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R&B Icon Mýa Celebrates 25 Years In The Music Industry

On the 10th of May, Mýa Harrison celebrated twenty-five years in the music industry by taking part in a press conference hosted by 1824. To celebrate her craft, the Grammy award-winning singer has focused on honouring the beginnings of her career with the release of Mýa (Deluxe), and teasing the press with further projects that should grace social media and streaming services soon.



Along with her iconic music career, in 2008 she launched her own music label called ‘Planet 9’ which allowed her to have creative licence over her own art. Having such creative licence has allowed her to spread her philanthropic nature throughout the industry, curating the inspiring woman she is today.


Healthline was able to sit down with the R&B legend to ask her a couple of questions on healing, wellness, womanhood and empowerment; things that resonate with our ethos.


Your career focuses both in and out of the studio on female empowerment. As a woman, how do you empower yourself each day?


Each waking day I start with gratitude just for existence. For life and breath in my body, and we can take things from there.


I think often (especially these days) we can go straight to the cell phone, or the to-do-list, or being stressed out and not wanting to get out of bed. We have the perception of being something. Something greater than we already are, which is the greatest thing.


Part of my empowerment is to unlearn, unprogram, unplug and start at the basics. Starting at the bare minimum is the greatest thing ever because I think we have all grown up in a world where we were constantly asked what do you want to be? What are you wearing and who are you wearing? What do you want to be when you grow up? Or being told we are sinners at birth! There are all of these kinds of things that can take a toll on our psyche that disempower us.


So I think that there was another age in time where all we had was nature. This is the way I would like to govern my life.[…] I’m empowered. And I can go back into the world knowing I am okay as I am; a work in progress, always evolving. It takes a very, very, very solid space to be gentle with yourself[…]


That’s where I’ve found my magic, that’s where I have found my constant and that’s where I felt okay.


Throughout your studio albums you have created this beautiful hybridity of R&B and pop music. As you combine your lyrical and vocal artistry with an abundance of genres, has this been a way for you to speak to a wider audience on female empowerment and self-love today?


Music is one medium of expression, and I think starting at the place, doing what you feel and how you feel doing so is where art comes from. Sometimes expressing yourself or how you feel isn’t necessarily genre-based and it comes out how it comes out. Music is one of those tools like many forms of art we use as therapy, and someone out there can relate.


I think when there’s an actual intention for a sound or a cohesive nature of a project I make a conscious decision to say, "Okay, this is strictly for my R&B fans who say they aren’t getting enough R&B on the airwaves."


I think being influenced through my childhood through the arts, going to a multicultural school and understanding that the world is built with so many types of people and cultures and art forms[…] A lot of different things I was exposed to, so I’m a melting pot of influence.


Art is like children. We go to the playground doing all kinds of things and it just comes out. We’re creating games, we have a whole different language and the world speaks it. Music is a universal language. I think it’s a feeling, an expression and it can be delivered in many different ways which will sound different every time.


Further questions throughout the press conference have explored Mýa’s thoughts on loving and caring for our younger selves - the wellness and healing that comes with creating music. Hidden Beats pondered on the nature of Mýa’s philanthropy, and the effect that it has had upon her music and writing processes.


It seems like philanthropy has been important to you for so many years. How important is giving back to you, and how has your philanthropy had an impact on your music writing process?


Throughout my childhood and throughout high school, I faced a lot of bullying for so many different reasons. So I understood how it felt to be down, verbally. Processing that was very difficult because when you’re young you are taking things to heart and processing things mentally in a negative way, and seeking validation often[...] Having to return to that world humiliated or in fight or flight mode, if you of course hold on and get through that it shapes great character and an empathetic spot for you to relate to people and human experience.


I hold onto those moments. Where there is a reaching out, a longing to be accepted and being very compassionate with people[...] It has also prepared me to be strong, to have thick skin which is very necessary[...] So I am very thankful for those experiences, but a lot of people don’t make it. I think it is very important to share that experience, and how I was insulated, protected, or some of the things that I chose which I think art saves lives[…]


I know that wellness is a big part of my future. And one of my upcoming albums is engulfed in that space which is a masterpiece because of that human experience.” Mýa demonstrates her coping mechanisms that have helped her on her healing journey which includes journalling, retreats and talking to friends. She says that she will be pursuing these even further for herself, and to help others.


If you could speak to 20-year-old Mýa, what advice would you give to her?


"[...] Joy is an important key word for me as a young adult, coming into her own self in front of the world. Return to joy in moments of uncertainty and take your time[...] If it’s not joyful, it’s not worth it.”


In keeping with Mýa’s professional and personal journey she speaks to the importance of joy within wellness in one's mind, assuring us that if something does not bring us joy, perhaps we should not give it space in our lives. She draws upon the importance of love for one's art form and holding on to that, which certainly releases and achieves a personal peace which we all seek. Mýa continues to assure us the journey is a process and she affirms, “[...] that falling on your face a couple of times, I’m proud of those moments too.”


As the meeting flew Mýa vulnerably discussed her healing journey from her childhood, whilst developing her sense of wellness, and empowerment through her personal pilgrimage. She hopes that her art is a form of therapy for herself and others which creates a safe space for healing, wellness and empowerment to co-exist.


Mýa's deluxe album is now available on all streaming platforms.

 

Daisy Bignell is an aspiring poet, born in Surrey and raised in a small village. Having just finished her Masters degree in English Literature, from the University of Winchester. She is now taking time to focus exclusively on her writing. Her works have previously been published in literary magazines, most recently in the winter edition of 'Scribbles.' When she isn't writing and reading, she is playing with her family dog, Crumble.


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