in Japan.[55]

A second single titled "Runnin' Back" featuring Iyaz was released February 23.[56] Her sixth studio album K.I.S.S. (Keep It Sexy & Simple) was released April 20, 2011 in Japan.[57] The album debuted at number sixty-one on Japan's Billboard Top Albums Chart and at number seventy-two on Japan's Oricon Albums Chart with first-week sales of 1,543.[58][59]

In an interview, Mýa announced she had a US version of K.I.S.S. (Keep It Sexy & Simple) that had been done for quite some time and she had been taking a lot of meeting every single month to find out if she would like to distribute the project independently or major. Either way, her plan was to get it out before Christmas stating the album is done and my fans want it. Although the US version was slightly different from the Japan version. K.I.S.S. U.S./Canada Deluxe Edition was released December 20, 2011 via iTunes.[60]

Its first U.S. digital single was an up-tempo track called "Earthquake" featuring Miami native rapper Trina. The single was released December 6, 2011 via iTunes.[61] The album's second U.S. digital single was the House/Techno – club rave inspired song "Somebody Come Get This Bitch" released December 13, 2011 via (iTunes).[62] The project's next three U.S. digitally released singles were " Mr. Incredible", "Mess Up My Hair", and " Evolve". Harrison began working on her 8th studio album for 2012.[63]

In an interview with Billboard.com's The Juice, Harrison said she'll release her next album "when it's ready and supported properly" and is open to working with a major label again, "if a comfortable situation presents itself". Her priority is serving her fans worldwide now, versus the one-off, independent situation that she have been doing but still going to put out her mixtapes. She still may do projects in Japan, but her focal point and priority is to bring it back home.[64] K.I.S.S. U.S./Canada Edition debuted at number seventy-four on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart for the week of February 11, 2012.[65]

2014: New Album, With Love EP and Sweet XVI EP[edit]

On February 14, 2014, Mýa released a four-track Valentine's Day EP entitled With Love, to commemorate the release of her debut single "It's All About Me" and 16th Anniversary in the entertainment industry via iTunes.[66]

Mýa co-starred in the Syfy original TV movie Bermuda Tentacles starring Linda Hamilton, which debuted on April 12 at 9 p.m. ET. [67] Two months later, Mýa released a new EP entitled Sweet XVI on April 21, 2014 via iTunes, to commemorate the release of her debut studio album Mýa.[68] In late 2014, Mýa's label imprint Planet 9 will manufacture a physical CD combining both EPs and bonus tracks for her fans, classifying this as her eighth studio album, exclusively available on her website www.myamya.com and all future tour stops. Mýa is currently working on her ninth studio album.[69]

Artistry[edit]

Voice[edit]

Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic commented that Mýa has a voice that is at once "innocent and knowing", while Billboard complimented her voice for having a "smooth, sensitive, angelic tone" to it who oozes with the confidence and stylistic flair of an artist twice her age.[70][71][72]

Other critics often call her voice weak and thin. In reviewing for her second studio album Fear of Flying, Jon Azpiri of AllMusic commented that "she is a promising young talent, but still has yet to develop the chops necessary to rank among the best of R&B divas."[73] Rolling Stone stated, "The signature quiver in Mýa's voice does give her some sonic identity, but otherwise this could be the music of Destiny's Child, Aaliyah or any of the countless interchangeable hip-hop/R&B divas."[74]

During an interview with Billy Johnson, Jr. of Yahoo! Music in 2003, Mýa stated, "I like to sing loud, I like to sing soft, I just like to feel good, period. It's not that serious." She also commented on the fact there are a lot of misconceptions about singing:

I'm just happy to be here. I think being a young artist, just starting out of high school, what kids listen to is club music. We don't necessarily get too deep or sing like Aretha Franklin. That's not even what music is truly about today. It's sad, but when I want to give a little bit of sex, being fabulous or sassy. I definitely want to be able to sing and back that up, and being a dancer first has sort of given me a complex that I have to be able to sing, period, with a band. If I break my leg, I'd like to give a show without pyrotechnics and choreography every five seconds.[75]

Songwriting and producing[edit]

Since the beginning of her career, Mýa has always been artistically involved in her career. Harrison writes the majority of her own material for her studio albums. In an interview, she stated she writes 99.9% of her albums, and when songs are submitted to her, if she feels the song is something that feels like something she can perform well and hits close to home, then she feels comfortable doing it.[76]

She is known for writing sexually-driven lyrics and female empowerment compositions with a bit of an edge to them through her love for free-spirited word play and incorporates a wide genre of music such as R&B, pop, dance, jazz, soul, hip-hop, techno, rock, reggae, and quiet storm.[77][78]

In interview with People, she revealed she draws her musical inspirations from humming a melody off the note of a whirring fan or tapping her foot to the rhythm of the bathtub dripping; stating she can hear melodies from natural sounds like birds chirping or the taxis and construction in Manhattan. Occasionally, however, Harrison wishes she could stop the music. "In the middle of a conversation, I'll start humming or moving my feet, and my friends will say, 'You can't be serious,'" she says. "It's such a reflex that I'm totally unaware I look like an idiot."[79] Most of her songs are helmed from personal experiences in her life as well as friends' experiences.[75][80]

Harrison has co-produced most of her records since 2000. She has her own recording studio and label imprint, Planet 9 and is heavily involved in the production of her music and every single process, from writing and recording to producing, mixing, and mastering her own projects. Harrison very active in all aspects of her career from the actual production to the business. Formulating the beat, creating the concept, and coming up with the melodies.[23][78][81][82]

Influences[edit]

Mýa's musical influences include Sade Adu, Janet Jackson, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Prince, Chaka Khan, Minnie Riperton, and Madonna. Mýa praises Steve Wonder for his ability to hear music and play music and feel it and get other people to feel it, and Madonna for her boldness and courage. Mýa calls Minnie Riperton her favorite female singer and Prince her musical hero, stating, "He's someone who takes risks. He's an all-around entertainer, hell of a performer. He's a genius."[83][84][85]

Mýa's dance influences include Gregory Hines, Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, Savion Glover, Jimmy Slyde, Electric Boogaloos, Rock Steady Crew, Cyd Charisse, Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire and Sammy Davis, Jr.[84]

She cites Lena Horne and Liza Minnelli as her role models.

Legacy[edit]

Since her arrival into the music industry, Harrison has won numerous awards throughout her career. In 2002, Harrison won her first grammy for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals for Lady Marmalade.[5] Harrison won a Screen Actors Guild award for her participation in Chicago.[10] She's the winner of two MTV's moonmen including the prestigious Video of the Year award for Lady Marmalade.[86] Harrison has sold over 7 million albums worldwide.[13] In 2009, Billboard ranked Harrison at number 97 on their list of Hot 100 Artists of the 2000s.[11] Complex listed her at number 33 on their list of Top 100 Hottest Female Singers of All Time.[87] Her singles The Best of Me Pt.II and Ghetto Supastar (That Is What You Are) was featured on About.com's Top 50 R&B/Hip Hop Collaborations list at numbers 40 and 44 respectively.[88][89] Lady Marmalade was listed at number 47 on VH1's 100 Greatest Songs of '00s list.[90] For two consecutive years (2003-2004) in a row, Harrison appeared on Maxim's Hot 100 list; ranking numbers 31 and 52 respectively.[91][92] Movin' On was voted as one of The 50 Best R&B Videos of the 90s by Complex.[93] Her performance of Lady Marmalade at the 44th Grammy Awards was featured on About.com's Top 10 Grammy Award Performances of All Time.[94]Harrison's breakthrough single Case of the Ex (Whatcha Gonna Do) was listed at number 77 on Billboard's Top 100 Songs by Female Solo Artists (1955-2007).[95] In 2014, "Lady Marmalade" was featured on the Huffington Post's Top 10 Most Iconic Grammys Performances.[96]

Other ventures[edit]

Acting[edit]

Mýa made her acting debut in the 1999 thriller In Too Deep starring LL Cool J and Omar Epps. In the movie, she played a young woman named Loretta.

In late December 2002, Mýa co-starred in the broadway musical Chicago alongside Catherine Zeta-Jones, Richard Gere, Queen Latifah, and Renée Zellweger. In the film, she portrayed a murderess named Mona in the Cell Block Tango dance number. The film was a box office hit grossing $306,776,732 worldwide and earned Mýa a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Ensemble Performance.[10][97] In 2004, she had two small roles in the films Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights and Shall We Dance?. In the films, she played a latina lounge singer named Lola Martinez and Vern's Fiancee. Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights tanked at the box office grossing $14,161,590 in the United States and $27,685,016 worldwide while Shall We Dance? became a box office hit grossing $57,890,460 in the United States alone and $170,128,460 worldwide.[98][99]

In February 2005, Mýa had a supporting role in the Wes Craven horror film Cursed. The film starred Christina Ricci, Joshua Jackson, Judy Greer, and Shannon Elizabeth. In the film, Mýa played a young victim by the name of Jenny Tate. Although Cursed tanked at the box office grossing $19,297,522 in the United States and $29,621,722 worldwide, the film earned Mýa a nomination at the 2005 MTV Movie Awards for Best Frightened Performance.[100][101] Additionally, in 2005, she guest starred as Samantha "Jade" King in season two of NCIS. In the episode titled "Pop Life", she performs "Sophisticated Lady" from her album Moodring.[102]

Her next film, the Bill Duke-directed Cover, Mýa portrayed an AIDS victim named Cynda. The film opened at selective theaters and grossed $79,436 in the United States.[103] The film dealt with the subject of men who are on the down-low in society.[104] In 2008, Mýa had a starring role in the direct-to-dvd romantic comedy film Love For Sale. Mýa played a college student named Kiely in a bad relationship. The film was released to DVD on October 21, 2008.[105]

In January 2011, Mýa returned to the silver screen and co-starred in the romantic comedy film The Heart Specialist alongside Wood Harris, Zoe Saldana, and Brian J. White. She played Brian J. White's ex-girlfriend Valerie. The film was a bomb at the box office grossing $1,103,037.[106]

Dancing with the Stars[edit]

In 2009, Harrison participated in Dancing with the Stars – season nine with Dmitry Chaplin. The two first danced a Viennese Waltz and a cha-cha-cha. For her Viennese Waltz, she was received scores of 8s from judges Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli, but a 5 from Len Goodman. Her cha-cha however was scored first place receiving 10 points.

The following week, Baz Luhrmann, who directed "Moulin Rouge!" in which Harrison sang, guest judged for Goodman. She danced a Jive that scored 27/30. She tied first place with Aaron Carter and Karina Smirnoff's Quickstep and received the encore of the week.

When Goodman returned as regular judge the following week, Harrison danced a Rumba which scored yet another 27 however she received the first ever 10s from Inaba and Tonioli but a 7 from Goodman. A similar incident happened the following week when her Lambada scored 28 being scored 10s from Inaba and Tonioli and an 8 from Goodman tying in first place with Melissa Joan Hart and Mark Ballas's Charleston.

That following week, Harrison and Chaplin danced an Argentine tango which scored yet another 27, however she did not receive 1st place and instead future winners Donny Osmond and Kym Johnson did, receiving the highest score of the season to date, 29, until she beat that score later on. Following that week, the two decided to dance a jitterbug themed diner characters. Goodman remarked that "it was good, I just wanted a bit more" and scored a 24. They then danced a mambo against every other couple and received 9 points, losing to future fourth place finalists Joanna Krupa and Derek Hough, both of whom were tough competition for them.

The next week, the two danced a foxtrot and a Paso Doble with Michael Irvin, Mark Dacascos and Aaron Carter (Decascos and Irvin who got eliminated that week). For her Foxtrot, the two received 25 getting 9s from Tonioli and Inaba and a 7 from Goodman. Following that week, she danced a Quickstep which tied Osmond and Johnson's Argentine Tango's score of 29. They then danced a 1970's-themed samba, for which she was awarded the first 30 of the season. The next week, she was asked to dance three dances (a waltz, a salsa and a cha-cha-cha) only receiving 9s and 10s, and receiving the second 30. For the finals week, she danced a Paso Doble and was dubbed by Carrie Ann Inaba as the "Queen of the Paso Doble", and was granted the third 30. Then she dance the Megamix dance along with Kelly Osbourne and Donny Osmond and was granted another 30. For her final dance before the public vote, Harrison and Chaplin danced a Hairspray-themed freestyle dance which was remarked by the judges that "it was good but needed more" and received a 27. The final dance was a repeat of her jive from week 2 and received 28, finishing in the second place.

Week # Dance/Song Judges' score Result
Inaba Goodman Tonioli
1 Viennese Waltz/"Vision of Love"
Cha-Cha-Cha Relay/""Centerfold"
8
Awarded
5
10
8
points
Safe
2 Jive/"Would You...?" 9 *9 9 Safe
3 Rumba/"Underneath Your Clothes" 10 7 10 Safe
4 Lambada/"Ain't It Funny" 10 8 10 Safe
5 Argentine Tango/"They" 9 9 9 Safe
6 Jitterbug/"C'mon Everybody"
Mambo Marathon/"Ran Kan Kan"
8
Awarded
7
9
9
points
Safe
7 Foxtrot/"Is You Is or Is You Ain't My Baby"
Team Paso Doble/ "I Hate Myself for Loving You"
9
8
7
8
9
8
Safe
8 Quickstep/"Baby Wants a Diamond Ring"
Samba/"Bad Girls"
9
10
10
10
10
10
Safe
9
Semifinals
Waltz/"Amore e Musica"
Salsa/"La Isla Bonita"
Cha-Cha-Cha/"Fire Burning"
9
10
9
9
10
10
10
10
10
Safe
10
Finals
Paso Doble/"We Will Rock You"
Megamix/"You and Me"/ "Whenever, Wherever" / "Maniac"
Freestyle/"You Can't Stop the Beat"
Jive/"Would You...?"
10
Awarded
9
Awarded
10
30
9
28
10
points
9
points
Runner-up
  • Baz Lurhmann was a guest judge for week two

Endorsements[edit]

At the age of 18, Harrison served as an ad print spokeswoman for Bongo Jeans and had a Tommy Hilfiger lipstick shade named after her.[107]

In the years to come, she continued to receive endorsement deals. In 2001, she became a spokesperson for Iceberg jeans and featured in ad prints in magazines. Harrison signed an endorsement deal with Coca-Cola in 2002, which included appearances on TV commercials. She and then label mate Common recorded a cover version of Ed Harris' "Real Compared To What". The commercial made its debut in 2003 at the American Music Awards and featured Mýa in a 90-second commercial singing a jazzy cover version of the song alongside Chi-town rapper Common.[108][109]

In early 2003, Mýa recorded an updated version of the Simon & Garfunkel classic hit "Feeling Groovy" for the new spring GAP television ads. The music for the spot was produced by Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis. The new GAP commercials were produced by longtime GAP creative agency Laird & Partners and aired everywhere throughout March and April.[110][111]

In 2004, Mýa performed the original theme song, "Everything or Nothing", for the latest video game in the Bond franchise – 007: Everything or Nothing. Mýa also appears in the game as the NSA agent sultry Bond girl "Mya Starling". Mýa co-wrote and co-produced the song with Randy Bugnitz and A&M president Ron Fair, and three variations of the theme appeared in the game.[112][113]

In 2005, Motorola signed Mýa and eight other artists from every generation to appear in TV commercial; promoting its first iPod music phone; the Motorola rokr. The commercial starred pop icons Madonna and Iggy Pop alongside with Little Richard, Bootsy Collins, Amerie, Alanis Morissette and look-a-likes of Beethoven, Jimi Hendrix, and Notorious B.I.G.[114]

On March 1, 2010, Escada announced that Mýa will host the celebration to introduce Escada's newest scent, Marine Groove, on March 13 in Miami Beach.The two-day event included a VIP party at South Beach's hottest nightclub, LIV. Select guests joined Mýa for an exclusive evening of dancing and libations. On Sunday afternoon, the celebration continued on the Venetian Lady Yacht in downtown Miami with a three-hour chartered yacht party.[115][116]

Philanthropy[edit]

As a philanthropist, Mýa continues to devote her time and resources to various causes. From 1998 to 2001, she became the spokesperson for Secret to Self Esteem. In 2005, Mýa founded TMATF: The Mya Arts & Tech Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing disadvantaged youth growth and opportunity through arts & technology education, where she serves as both executive director and teacher. Mýa is also an advocate of breast cancer as her mother is a 10+ year survivor. In 2006 and 2007, she collaborated with the Lifetime Television Network in the Stop Breast Cancer for Life campaign, recording "My Bra" a song sold on iTunes donating 100% of proceeds to breast cancer research.[117]

In 2007, Mýa was also the internationally featured artist in Heatherette's Fashion Show for Lifeball in Vienna, Austria to fight Global AIDS, hosted a fundraiser for Skool'd to aid homeless LGBT youth, and advocated gay rights by opening the Out 100 Awards. In 2009 Mýa continued her philanthropic efforts by chairing the 2009 Operation Smile Event, participating in the literary project, If I'd Known Then: Women in Their 20s and 30s Write Letters to their Younger Selves, by Ellen Spraggins, and accepting an honoree award for her work with the NSAL and continued support of animal welfare. Mýa continued her social efforts in 2010 by partnering with Cyndi Lauper's True Colors: Give A Damn PSA, NOH8 campaign, NSAL 2010, and assisting in varrlious HAITI relief efforts, among other philanthropic initiatives.[19]

In 2012, Harrison teamed up with Koshie O to design some of the pieces that will be feature in the Spring/Summer 2013 collection. She is the first celebrity to be involved as a designer in The Koshie O.Woman project created by the African brand. A percentage of the profits from the sale of these unique capsule collection customized with a special print will be donated to the Mercy Corps, a global aid agency involved in helping populations stricken by tragic events in over 40 countries around the world.[118]

Discography[edit]

Main article: Mýa discography

Tours[edit]

Filmography[edit]

Film
Year Title Role Notes
1999 In Too Deep Loretta
2002 Chicago Mona Won – Cell Block Tango
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Nominated – Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Cast
Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Cast
Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Cast
2004 Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights Lola Martinez
Shall We Dance? Vern's Fiancee
2005 Cursed Jenny Tate Nominated – MTV Movie Award for Best Frightened Performance
2006 Swap Meet Katrina
2007 The Metrosexual Jessica
2008 Cover Cynda Direct-to-DVD
Love For Sale Kiely Direct-to-DVD
2009 Bottleworld Bree
2010 The Penthouse Mitra
2011 Sunset Strip (documentary) Herself
The Heart Specialist Valerie In theaters and to DVD
2014 Bermuda Tentacles Lt. Plummer Made-for-TV film (SyFy Channel); credited as Mya Harrison
Television
Year Title Role Notes
1999 Sister, Sister Herself FreakNik episode #115
2001 2GE+HER: The Series Herself "Lyrics" (season 2, episode 4)
2001 Volcano High Yu Cha-i MTV Movie, English dub
2002 Haunted Voodoo Priestess "Abby" (season 1, episode 4)
2003 Punk'd Herself Episode 2.3
2004 1-800-Missing Kira "Pop Star" (season 2, episode 10)
2005 NCIS Samantha "Jade" King "Pop Life" (Season 2, episode 16)
2006 Love Monkey Herself "Coming Out" (uncredited; season 1, episode 8)
2007 Yo Gabba Gabba Herself Movie
2007 Yo Gabba Gabba Herself "Friends" (season 1, episode 7)
2008 Secret Talents of the Stars Herself/contestant Episode 1.1
2009 Dancing with the Stars Herself/contestant Runner up
2011 WWE Raw Herself "The Rock's Birthday Bash"; sang "Happy Birthday" to The Rock

See also[edit]


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External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Gilles Marini & Cheryl Burke
Dancing with the Stars (US) runner up
Season 9 (Fall 2009 with Dmitry Chaplin)
Succeeded by
Evan Lysacek & Anna Trebunskaya