Mýa Lan$ky? We all want to know. ho is
The mystery of who she was began when “Worth It,” the most recent song from Mýa, arrived at the beginning of July. Balancing bossy raps and airy vocals with ease, the new track introduces fans to a side of the low-profile veteran, whose music industry start date goes back almost 25 years, that we’re not accustomed to hearing. Though Mýa says she has known this alternate version of herself all her life, considering this assertive energy that her alias possesses was passed down through her parents.
“Two Libras created a Libra,” Mýa laughs in a cerulean look on Zoom. She goes on to describe her split-personality, explaining, “I have an extreme side to me and an extremely conservative structure, very business-oriented side. The other side is the entertainer side, where I have a free day, a free ride, a free spirit, a free everything, and I just do me.”
Mýa credits Meyer Lansky, a notorious mob accountant for American Mafia, as inspiration for her new handle. She ties her low-key nature to his laid-back image and her independent artist status to his birthdate on the United States’ Independence Day.
For Lan$ky’s blunt cadence, she cites conscious and classic hip-hop trailblazers such as Mos Def, Common, Digable Planets, Black Thought, André 3000, and Erykah Badu. It even takes from Nipsey Hussle.
“We created that record in the spirit of Nipsey, who used to record right underneath MyGuyMars and I with Mike & Keys on the Victory Lap. His spirit was all throughout the studio when I was cutting that record,” she recalls.
All influences considered, Lan$ky is an integral part of Mýa, relying on her specifically during hard times. “When I need a picker-upper, or somebody to be that mentor, someone to be that fighter, or somebody to be that person that will crack the whip and get me in shape, that’s who Mýa Lan$ky is.”
She adds, “The one that doesn’t let me slip up. The one that’s hard on me when I’m too vulnerable or hearing those voices, those outside forces. I get her together.”
In Rated R&B’s interview with Mýa, the Planet 9 label head and Grammy winner talks more about her new single “Worth It,” her next two albums, her vegan journey and more.
What was the inspiration behind your new song “Worth It”?
“Worth It” has been in the archives for years. I think victory in my independent journey and a lot of people coming at me asking, “Why this, why that,” and finally giving answers. How I define my success is ultimately peace of mind and the glow up, which also takes grind, gutter, fight, faith [and] prayer. So, it’s an inspirational record, but it’s still bossy and flossy, too.
In the new song, you spit a line about staying grounded in your new balance. Can you elaborate on this line?
That’s the double entendre. If you are from the DMV, that’s a classic shoe that we rock there, and I grew up rocking New Balance. It’s also about my Libra scale and finding that balance in my peace, my meditation and drinking my gallons of spring water, my alkaline water [and] my diet. That was actually a newer lyric that I changed in the midst of the pandemic because it was super flossy before. I was like, “Nah, people are not just going to be relating to me being on vacay just to be flossing, but how about we make this more personal?”
You also say in the song that you weren’t supposed to win but you never folded. Talk about how you were able to succeed, particularly as an independent artist.
Independent is a very hard road. If you know anything about it, coming from a major label system into independence is even harder for your fans and those that are watching with expectations that you’ve already set to a high standard — the funding of marketing, promotion, radio [and] video money, which is very expensive. When you are walking into an independent space, and those things are no longer available to you, you sort of sacrifice what people expect of you, which is fame and exposure, especially 100 percent financed by yourself. Being the first female of my generation to start her own label in R&B music, all eyes are on you and everything that may be a success for you. Small successes and even major successes look very minute— if people even know about them at all.
You hear the comments. You hear the negativity. You live with that. Also, you live with some of the higher powers as well that used to be aligned with judging you and judging your every move and people just in general, waiting for you to fall on your face. So, the fact that I didn’t ever fold and I’ve been in my grind, and I’ve gotten some accolades even as an independent artist, but I’m still going, and it always feels like the beginning, and I’m happy. That’s success. So that’s what I mean. I look better. I feel better. I act better. I deliver better. I sing better. I dance better. I am now a woman. Success looks different for everybody. I’m just here to let you know that there is victory in whatever fight and struggle that you’re going through because I have pushed through and I wouldn’t have been able to do that without my warrior spirit or my faith.
It’s been three years since the last album TKO (The Knock Out) was released. How close to releasing a new album are you?
Projects 14 and 15 are on the way. They’re being mixed right now, which means it’s in its final stages. I’m in the midst of putting features on one of the albums, but the other is also getting mixed and shortly gets mastered after that. But you know, you got to have your teams aligned: your publicity team, your marketing team, your radio team, and your visual team to deliver what the people want. This is not just about music but delivering another piece of art with it. It will take some time, and right now, I’m focused on getting my film money to invest in it.
What would you say is the difference between the two projects?
It’s growth. It’s evolution. Its content, its penmanship, its timelessness, but it’s also homage. So all of the music that I grew up in and with, in my blood, in my veins, in my living room. The two projects are completely different, but they’re very special for those reasons. It’s very personal, and it’s still saucy.
Speaking of saucy, you released a few songs like that last year along with a record (“Space and Time”) created by Louis York. How do you narrow down what makes the cut from the previous releases and what doesn’t?
Maybe one. Actually, two records may be a part of the next two albums. “Space and Time” for sure is a part of one of the albums. I might include “Just Call My Name” as a bonus just to remind people, “Hey, this also fits within the homage.” So you’ll hear that ’80s, big ballad amongst other amazing era-like songs as well on the album that cover different eras and genres. The pandemic has allowed me to sit down, finally, and be stationary, to focus and be super creative in the studio, and just kind of lockout by myself and get with a writing camp as well. It’s a beautiful experience.
This year is the 20th anniversary of the Moulin Rouge version of “Lady Marmalade” which saw recent success on Apple Music. What will it take to get you, Lil Kim, P!nk and Christina Aguilera back on one stage for a reunion performance?
We’ve talked about it. Our teams have spoken about it. The anniversary crept up on us this year out of nowhere, and then there was that whole pandemic, and we didn’t necessarily know what COVID was doing. People have families as well. You have to respect that. So I think it’s just a scheduling thing, making sure everyone is open and clear scheduling-wise and then the budget. It’s a lot to move hair, wardrobe [and] glam. Each girl has a different squad plus management, plus security. That can be very expensive just for one female artist, but we’re talking four or five, maybe even six when we’re talking Missy [Elliott] and Patti [LaBelle]. We don’t know yet, but it’s in talks.
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You recently celebrated your seventh anniversary as a vegan. What has this veganism journey been like for you?
It’s been a true eye-opener as far as the cruelties that happen behind closed doors at the factory farms and you just don’t turn back because it naturally becomes a spiritual transformation. It’s been very rewarding of course in my voice and my mental clarity and helping others reach their health goals or even fitness goals because it does do the body wonders, the skin wonders. It raises your vibration, not so much the processed food, whether you’re vegan or not. I’ve been introduced to a lot of foods, fruits and vegetables that I was not familiar with. I [have] been able to share that with a lot of people, host retreats, which has been really cool and award people with lots of gifts and kitchen gadgets. I do have a free starter guide on my website myamya.com in the lifestyle section.
What is your advice and benefits to those embarking on veganism?
Take your time. Understand why you’re doing it. If it’s a trend to you, it probably won’t last (laughs). Information is just key. I have a lot of information in my starter guide. The best thing to going vegan, as far as a tip is concerned, is transitional foods which are more processed. If you love steak, there are other substitutes, even pork bites or chicken tenders and beef burgers, all kinds of stuff that emulate what you’re used to so that you can have an alternative.
What else is coming down the pipeline for you besides the two new projects?
I’m doing a couple of films. I just left the country to be in a little quarantine for two weeks before we can get started. I officially start in a couple of days. That [film] will be out later this year. And then two more films after that. And then I’m here to serve y’all the albums, after, of course, some of the visuals and all the other things and components are aligned and ready to go. But they have been completed, and I’m excited.
Stream Mýa Lan$ky’s new song “Worth It” below.