In 2000, Mýa acknowledged her Fear of Flying with the release of her sophomore studio project.
"Fear of Flying is a metaphor for the ups and downs of life," she explained to Billboard magazine. "It's about handling things like an adult, knowing you must have faith to make anything happen."
Fast forward to the year 2018 and Mýa is now in complete control of her career and her image. Following the accidental release of her fourth studio LP, Liberation in 2007, the Washington DC native took the independent route and has been at it non-stop ever since.
"I consider myself driven, passionate, determined and relentless to do what feels good or right to me," Mýa tells The Boombox.
We recently caught up with Mýa to discuss her ninth independent project, TKO (The Knock Out), trusting your gut and being a #GirlBoss.
Why do you think so many artists who've had success are taking the independent route nowadays?
Mýa: Artists who are passionate about their music and in love with their art go independent because they want to continue making music and serving it to the world. Often, when you're signed to a major label, you have to wait in line for budgets to open up and get cleared. A life without music feels like it's not a life at all, so when you're in love with something, you want to constantly be able to do it without restraints. That's part of the empowerment and freedom that being independent brings and allows.
Was there anything about going independent in the very beginning that made you rethink your decision?
Mýa: It was always a learning process and it still is for me ten years later. I learned different components of the business, from publishing to copyright to radio and how each area works. It has truly been a blessing for me to absorb the knowledge that I would not have absorbed had I stayed in a system, which is a beautiful system. It made me who I am, but there are fans that are still here and are hungry for music and now they can receive it because you have the luxury to put out a new project any time that you'd like as an independent artist. In the process of new territory, you learn new things, but there's never been a moment where I regretted my decision. I have considered going into the major label system differently, which may just be distribution because I now have more to bring to the table as a label versus just an artist looking for a budget.
In April, you dropped your ninth studio project, TKO. What songs are the fans resonating with the most off the album?
Mýa: "Simple Things" has been a fan favorite. Men and women love that song because of the real and the raw nature of it since superficiality and materialism seem to drive the rest of the world. It's a very refreshing track that I think men can appreciate for one, but also women because it's often assumed that materialism is [what] drives them. "If Tomorrow Never Comes" is a big ballad and a tear jerker. One of my fans told me that's going to be their wedding song. The favorite bedroom song is probably "Ready (Part III - 90's Bedroom Mix)," which is probably my favorite slow jam. Every song has a different vibe, but I would say those are the fans' top three favorite tracks.
Why did you make choreography front and center in the music videos for "You Got Me" and "Damage"?
Mýa: My fans have spoken. They missed the videos that featured me dancing, and I know I've been releasing a lot of R&B, slow jams and more mature music over the last five years with the last three EPs, as well as the Smoove Jones project. This is the first time in a while that they're getting visuals, so I wanted to make sure that I gave them what they asked for.
R&B is very traditional in a sense. How do you keep it interesting in terms of the work you put out?
Mýa: I don't go into the process of making an album with the consideration of trying to fit in or keeping it fresh and new. I honestly go off feeling, whether it's crying, laughing, feeling sexually driven or tapping into a vulnerable space. If I can play it over and over again, then I know that I tapped into something powerful, so I let that be the gauge. Delivering those special elements and staying in the studio overnight to get it right is crucial because I have that luxury now to go the extra mile and be satisfied with every inflection, every pronunciation, every lyric.