|Birth Date||10 October 1979|
|Highest Score||30 (Samba, Salsa, Paso Doble & Migamix)|
|Lowest Score||21 (Viennese Waltz)|
Mýa Harrison, a native of Washington, D.C., is one of three children. Her father Sherman was a musician and singer; her mother Theresa worked as an accountant. She grew up in suburban Washington D.C. in Maryland 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. 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. Although she lost interest for several years, her interest waned at about age ten, but at age twelve, it was rekindled. 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.
During her childhood, Mýa 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 a popular performer, she 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". She also began teaching a children's hip-hop and jazz dance class in Camp Springs. By age fifteen, Mýa's musical side took over and her professional-musician father helped her perfect her vocal abilities. When he realized 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. After graduating high school at sixteen, Mýa took a few classes at the University of Maryland, College Park, but the teenager's primary focus was on the recording studio.
Mýa, Fear of Flying, and Lady Marmalade
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 hit-makers such as Missy Elliott, Babyface, Diane Warren, Dru Hill, Darryl Pearson, and Silkk Tha Shocker and spawned three successful singles. Her debut single, "It's All About Me" featuring fellow R&B singer Sisqó, was released 14 February 1998. It peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 2 on R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart respectively. The single received a gold certification by the Recording Industry Association of America 4 June 1998. Her eponymous debut album was released 21 April 1998 in the United States and reached No. 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 1 October 1998; denoting shipments to US retailers of over 1,000,000 units.
The album's second single "Movin' On", featured No Limit rapper Silkk Tha Shocker and peaked at No. 34 on the Hot 100 and No. 4 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart respectively. A third single, "My First Night with You" peaked at No. 28 on both the Hot 100 and the R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. 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. 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.
In 1999, Mýa began production on an album that would eventually become Fear of Flying. The title was partially inspired by Erica Jong's 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, Soulshock & Karlin, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Knobody, Robin Thicke, 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.
On 25 April 2000, Fear of Flying was released and debuted at No. 15 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.
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. The song reached two and three in the US and UK respectively, and in turn solidified Fear of Flying as a hit.
With the success of "Case of the Ex", Interscope re-released Fear of Flying 7 November 2000, with a revised track listing 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. The album sold over a million copies in the United States and received a platinum certification by the Recording Industry Association of America 28 March 2001. 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 the Billboard 200 chart for 52 consecutive weeks.
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 5 June, prior to the film's 15 June release date; 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. The single was a worldwide success. It topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart in its eighth week, spending five consecutive weeks at No. 1. "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. The song reached No. 1 in over fifteen countries including the UK and Australia. Lady Marmalade became Mýa's first chart-topper and third non-consecutive top ten on the Hot 100 chart.
The foursome was invited to perform at the 2001 MTV Movie Awards; the performance was the show's biggest highlight of the night. At 2001 MTV Video Music Awards Lady Marmalade was nominated for six moonmen and won two for Best Video from a Film and Video of the Year. In March 2001, Mýa 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".
In 2002, the quartet performed "Lady Marmalade" again at the 44th Grammy Awards and won a Grammy for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals.
Moodring, Liberation, and Sugar & Spice
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 the following years, she continued appearing in films such as Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights (2004), Shall We Dance? (2004), and Cursed (2005).
On 22 July 2003, after much delay, Mýa released her third studio album, Moodring. The album sold more than 113,000 copies in its first week and peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard 200, surpassing Mýa's previous effort first-week sales. Originally titled Bittersweet, the album displays 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 stylings 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 top twenty hit on the Billboard Hot 100 and a summer anthem for women. The video showcased a more sexy 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 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.
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. Although she intended to release a dance track called "Let It Go" at a particular time, the singer eventually decided to leave her management and A&M Records in fall 2005 before signing a new contract with Universal Motown. 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. 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. 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, 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. 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. 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".
Beauty & the Streets and K.I.S.S. (Keep It Sexy & Simple)
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 5 August 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. She released her first mixtape called Beauty & The Streets Vol.1 on 29 September 2009. The mixtape's first single, "Show Me Somethin'" featured Houston-based rapper Bun B and was sent to iTunes in August. The mixtape entered at No. 55 on the Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums chart. 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).
In early 2011, E! Online gave an exclusive first-listen preview of "Love Is the Answer". The track was released 8 February worldwide via iTunes. She released a new track called "Fabulous Life" in Japan on 19 January. It was the first single from her second studio album titled K.I.S.S. (Keep It Sexy & Simple) in Japan.
A second single titled "Runnin' Back" featuring Iyaz was released 23 February. Her sixth studio album K.I.S.S. (Keep It Sexy & Simple) was released 20 April 2011 in Japan. The album debuted at No. 61 on Japan's Billboard Top Albums Chart and at No. 72 on Japan's Oricon Albums Chart with first-week sales of 1,543.
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 20 December 2011 via iTunes.
Its first U.S. digital single was an up-tempo track called "Earthquake" featuring Miami native rapper Trina. The single was released 6 December 2011 via iTunes. The album's second U.S. digital single was the House/Techno – club rave inspired song "Somebody Come Get This Bitch" released 13 December 2011 via (iTunes). 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.
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. K.I.S.S. U.S./Canada Edition debuted at No. 74 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart for the week of 11 February 2012.
EP Series and Smoove Jones
Starting in 2014, Harrison released a series of EPs on her independent label Planet 9. With Love, a four-track Valentine's Day EP, was released in February 2014 to commemorate the release of her debut single "It's All About Me" and 16th anniversary in the entertainment industry. It received largely positive review from music critics. In April 2014, Harrison starred opposite Linda Hamilton in the Syfy original TV movie Bermuda Tentacles, which garnered negative reviews. The same month, her second EP Sweet XVI was released to commemorate the release of her debut studio album Mýa. It was followed by her second Valentine's Day EP, Love Elevation Suite, released in 2015.
Harrison released her eighth indie project Smoove Jones 14 February 2016. Smoove Jones has been preceded by two singles. On 10 October 2015, Harrison released the first single from the project entitled "Welcome to My World" on all digital formats. A second single "Team You" was released 8 December 2015. Smoove Jones debuted at No.30 on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart 5 March 2016. Smoove Jones received a Grammy nomination for Best R&B Album at the 59th Annual Grammy Awards.
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. 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.
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. 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.
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. The film dealt with the subject of men who are on the down-low in society. 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 21 October 2008.
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.
In 2005, Harrison began developing and compiling ideas for a clothing line. Originally, the line was due in 2006, however nothing ever materialized and plans were put on hold. Christened Zinc and set to debut in 2008, the line was to feature an urban and couture division. In essence, Harrison described Zinc, tough, sassy, and bold with a sharp definition.
Dancing with the Stars 9
She was partnered with Dmitry Chaplin. They placed 2nd.
|Week #||Dance/Song||Judges' Scores||Result|
|1||Viennese Waltz/ "Vision of Love"|
|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"|
|6||Jitterbug/ "C'mon Everybody"|
Mambo/ "Ran Kan Kan"
|7||Foxtrot/ "Is You Is or Is You Ain't My Baby"|
Paso Doble/"I Hate Myself for Loving You"
|8||Quickstep/ "Baby Wants a Diamond Ring"|
70's Samba/ "Bad Girls"
|9||Waltz/ "Amore E Musica"|
Salsa/ "La Isla Bonita"
|10||Paso Doble/"We Will Rock You"||10|
- Score was awarded by stand-in judge Baz Luhrmann.