After 25 years in the music industry, Mýa is showing no signs of slowing down. The pop-R&B star made her debut in 1998, when she put out her self-titled studio album via Interscope Records. The debut single from the album, “It’s All About Me” with Sisqó, reached No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 and put the world onto Mýa’s sultry, angelic voice and cutting-edge R&B sound that infiltrated the mainstream pop market while drawing influences from hip-hop, dancehall, techno and more.
She revealed in a new interview with Billboard News that the outfit she wore in the “It’s All About Me” music video, which was inspired by the traditional red Chinese wedding dress, is her all-time favorite look. “I sketched that outfit on paper, drew the designs that I wanted and I saw it come to life,” she said. “But this is something that I’ve been doing for years. I have this whole sketchbook of outfits that I wanted to create before I signed my first deal. And so, that was one of them. The seamstress brought it to life, and that was an amazing experience for me as a brand new artist.”
In June, she re-created the UNC jersey dress from her 2000 “Best of Me (Part 2)” video, featuring Jay-Z, while she was performing at Charlotte R&B Music Experience. (This reporter also re-created the UNC jersey dress look, as well as Mýa’s outfit from the 1999 “Take Me There” video with Blackstreet, Mase and Blinky Blink, due to endless claims that she resembles the singer. Decide for yourself in the video interview above!)
Aside from her iconic looks, pop-dancehall collaborations have been another constant in Mýa’s storied career. Over the years, she’s worked with Jamaican reggae and dancehall artists like Beenie Man (“Girls Dem Sugar,” “Lie Detector,” “Docta”), Sean Paul (“Things Come & Go”), Spice (“Take Him Out”) and, most recently, Bounty Killer, on her latest steamy single “Whine.”
“Funny story is I had a solo version of the video shot two years prior to reaching out to Bounty Killer,” she says. “And I’ve always wanted a feature on that record. And so we went back down to Jamaica two years later, to the same location, and put Bounty Killer in the video, inserted him, and it all looks cohesive now.”
Of her pop-dancehall collaborations, Mýa says they feel like a family effort. “Every time I go down there, it’s usually for music. But then my associates, music friends, become like family over the years. We understand the beauty of independency but also working together. And so, that’s a big part of the culture, too,” she explains. “I think it’s important also to just be authentic for representation, so it was important for me to be in Kingston, in the heart of Jamaica, to capture the essence of the good vibes and the music, the culture and the people and the dance.”
Outside of her debut LP’s 25th anniversary this year, Mýa also celebrated the 20th anniversary of her third album Moodring, which peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 and earned her another Hot 100 top 20 hit with “My Love is Like…Wo.” (Missy Elliott co-produced the track two years after working with her on the five-week No. 1, Grammy-winning smash “Lady Marmalade” with Christina Aguilera, P!nk and Lil’ Kim from the Moulin Rouge! soundtrack.)
Earlier this year, she collaborated with Interscope/UMe to release the digital deluxe 25th anniversary edition of Mya, the digital deluxe 20th anniversary edition of Moodring and the “25th Anniversary Remix” of “It’s All About Me,” accompanied by the Brian Friedman-directed choreography video. Come December, Mýa will ring in the 15th anniversary of her fifth album Sugar & Spice.
“I was a baby, I was a kid, everything was brand new. Working in the studio with Dru Hill for the first album was really like a family and a camp, so I had big brothers around me … I learned a lot from them, watching them,” she reflects. “It’s just a beautiful journey. I’m excited as well about what’s to come. I just love music, so it’s a blessing to just still be here 25 years later and still feel like it’s brand new.”
Watch the full video interview above.