Written By: Michael “Hey Mikey” Fanning
Celebrities. Who are they? How do they achieve any measure of fame and success? Is it their looks? Their vocals? Longevity in the entertainment industry? Maybe it’s their dance moves, or charisma? Or perhaps, it is all of the above. This is definitely the case when it comes to the one and only, MÝA! MÝA is hands down one of the most talented and enduring artists of our times. Her career spans over twenty years, and the gorgeous singer shows no signs of slowing down! Kontrol Magazine managed to snag some of MÝA’s amazing energy as she dishes on her vegan lifestyle, being the CEO of her own record label, Planet 9 and her amazing new album, “T.K.O!” “It’s good to be back, and I’ve got a lot to talk about with you guys!”
It has been a few years since we heard from MÝA, but she is back and assuring her fans she is still here for the long run! For most of us meeting MÝA is like reacquainting yourself with a childhood friend. She is personable, kind, patient, and most of all wise. However, your nostalgia also kicks in as all of her music begins to flood your memories. Hits like Ghetto Superstar, Fallen, Case of The Ex, Take Me There, Lady Marmalade, and of course, our personal favorite, My Love Is Like Whoa! Even one of her more obscure songs like Where The Dream Takes You (From Disney’s underrated animated classic, Atlantis) comes into play! To put it simply MÝA has longevity. Whereas many of her compatriots have become rather “UnSung,” she continues to rise to the challenge and deliver to her fans. “…it’s really all about the fans. I try my best to make sure I’m actively engaging my audience at all times…checking what is trending, do you guys want to see me dance more, or sing more…if you’re giving your fans what they ask for and engage with them then you’ll keep that strong, core fanbase…It’s definitely something I learned over time, but it is definitely a lesson any artist should hold near and dear to their hearts…”
MÝA has always been a timeless, unforgettable artist. However, she humbly admits she is not above reproach and speaks on another secret to her longevity in the entertainment and music industries—wisdom. “You know you really can’t help what you don’t know. There are definitely a lot of things I’ve learned being an artist for so many years, and now a label owner, that I just was not aware of back then…I wish I had known those things, especially when it comes from what to expect from labels, marketing, and how to operate in front of and behind the scenes…I really just pride myself in learning from experiences and researching—that’s important—you really have to know things for yourself, hard facts, not hearsay…” This statement definitely strikes a chord, as nowadays, more and more people seem to go along with popular opinion and what is trendy, instead of actually learning the facts and concepts of any situation to make a wise or educated decision. She goes on to discuss her regrets. “I don’t have any real regrets. I have definitely made some mistakes, but I feel like everything happens for a reason. I’m here now, happy and healthy, and most of all excited about this next phase of my life.”
We believe it goes without saying that the next phase of MÝA’s life will be as “LIT” as her previous ones. Not only is the songstress, about to join the ranks of fabulous Black Women in their forties like Gabrielle Union, Taraji P. Henson, and Nia Long, who are all proving that forty is the new twenty, but she has discovered her own way of maintaining her health and beauty with a completely vegan lifestyle! You might understandably dismiss veganism as simply abstaining from eating any meat or animal byproducts (milk, cheese, eggs, insects, honey, shellfish, etc.), but it is far more complex. The Vegan Society defines veganism as:
“Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.
There are many ways to embrace vegan living. Yet one thing all vegans have in common is a plant-based diet avoiding all animal foods such as meat (including fish, shellfish and insects), dairy, eggs and honey – as well as products like fur, leather, and any tested on animals.”
For MÝA, her vegan lifestyle has become just as intricate, and she in fact accredits it to her still youthful appearance and being in amazing shape. She reveals; however, her healthier decisions began with the demise of a toxic relationship a few years back. “I was just getting out of a pretty bad relationship and I realized I’d gained weight, my skin was breaking out, and I just felt so lethargic all the time. I was not happy with my appearance and realized I needed to do something about it. So I did some research and tried to go vegan, ‘cold turkey [she laughs],’ and failed almost immediately! [She laughs again] I tried it again awhile later and still had a hard time sticking to it. I realized I was going to have to ease myself into it and really get my body use to it… I definitely had to learn that there is a lot more to it than what you just eat, or don’t eat.”
MÝA went on to tell us about how she managed to make her vegan experience even better by becoming creative with her dishes. “One of the things people think that can make going vegan hard is the taste and texture of the food. I mean we have to be honest. Something can be really good for you, but if it does not taste good, you aren’t going to want to eat it [she laughs]. But vegan food is actually delicious. You get pretty resourceful and adaptive when you fi
gure out that part. That’s when foods like mushrooms, chickpeas, spices and seasonsings come into play.” MÝA has taken her veganism to a new level, by extending her knowledge of this subject matter and pointers to her fans with a free starter guide available on her website. In fact, when we interviewed her she was in the middle of a twenty-one day vegan challenge with her fans via social media.
Daily, she logs on with pointers and tips for their meals, encouraging them to press on, and even allowing her fans and followers to share their testimonials in her comments. “I owe it to my supporters, so if I’m out here living my best life then I definitely want to make sure they have the opportunity to do the same…I really like seeing all the challenges on social media, I think they’re mostly trendy and really funny, but I feel like doing one of my own can and will benefit a lot of people, especially in our community [the African-American/Black community] where heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension are running rampant and claiming lives…” We definitely support MÝA’s veganism and are impressed she is willing to use her platform for such a noble cause. It is not every day we see a star actively looking to improve and impact the lives of their fans!
Yes, MÝA is a veteran in the game, and yes, she is a Grammy-nominated singer with a number of hit songs and albums, but do not count her out! MÝA is far from “UnSung!” In fact, not only is she back, but she has returned with a new album, her ninth independent project, T.K.O. (The Knock Out), released from her own independent record label, Planet 9! T.K.O. dropped earlier this year on April 20, 2018, commemorating the twentieth anniversary of the release of her first album, Mýa . The album has been met with critical acclaim. This is what I have been doing—making music [she laughs] and getting my label off the ground…it has been nonstop hard work for ten independent years but I believe in what I’m doing and in this project. It’s what the fans have asked for, they’ve been eager for it, and I’m so happy it’s been released. The fourth digital single is ‘Damage,” and the fifth is ‘Knock You Out.’” Many in the industry were surprised when MÝA opted to go the independent route, and even more shocked when she released her latest independent album under Planet 9. She went into details on her thought process. “I had some issues with a major record label at the time and I had to make some decisions about what was best for me and how I wanted to guide my own career and future.There are some advantages and disadvantages to being an indie label like creative control and ownership of your work, but it is also very costly and it really is all on you…currently I’m the only artist on my label, but I do plan to recruit and sign artists of my own in the future…I really look forward to sharing my knowledge and experience of the industry with them.”
MÝA is one truly unstoppable force and we are so glad to see her back in the limelight where she belongs. There is just so much to learn from this amazing woman and we are completely here for it. Unsurprisingly MÝA has some truly positive words to leave with her fans, “Well first, thank all of you for sticking with me and believing in me and my dreams, but I want them all to believe in their own dreams as well. Stay at it, what’s for you, is for you.”