|Studio album by Mýa|
|Released||April 21, 1998|
Silent Sound Studios
|Singles from Mýa|
Mýa is the debut studio album by American recording artist Mýa. It was released on April 21, 1998 by Interscope Records. Recording of the album was overseen by University Records CEO Haaq Islam after he signed the singer when she was 15. Mýa was composed of the contemporary genres with songs that were a mix of soft hip hop, pop soul and contemporary mid-to-late 1990s R&B. Production was primarily handled by Darryl "Day" Pearson with additional contributions from Daryl Simmons, Alex "Cat" Cantrall and Nokio the N-Tity. Guest features included Dru Hill front man Sisqó, No Limit rapper Silkk the Shocker, and Virginia native Missy Elliott.
Mýa spawned three hit singles; two Top 5 Hot R&B Singles "It's All About Me" featuring Sisqó, "Movin' On" featuring No Limit rapper Silkk the Shocker and the Diane Warren/Babyface-penned ballad "My First Night with You".
Upon release, Mýa received generally favorable reviews from music critics, who complimented Mýa's vocals and songwriting abilities, as well as the album's well-crafted appeal. Within the next six months, the album became a commercial success. Although initially sales were sluggish, the album was able to reached the upper-half of the US Billboard 200 album chart and awarded a certified platinum plaque by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), selling over 1.4 million copies in the United States. In the midst of the album's success, Mýa earned several accolades, including a NAACP Image Award nomination and two Soul Train Music Award nominations.
- 1 Background
- 2 Development
- 3 Recording and composition
- 4 Release and promotion
- 5 Critical reception
- 6 Commercial performance
- 7 Accolades
- 8 Legacy
- 9 Track listing
- 10 Charts and certifications
- 11 Tour
- 12 Personnel
- 13 Release history
- 14 References
- 15 External links
As a child, Mýa Harrison was an accomplished, gifted dancer who had trained with Savion Glover, Gregory Hines, and the Dance Theater of Harlem. Mýa's parents first took noticed of their daughter's talent when she was 5 years old. By then, she had developed a gift for mimicking complicated dance steps and creating complex sounds and rhythms with her feet. However, though, by the time she was 8, Mýa was burned out. She had quit tap, at least partly out of frustration because she was more advanced than the available instruction could accommodate. Three years later, her passion returned when she first saw teen sensation Glover, a dancing dervish among tap's elders. Glover--best known as the creator of the Broadway hit "Bring in 'da Noise, Bring in 'da Funk"--proved to be an immediate inspiration. "He was my age, and he was featured around all these masters," Mýa recalls. "And he was so natural with it." Soon she joined a youth dance group, Tappers With Attitude (T.W.A.), the first place her aggressive style would be encouraged. Mýa first auditioned for Glover when she was 11 and again at 12, but didn't pass muster. "The year after, I was ready," she recalls. Using her photographic memory, she had studied documentary footage of such masters as Gregory Hines, the Nicholas Brothers, Buster Brown, Honi Coles and Sammy Davis Jr. Harrsion ended up doing a number of residencies with Glover, who gave her a solo spot in a Kennedy Center performance when she was 14. But she wasn't singing in public--not yet. At that point, Mýa hadn't even told her parents she wanted to sing. "It was something I held to myself, that no one could take away from me," Mýa explained. "I didn't want to be pressured or forced into lessons all over again in another area, as with the dance. I wanted to develop this on my own, at my own pace." Eventually, Mýa got up enough courage to sing for some dance class pals, who encouraged her to break the silence at home. "I finally told my mom, and when she told my dad--he's a singer--he said, 'Mýa can't sing! I don't believe you!'." During her early to mid teen years, she taught dance to kids and held a dancing gig on BET's Teen Summit as well. At the age of 15, Mýa shifted her focus soley on music and although she was best known as a dancer, she was also musically inclined, learning how to sing and play the violin as a child. When her father—a professional musician—learned that his daughter could sing and serious about a musical career; they began to shop around the demo tapes, eventually earning the attention of University Music Entertainment president/CEO Haaq Islam. According to Mýa, "her father sent demo tapes out to a few record companies, but they all said 'She's not ready.' "Some early demos were recorded in a basement studio for $20, followed by the major expenditure of $1,000 for a single. "It was difficult," Mýa explained. "We didn't have that kind of money." Impressed with Harrison's audition, he signed her to Interscope Records.
After her living-room audition, there were meetings and discussions about what direction to follow, what image to pursue, what goals to set. Under Islam's guidance, Islam sought to mold Mýa after Madonna and Janet Jackson. He explained, his label "were going after the Madonna/Janet Jackson spot, dance and pop," while also targeting the teenage cotillion of Brandy, Aaliyah and Monica. According to Islam, his idea was to put together an album "that spoke to the hurt, pains, needs and desires of today's youth--falling in love, being in love, discovering love, falling out of love, not having love, being hurt. We knew if we did that accurately, young women and people of all ages and genders would identify with it." Due to his rising connections within the industry, Islam was able to hire an elite team of collaborators. Two years in the making, the album Mýa featured heavy hitters, such as Baltimore's Dru Hill (another University act), Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott, Darryll Pearson, Diane Warren and Babyface.
Recording and composition
In 1996, the president and CEO of University Music Haaq Islam signed Mýa when she was 16-years old. Islam often referred to Mýa as his Diana Ross commenting, "She has a vocal ability that can be heard in a room full of singers; her flow is tantamount to a rapper." Mýa and Interscope spent the next two years working on her debut album, hiring an impressive list of collaborators, including Darryl Pearson, Babyface, Diane Warren, Raphael Brown, Wyclef Jean, Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott, and Sisqó and Noko from Dru Hill. Mýa said, "that her album speaks mostly to men and that many of the songs offer variety of "messages." Harrison co-wrote many of the songs on the album, including "If You Died I Wouldn't Cry Cause You Never Loved Me Anyway", where she puts a voice to the gut-wrenching pain some woman feel at the end of a relationship. In the song, Harrison sings of wanting a man to "die" because "he never loved her anyway." She said, "the song is about saying things in anger, but being able to learn from mistakes." Another ballad, "My First Night with You", is about a non-sexual experience with a man, written by Babyface and produced by Daryl Simmons. Harrison said, "Simmons allowed her to do her own thing and put her own spin on the song." "Bye Bye", which featured Missy Elliott was written by Harrison and Daryl Pearson. Other songs included on the album were the dance-oriented "We're Goin Make Ya Dance and "What Cha Say", a song Harrison wrote all by herself.
Islam said, "Mýa's songwriting is consistent with the label's philosophy." "We want artistry and strong songs with good messages that appeal to the heart, soul and imagination." Commenting, "Mýa's album takes us to another level; my label always want to present something positive and edgy, to reflect young people today." Harrison added that the album is "lady-like" and done in a "tasteful" way, leaving some things to the imagination; rather than trying to sound vulgar or explicit.
Release and promotion
The president and CEO of University Music Haaq Islam held a press release for Harrison’s self-titled debut studio album, with Billboard magazine. At the time of the press release University Music revealed and shared details regarding Harrison’s project and University Music's marketing strategy plans. During the press conference, University Music announced Mýa's album and single U.S. release dates. Although at press time, Harrison’s debut album was slated for a May 5 release date, it was later changed to April 21. However, an international release date for the album was not set. Mýa's first single "It's All About Me" featuring Sisqó was solicited to radio March 3 and released commercially March 10. The videoclip for "It's All About Me" was serviced to BET and The Box on February 10. It was serviced to MTV at a later date.
From the beginning, University/Interscope used Harrison's connection to label mates Dru Hill as a promotional tool. To create a buzz for Mýa, University Music coupled her with Dru Hill in video and television appearances as an outlet to create a fan base for her. In addition to video and television appearances, Harrison was featured on Puff Daddy's tour which also included Dru Hill. To continue to create an ongoing buzz for herself, she opened the Boyz II Men tour from April 26 to July 26. As a marketing plan, University Music announced and created a grass-roots campaign that hit high schools. The label distributed newsletters about Mýa hitting more than 25,000 high schools nationally. University also set up a Mýa 900 number which was advertised on posters and fliers. Callers could hear samples of Mýa's music and hear the latest on her activities. On the press front, Harrison covered Right On! and Teen People magazines. In late April, Harrison appeared and performed "It's All About Me" on VIBE. Lastly, she was featured on Interscope's worldwide website, where she had her own page.
Media reception for Mýa was generally positive. In his review for online music guide service AllMusic, editor Stephen Thomas Erlewine called the album a "thoroughly promising debut" that compromises "a fine set of songs that manage to sound universal and strangely confessional." He rated the album four out of five stars, noting that Mýa "is a smooth, sultry collection of well-crafted contemporary urban soul that is actually richer than the average urban record the late '90s."
Billboard magazine journalist Paul Verna found that Mýa "scored on her debut album by addressing issues of concern to women without spewing cuss words." He compared the material to R&B band Destiny's Child and complimented Mýa's songwriting skills, ranking "It's All About Me", "Whatcha Say," "Bye Bye," "My First Night With You," "Movin' On", and "We're Gonna Make Ya Dance" among the album's noteworthy tracks. Ayana B. Byrd, writing for Vibe magazine, expressed that on Mýa the "Washington, D.C. native always sings with a voice that is clear, strong, and assured." She called the album a "heartfelt [...] sparkling debut" that combined "round-the-way girl sass with an artist's sensibility."
Mýa debuted at number seventy-seven on the Billboard 200 album chart on May 9, 1998. The album eventually peaked at number twenty-nine on the Billboard 200 album chart and on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums chart at number thirteen during the weeks of September 5, 1998 and July 14, 1998, respectively. During the holiday season, Mýa experienced its biggest single-week of sales, scanning 64,858 units. Within a few months, Mýa was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on October 1, 1998 and remained on Billboard 200 album chart for 53 non-consecutive weeks. It became one of the best selling albums of 1998, selling 1,100,000 copies. As of May 2003, Mýa has sold over 1.4 million copies in the United States alone, according to Nielsen Soundscan.
Mýa's debut album produced three singles. Lead single "It's All About Me", a duet with singer Sisqó, peaked at number six on Billboard Hot 100 and number two on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, marking Mýa's first top ten entry as a solo artist. It was later certified gold by Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). A moderate international success, it peaked in the top twenty of the New Zealand and the top forty in Canadian Singles Charts. A remix version of "Movin' On", featuring additional vocals from rapper Silkk the Shocker" was released as the album's second single. It reached number 11 on the New Zealand Singles Chart and peaked at number thirty-four on the Billboard Hot 100 and number four on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. The album's third and final single, a cover of Deborah Cox's 1995 song "My First Night with You" peaked at number twenty-eight equally on Billboard Hot 100 and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.
Mýa's self-titled album and its singles earned her numerous nominations. Mýa received her first award nomination for a Soul Train Lady of Soul award. She earned a nomination for Best R&B/Soul or Rap New Artist. In 1999, Mýa continued to score multiple award nominations. Harrison earned two Soul Train Music Awards nominations for Best R&B/Soul or Rap New Artist and Best R&B/Soul Album – Female. At 1999 NAACP Image Awards, she received a nomination for Outstanding New Artist. Harrison scored a New R&B/Hip-Hop Artist of the Year nomination at Billboard Music Awards.  Her single, Movin' On earned her a second nomination at the 1999 Soul Train Lady of Soul awards for Best R&B/Soul Song of the Year.
In 1998, dancer/singer Mýa was introduced to pop culture and released her self-titled debut studio album. With the release and success of her debut album and its singles, Mýa established herself a successful solo recording artist. Right from the beginning, MTV embraced Mýa and her first single, the sensually charged "It's All About Me," and its follow-up, the girl-dumps-unfaithful-boyfriend scenario "Movin' On." Additionally, MTV heavily went into rotation on two movie-related songs in which Mýa was the featured vocalist. The first, Pras's "Ghetto Supastar," was a smash from the movie "Bulworth." It also became one of last summer's inescapable radio hits, thanks to Mýa's riveting vocal hook in the chorus. Fall and winter belonged to Mýa as well, thanks to Blackstreet's "Take Me There," the ebullient Jackson 5-rooted hit from the platinum "Rugrats" soundtrack. Complex recognized Movin' On as one of the Best R&B Videos of the 90's. In a poll, conducted by Billboard, Movin' On ranked tenth on its list of 20 Best High School Music Videos of All Time. Power star and recording artist Rotimi sampled Movin' On for his five track Summer Bangerz EP.
|1.||"What Cha Say"||
|3.||"Baby It's Yours"||
|4.||"Keep On Lovin' Me"||
|5.||"It's All About Me" (featuring Sisqó)||
|6.||"If You Died I Wouldn't Cry Cause You Never Loved Me Anyway"||Nokio the N-Tity||5:02|
|7.||"We're Gonna Make Ya Dance"||
|8.||"If You Were Mine"||
|9.||"Bye Bye" (featuring Missy Elliott)||
|10.||"Anytime You Want Me"||
|11.||"Don't Be Afraid"||
|12.||"My First Night with You"||Daryl Simmons||5:38|
|13.||"Movin' On (Remix)" (featuring Silkk the Shocker)||
Charts and certifications
|Canada||April 21, 1998||Cassette, CD||Universal Music Group|
|United States||Fontana Records, Interscope Records|
|Germany||April 28, 1998||Interscope Records|
|Japan||June 24, 1998||Universal Music Japan|
|United Kingdom||September 14, 2000||Polydor Records|
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