Mýa Reveals Why She Joined Queens of R&B Tour with Xscape and SWV: 'This Is What I Grew Up on' (Exclusive)

The hitmaker details her forthcoming tour, her multiple 'complete' unreleased projects and memories of the late Ol' Dirty Bastard in a wide-ranging interview

<p>Ash Summerford</p> Mýa

Ash Summerford

  • Mýa is heading out on the Queens of R&B Tour with Xscape, SWV, Total and 702

  • The R&B singer says her tourmates were the "soundtrack to my teen years"

  • She opens up about memories of working with Ol' Dirty Bastard and reveals she has multiple new albums in the works

Mýa is ready to sing her "heart out" during her forthcoming tour — and not just during her own set.

The R&B hitmaker, 44, had only one reaction when she found out she was invited to join the already stacked Queens of R&B Tour lineup just weeks before it was announced: "Absolutely."

Kicking off in late June and hitting 30 cities across the U.S., the summer run of shows will be headlined by Xscape and SWV, with additional on-stage assistance from the likes of Total, 702 and, of course, Mýa. And it's a special one for Mýa in particular, as she tells PEOPLE her tourmates were the "soundtrack to my teen years."

<p>Natasha Campos/Getty</p> Mýa

Natasha Campos/Getty


"It shaped me," Mýa says of their music. "I love Xscape, I love SWV. Even 702 and Total were out before I was a recording artist known to the public, and these are a part of my shaping years as a young girl."

"I am there on the side of the stage singing along. I know every ad-lib. I know every part of the song, harmonically, melodically and all the riffs and runs because this is what I grew up on... These are the songs I so dearly love that transport me to a very special time and place in my life, before my career even started," she adds. "So, I'm honored to be a part of it."

Ahead of the tour, during which Mýa promises to play "all the hits" (including "maybe a new rendition or a brand-new song"), the Grammy winner spoke with PEOPLE about the stories behind career successes, keeping three "complete" unreleased albums in her back pocket and what inspires her the most creatively in 2024.

<p>Derek Blanks with crowdMGMT </p> Xscape and SWV

Derek Blanks with crowdMGMT

Xscape and SWV

Related: Xscape and SWV Announce Co-Headlining Queens of R&B Tour with Special Guests Mýa, Total and 702 (Exclusive)

What does your routine right now look like ahead of these shows?

Well, first detoxing to make sure that my joints, my bones, etc., are protected — less weight. So that requires losing weight, especially the ladies that are going to be in heels every night. I was in a gym for a couple of hours yesterday, so I'll be going five days a week and resting. Then, obviously, on the production side, there's been some new arrangements that my musical director and I have recorded across the country. He's in D.C. I'm in L.A. at the moment and recording new background vocals for those new arrangements that have never been heard before for a different experience.

And we're just getting all of the logistics together and then everything else is creative from the visuals to the sonic aspect.

What was your reaction when you got the call about the tour?

It all happened pretty quick. I'm very detail-oriented, so of course when I heard the news about who was headlining the tour, absolutely. Oh my goodness. I was so excited because this is the music or soundtrack to my teen years, and it shaped me.

Does listening to them now take you back to that time in your life?

I posted on one of the girls' pages, I believe it was Xscape or Tiny's page, when she announced the flyer. I said, "I can't wait to sing my heart out," because these are the songs I so dearly love and take me back and transport me to a very special time and place in my life.

As someone with decades of hits under your belt, how do you go about narrowing down a tight set list that really packs a punch for this tour?

You must know the actual timeframe and take into consideration the fact that everyone wants something specific from you. So you must cover all the hits and the singles, otherwise you leave someone disappointed, possibly. So you incorporate that, but doing shorter versions of those songs so they get a taste and a teaser, but also maybe a new rendition or a brand-new song.

Since we've all sort of grown up together, and we're in the same generational bracket, let's say, my music now is definitely reflective of who I am as a woman, and so many years have transpired or passed since my teen years on the scene. So I like to mix it up and give a variety of what's expected, what's demanded in the comments on social media, but also give something that's unexpected as well.

What do you like to do on the road in your free time?

I'm a vegan foodie, so it's always really great when I'm traveling to figure out what the best things are. Then, if there's any time for philanthropy or meet-and-greets and after parties, I would love always to make space for those things. Sleep is a challenge ,and usually you're going from city to city, but this tour, hopefully we'll all get to hang out a little bit because there are so many dates that we're together. That is also a favorite thing to do when on a specific tour, and this tour will be for the ladies. I'm usually on tour with a lot of guys, so this will be exciting.

You released your single "Anytime" in February. After 26 or so years, does releasing something brand-new still give you a sense of excitement?

I've been putting out independent projects since 2008, and it's never a dull moment. Music is the soundtrack and a heartbeat of my life. Before I was a recording artist professionally, it's something that I grew up doing and always surrounded by, and I love it. So to share requests or fulfill fans that have been requesting R&B or pop or dance music or whatever it might be, I'm able to do that independently and obviously on my own timeline with no rush. I get a thrill and a rush from being able to just share. Then the icing on the cake is, of course, performing that or bringing a visual to life to complement the song or the experience and the emotion of that.

Especially right now, when do you find the best ideas for melodies, lyrics or song titles come to you these days?

That can be from a personal space, synergy in the room. If I'm working with other people and we're watching a film or just talking about current events or something that one of our girlfriends or male friends are going through. It could be wishful thinking, sometimes therapy, much-needed therapy. Watching a film, of course, is always inspirational, and so it depends on where you're pulling from, but there's always a source, endless source, infinite source if you just look outside of yourself or even within yourself to pull from when being creative. But I think a common goal is obviously to tap into the emotions of people and then, of course, bring people together through that medium of your art.

What types of films would you say have been inspiring you lately?

So I have lots of albums that are complete. And there have been documentaries in the past that have inspired me, romantic comedies, comedy, thrillers, action video games even. It sometimes determines the type of sound of a song as well. But documentary is a very thought-provoking, conscious provoking, I would say, inspiration for music that the world has yet to hear from me. I'm excited to get to that phase, eventually.

I have a plethora of genres and different music as well as albums that I've been working on for years. Three are complete, and there's also a fourth in the making. So I'm just always creating from different places with different sounds and very excited to share that very soon.

I'm always curious about the making of tracks. You've previously spoken about recording "Ghetto Superstar," for example, in '98, having one single out at the time, Ol' Dirty Bastard really pushing for you in particular to be on that track. Did he ever tell you what he was drawn to?

He basically said when he heard my voice, he didn't know who it was because he'd never heard it before, but he thought it was magic and that that was the voice to go with. He was very influential on that decision because I had only been with... well, been out in the universe with just one R&B single, “It's All About Me" featuring Sisqo. So that's all people knew me for, and I was not established. So there were some other heavy-hitters at the time that actually sang that chorus as well with much more impact based on their brand, their accolades and their popularity. So for him to actually hand-pick me and sonically say, "That's the one. I'm telling you all, that's the magic."

Everyone's thinking with different sets of ears. Sometimes it's corporate, sometimes it's a business ear and return of investment ear. So ODB was just very raw and real and voiced his opinion on how he felt with nothing in the way, and I really thanked him for that. May he rest in peace. We had a lot of fun on the road, too. Never a dull moment in his presence.

What was your favorite moment on the road with ODB?

Oh, wow. We had performed quite a few times on Smoking Grooves Tour, a couple of spot dates, but I would say at the award show, I believe it was MTV [Video Music] Awards. He was just so charismatic and very independent-minded, which I admired coming from the arts. He's very strict. I just really loved his liberation and his attitude of freedom and to say how he felt as raw, real, honest and sometimes offensive as it was. I really admire that about him.

He was so talented in the studio, which I never got to witness firsthand, but the stories from Wyclef and how he just freestyles off of the dome, no pen, no paper, but thinks about it for a while. And maybe he takes a nap and then, right off of the top of his head, delivers what you want to hear — bar for bar, line for line with meaning, and that's what "Ghetto Superstar" is today. So just a witness to another artist's process their like, their "-isms," is really interesting. It's a step outside of your world, a step outside of yourself. And you're absorbing some of the things that you can take as well and apply to your career, your everyday life, which is cool.

You mentioned these three albums in your backlog right now. What type of sounds are you most excited to be exploring?

Well, I explore so many, but I'm not going to announce that. I keep that private. However, there is a single [out now] by Junior Sanchez. It's very reminiscent of Madonna's "Vogue" and captures the '80s dance, music and dancing.

So I'm looking forward to turning the heat up on my project, which is upcoming, my 10th studio album. On the hip-hop, R&B side, an independent artist that I met when he was just 10 years old. Someone I really respect. His name is Dizzy Wright from the West Coast, and he and I have a collaboration called "Organic Vibes" that's out now on his new project. Sisqo and I, on the R&B front, just got back together last month in the studio to record something very sultry and grown for our R&B crowd, and that'll be on his project, but LP10 is on the way from Mýa.

What do you hope this next chapter in your career says about you?

Growth, evolution, faith, and pushing through. And growth is a big one. I was just a young teen, fresh out of high school, when I started, and not everything is going to be perfect when you first start, but taking that leap to success, even when things are imperfect. And the growth is evident, it's very clear and the message and exuding the journey. What that means is faith and still standing unscathed. Hopefully that serves as an inspiration to others because it's not an easy road or industry. There are perks, but it's very competitive, and many people can get discouraged along the way with so many voices and influences or self-doubt. So just an example of allowing the higher power to use me because it's not about me at the end of the day.

For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!

Read the original article on People.