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:: Spotlight :: Ashlene's spotlight interview - MYA

By: Ashlene Nand

On her way to becoming one of the sexist women in entertainment today, Mya is ready to release her new album ‘Control Freak’. On a whirlwind weekend in New York, she chats exclusively to Ashlene about her tough road to stardom, her road to peace and why her next album has the word ‘freak’ in it.

Mya is a busy girl. Although she hasn’t hit the charts in more than a year (her last album ‘Mood Ring’ was released in 2003) and her acting roles are far from leads (ie. Chicago), she has still managed to build a solid fan base which now includes a whole lot of males thanks to KING magazine, in which Mya openly chatted about getting freaky. But while everyone, including rap sensation The Game (she’s featuring in his next video clip ‘Dreams’), was drooling over the bootylicious shot, Mya was going through issues with her boyfriend, family and even herself.

Finally at peace and able to focus on her career, Mya is getting ready to hit the stage at the world famous Apollo Theatre in Harlem. In a wool-lined leather vest, capri jeans with brown knee high boots, and gold chains to give her that ghetto touch, she is ready to go. She doesn’t talk to anyone but is focused on giving a hot performance with Cuban Link, whose new song “Sugar Daddy” features Mya.

It could be easy to mistake her focus for snobiness. After a solid performance she walks off stage to say goodbye to the ‘Make-A-Wish’ foundation members and then heads to the dressing room where I’m waiting. Clearly wanting to get changed, photographers hover around the door hoping for a picture of Mya with comedian / host Monique. Reggae sensation Lady Saw walks in politely requesting a picture. Mya happily obliges. Despite the noise, Mya continues to remain focused and silent. As I quietly sit in the corner, she quickly gets changed, asks everyone to leave and looks at me with her big, brown eyes. Now she’s focused on me…

I know your doing a lot of things now…

Yes I am…

Firstly let’s talk about the movie Cursed. Were you happy the way it came out?

It just opened up yesterday. I missed the first half and that was my first scene. But I was pretty happy. There was actually another scene where I got my head cut off, my arms cut off but they didn’t show that. Maybe because it was PG rated (in the U.S) and not R, that to push the rating they had to take out a certain amount of decapitation.

What other movies are you working on?

I just finished a movie called ‘The Leading Man’. I’m also doing a movie called ‘Ways Of The Flesh’.

That sounds gory!

No it isn’t but there’s a lot of corruption that happens within the medical industry.

With all this acting, is that what you want to take more seriously?

I always take it seriously but my music is first. And I think the more roles I do, the better I improve. The more people I’m around (ie. a great cast) and the classes I take help me become a true actress. It helps me get better for those lead roles. I want people to see what I can offer instead of pigeon-holing myself. So right now it’s about becoming educated on the craft and doing smaller roles.

What would be your ideal role?

Probably action. I’m really athletic so probably boxing or martial arts. I’m not saying I’m a stunt woman but I like to do anything when it comes to dance and drama. It has to have a drama element to it. I can do the fun things but I want to do the serious roles too.

So how was the Chicago experience?

Wow…it was great…

Was that a breakthrough for you as an actress?

I’m not sure. I’m just a singer, dancer, and entertainer. I got the opportunity to do it. I had to audition like everybody else. And I knew how to sing and dance which is what the role required me to do. The monologue was pretty short, simple, sweet. It’s pretty personal for me too, so I guess I fit right in. It’s great to be a part of.

Well you said your ideal role would be action. Who would be your ideal co-star?

She’s not very famous but I love how Rose McGowan plays the physiological roles. She’s not critically acclaimed but I really love her acting. I do respect Julia Roberts. Sandra Bullock is real. I actually got to work with Vivica Fox on her series.

And what about the actors?

Oh man… (laughs)…that’s a long list right there.

In an action flick? Throw some names…

I always had a crush on Sylvester Stallone. I’m not sure what his role would be. He’s a bit old now! (laughs)

With everything that’s happened in the last year, what would be the most craziest thing?

Wow…life in general is crazy. From where I was with my first album, with my family and boyfriend and my personal issues. That went full circle and recovered and I’ve gotten over any bitterness. My family has gotten has better. I’m still developing but I’m happy with myself without my music or my career. I’ve found a place in my life where I’m happy. Whether I sing another note or not, I just appreciate what I accomplish.

The next album…what can people expect from it? You know we’re all waiting!?

My next album is my fourth album and it’s called ‘Control Freak’. The reason it’s called control freak is because in order to really be happy, you need to stop, breathe, take a minute to think about things and take control of your situation and your surroundings. And that takes a lot of work, soul-searching and sacrifice. It’s not about being a bitch, a diva or even being bitter, it’s about knowing what you want and going after it, whether it means getting it or not. So that’s what ‘Control Freak’ is about. Yeah, it’s freaky too!!!

Well that wasn’t my next question but I’m sure that’s what the boys want to know!

Yeah, it has a double meaning…

Is it going to be classic R&B? What’s the sound like? A bit of hip-hop?

I wouldn’t say classic R&B. It’s got some ballads on there. We have a lot of heavy hitters producing (later Mya told me Dr Dre, Lil Jon and Rockwilder will all be on the album). I’ve been in the studio with Jodeci too.

Damn! Doesn’t get much freakier than that!!

Exactly!! (laughs) It goes through the process of getting hurt and realizing that. That’s why I’m a control freak because without the situation being correct, I’m upset, I’m insecure. Then I can’t really love anybody. So I got to get myself straight first, control myself and then let go.

What about the topics you discuss on the album? Are they relative to your life?

I’m not trying be like ‘Oh I’m single right now’ or a man hater. That’s not me. I’m just trying to get to a place where I can truly love somebody without having issues at the same time. (Yes she’s now single!)

Ok three words - The King Cover. Did you expect all that press? What do you think of what The Game said?

I just said what I had to say. Yeah whatever, it’s ok for (him) to fantasize…I’m flattered.

I know you do a lot of charity work with young kids, especially girls with self-esteem problems and education programs. You also recently did a Tsunami benefit song. And I heard your launching your clothing line in 2006. How do you balance everything?

Well you make time. You don’t do it everyday; you pick and choose your schedule. But I’ve been doing it for years. You can truly change somebody’s life and people actually listen, and at the end of the day, that’s what it’s really all about.

Is it still a struggle for you being a serious woman in the entertainment business?

I wouldn’t call it a struggle. I would call it more of a learning experience. It’s not about art. Ten percent of your time is spent doing the singing, performing etc, the rest of it is business. You have to be strong, especially when you’re young.

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